How much the 0.1 percenters earn
Wealthy income earners in Korea earn 120 million won a year, a study by the Korea Labor Institute showed Tuesday. Those who are extremely wealthy - or who have earnings in the top 0.1 percent - make an average 360 million won annually. The average income of the top 5 percent is 68.4 million won.
The study showed that top executives as well as doctors made up the largest portion of the top 0.1 percent of income earners from 2011 to 2014.
Top business executives accounted for nearly 29 percent of the total followed by doctors who accounted for 22.2 percent. Private business leaders came in third place with 12.7 percent.
However, when breaking down the group by annual average income those who made their living through professional financial investments, namely shareholders, took the No. 1 spot. As of 2014, the top 0.1 percent of investors’ annual earnings amounted to 1.35 billion won. It is the only group whose annual income exceeded 1 billion won. The next top earner in the 0.1 percent was financial experts whose annual income two years ago was 940 million won followed by business executives with 930 million won. The top professors and hagwon tutors, who accounted for 0.4 percent after scientists and engineers of 0.9 percent, made an average 820 million won.
Interestingly, Korean doctors placed in the top 0.1 percent more than their counterparts in the U.S. In the states, doctors who were in the top 0.1 percent only accounted for 5.9 percent.
On the contrary the U.S. had more financial experts such as bankers and brokers as well as lawyers in the top earning brackets. Financial experts accounted for 18 percent and lawyers 7.3 percent in the U.S. In Korea, financial experts took up 7.2 percent while lawyers only 1.9 percent.
This is considered to be the result of the industrial differences between the two countries. While Korea has a much larger medical market the U.S. has a bigger finance and legal market.
Those working on production lines accounted for 0.1 percent of the 0.1 percent club.
The study noted that inheritance of wealth was a major issue considering that among those who were in the top 0.1 percent income bracket, those whose income came from shareholdings and real estate, accounted for nearly 17 percent.
“Since 2000 the wealth distribution even among the 0.1 percent has been tilted much on those who make income from investments, corporate CEOs and private entrepreneurs,” said Hong Min-ki, an analyst with the Korea Labor Institute.
The researcher added that while the top 5 percent’s average income is 68.4 million won, they are closer to the middle-income class, since there are many Koreans over 20 with no or relatively little income.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]