Top univ. alumni earn 1.4 times others’ pay

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Top univ. alumni earn 1.4 times others’ pay

Korean society has long been stereotyped as putting extra emphasis on educational background.

And for good reason. Depending on which university one graduated from in Korea, the difference in yearly salary can be as much as 1.4 times higher for alumni of certain prestigious universities compared to other graduates’, according to a recent survey.

The survey was conducted jointly by Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training, or Krivet, and the JoongAng Ilbo. It included 8,091 graduates from 53 four-year universities in Korea, including 2,073 who graduated in 1982, 3,018 who graduated in 1992 and 3,000 members of the class of 2002.

The data integrated the graduates’ first year annual salaries and 2009 annual salaries with records from their high schools and universities.

Those who graduated from Korea’s top three universities in 1982 earned an average annual salary of 84.3 million won ($72,175) as of 2009, or 1.3 times more than those who graduated from regional colleges outside Seoul.

The top three universities are Seoul National University, Yonsei University and Korea University. All three colleges’ main campuses are located in Seoul.

For alumni of the class of 1992, the gap is even larger. Those from the top three colleges earned an average 68.2 million won last year, or 1.4 times more than graduates from regional universities. Those graduates earned an average of 48.7 million won.

The difference between the two graduate groups for the class of 2002 turned out to be around 1.35 times more for the graduates from the top three schools - indicating that in 30 years the salary gap between graduates has not narrowed.

The salary gap between universities in Seoul and those outside the capital is also wide. Using a point scale of 100, with Seoul’s university graduates at 100, the average annual salary for graduates of the class of 1982 from universities outside of Seoul was 88.2.

Also, those who got high scores on the college entrance exams during the third year of high school have higher salaries than those with lower scores.

Looking at 1992 university graduates, those who scored first-level scores, on a six-level score scale, earned an average 72.1 million won last year. Those who scored in the sixth level for the exam however, had an average annual salary last year of 48.7 million won.


By Special Reporting Team [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]

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