South Korea’s gender pay gap highest in OECD

Out of the 38 members of the OECD, South Korea ranks highest in the pay gap between male and female employees in 2020.
By: | November 18, 2021

The gender wage gap in South Korea was 31.5% last year, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), meaning that women earned 31.5% less than men on average.

OECD’s definition of the gender pay gap is the difference between median earnings of men and women relative to the median earnings of men. The organisation analysed the data of 14 of the 38 countries that have publicised the latest 2020 figures, and South Korea looks set to rank number 1 again.

The ranking puts the US as number 2 with the percentage at 17.7%, followed by the UK (12.3%), Chile (8.6%), Sweden (7.4%) and New Zealand (4.6%).

Only four, including South Korea, of the 38 members have been posting more than 20% in recent years, and South Korea is the only member with a figure exceeding 30%. The OECD 2019 average figure was 12.5%.

South Korea has always been at the top position since the OECD started compiling the relevant data in 1995.

READ: South Korea registers job growth for eighth consecutive month

Many reasons have been put forth for the high ranking, including underemployment of women reentering the labour market after childbirth, sexual discrimination, and women being not taking on physically risky and demanding jobs in construction and heavy industry, according to The Korea Herald.