Salaries increase, but wage gap also widens

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Salaries increase, but wage gap also widens

Korea’s salaried workers earned an average of 32.81 million won ($28,760) last year, up 1.5 percent year on year, and the median stood at 25 million won, according to an analysis released by the Federation of Korean Industries on Wednesday.

The report is based on 2014-15 salary data from the Ministry of Employment and Labor and includes 14.68 million wage earners excluding employers and business owners. The data is the sum of the base salary, overtime allowance and bonus.

Notably, salaried employees at large companies were paid an average of 65.44 million won last year, standing at the top 9.5 percent of the workforce, while salaried workers at small and medium-size firms received 33.63 million won on average, making up the top 34.1 percent.

The average annual income for all salaried workers in 2015 went up 1.5 percent year on year. Employees at large companies saw their wages increase 4.2 percent, while their counterparts in smaller companies received a mere 1.2 percent raise.

“Despite an aggravated business environment affected by China’s slowing economy and low domestic demand, the average wage rose in 2015 overall,” said Song Won-geun, head of the economic research division at the federation.

“Salaried workers at large companies, in particular, had their yearly income increase to a large extent, further widening the gap with employees of smaller companies.”

Those who made 100 million won or more in 2015 totaled 390,000, or 2.7 percent, of the total, while those who made 80-100 million won came in at 2.8 percent, 60-80 million won at 6.5 percent and 40-60 million won at 13.8 percent.

People who made 20-40 million won made up the largest portion of workers, at 37.7 percent, followed by those earning less than 20 million won at 36.5 percent.

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