KERI report gives insight into yearly salaries in South Korea

Posted on : 2017-08-17 18:04 KST Modified on : 2017-08-17 18:04 KST
Average annual salary rose 3.3% in 2016
Korean Workers Average Annual Salary (unit: 10
Korean Workers Average Annual Salary (unit: 10

If you’re wondering how your yearly salary stacks up to other workers in South Korea, you can satisfy your curiosity with a report released by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI), which is affiliated with the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI).

According to the KERI report, titled “An Analysis of Wage Earners’ Salaries in 2016,” the average salary earned last year by 15.44 million South Korean wage earners was 33.87 million won (roughly US $34,000). The report, which was released on Aug. 16, was prepared using data from an annual survey on labor conditions by employment type carried out by the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

The average yearly salary in 2016 was up 3.3% (1.06 million won, about US $1000) from 2015, when it was 32.81 million won (about US $33,000.) The median salary (which would be the salary of the 50th worker if there are 100 workers altogether) was 26.23 million won (about US $26,000). This was also higher than 2015 (25 million won), up 4.9%, or 1.23 million won (about US $1200).

When the total population of wage earners is divided into deciles, or segments of 10%, the top decile has a lower boundary of 66.07 million won, the decile from 10% to 20% has 47.89 million won (US $48,000), the decile from 20% to 30% has 37.76 million won (US $37,000) and the decile from 30% to 40% has 31.20 million won (US $31,000). The lower 60% of the population make less than the average income. But the average income’s rate of increase was four times higher for the lowest decile, at 5.3%, than for the highest decile, at 1.4%. The decile from 10% to 20% had a rate of increase of 2.9%, and the decile from 20% to 30% had a rate of increase of 3.5%.

In terms of company size, the average salary for regular workers at large corporations with more than 300 employees was 65.21 million won (US $65,000), while regular workers at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) earned an average of 34.93 million won ($34,900). While the ratio of salaries of regular workers at SMEs to regular workers at large corporations was just 53.6%, that was a small improvement from the 2015 ratio of 51.4%. The average salary of regular workers at large corporations stood at the 10.3% percentile for all workers, while regular workers at SMEs stood at 34.3%. A numerical distribution of workers by salary shows that 33.8% of workers made less than 20 million won while 2.8% made more than 100 million won (US $100,000).

By Kwack Jung-soo, Business Correspondent

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