South Koreans’ average monthly income rose 4.1% in 2019

Data showed that the average monthly income of South Korean workers increased by 4.1% in 2019 year-on-year due to a rise in minimum wage.
By: | February 26, 2021

The country had set the minimum wage for 2019 at 8,350 won (US$7.5) per hour, up 10.9% on-year. This contributed to the average salaries of workers rising from 2.97 million won (US$2,676) per month in 2018 to 3.09 million won (US$2,800) in 2019, according to Statistics Korea.

The median income of wage earners was 2.34 million won (US$2,108) in 2019, up 6.3% from the previous year. The median income is the income amount that divides a population into two equal groups, half having an income above that amount, and half having an income below that amount.  

In addition, the hike in the minimum wage has narrowed the income gap between the wealthy and the poor. 

Also, in 2019, male wage earners had better salaries than their female counterparts –with their average monthly incomes being 3.6 million won (US$3,244) and 2.36 million won (US$2,126), respectively. 

READ: Household incomes in South Korea fell for third straight quarter in 2020

Those employed by larger companies also earned more than those working in small and medium enterprises. On average, the former had salaries of 5.15 million won (US$4,640) versus the latter’s 2.45 million won (US$2,208), according to Yonhap. 

On 15 August 2019, the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) raised the minimum wage for 2020 to 8,590 won (US$7.7) per hour.