Stock options put Kakao into highest pay range

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Stock options put Kakao into highest pay range

Kakao was the highest salary-paying company last year, according to the Financial Supervisory Service.

Employees at the top mobile messenger operator earned an average of 132.48 million won ($116,000). The KakaoTalk service operator said the exceptional figure is due to some staff who exercised employee stock options they received in 2014 as Kakao merged with portal service Daum Communications in 2014. Naver, the No. 1 portal site and mother company of KakaoTalk rival Line’s Line Japan, had an average salary last year of 68.02 million won.

The annual average salary at Samsung Electronics stood at 101 million won, according to the financial watchdog.

There was an income disparity between male and female workers at the nation’s most valuable tech giant. Men received 110 million won on average, whereas women earned 32 percent less at 75 million won.

The second-largest consumer electronics producer, LG Electronics, registered an average annual salary of 71 million won - 30 million less than Samsung.

KB Financial Group topped the traditionally well-paid finance sector, at 109 million won for per capita average salary, followed by Shinhan at 108 million won and 104 million won.

“Financial groups, which oversee a handful of subsidiaries, tend to have a larger portion of manager-level employees than other financial companies, which is why the salary level is higher,” said a spokesman with one of the three financial groups.

Among other financial companies, Samsung Life Insurance paid an average of 88 million won last year, and Meritz Securities paid an average 111.25 million won.

Employees at oil refineries enjoyed a hefty salary from increased revenue and profit last year. Even though international oil prices slumped, demand for petrochemical products surged and margins were set at a higher level.

GS Caltex saw a 98.86 million won average salary, closely trailed by S Oil at 94.47 million won and Hyundai Oil Bank at 89 million won.

The average salary at top mobile operator SK Telecom was 101 million won, and Hyundai Motor posted 96 million won.

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