Wage gap between executives and employees in South Korea widens

The average salary for executives in the country has risen to more than 10 times the rate of average salary employees.
By: | March 26, 2024

The average salary of an executive in most major corporations in South Korea is almost 11 times that of an average employee working at the same organisation.

This was the key finding from online think-tank Chaebol.com, which has been monitoring local conglomerates and the salaries of employees working for 162 subsidiaries of 20 major conglomerates in South Korea in the 2023 fiscal year. In their report, Chaebol.com found that the executives of those organisations were paid an average salary of 1.09 billion won (US$810,000) a year, compared to 99.6 million won (US$74,000) for non-executive employees at the organisation.

The executives in this report were defined as members of the corporate board, which excluded the outside directors and members of the organisations’ audit committee.

The wage gap between the executives and other employees varied from less than twice for Nonghyup Bank employees, which saw 202.2 million won (US$150,000) compared to 124 million won (US$92,000) respectively – to 19.3 times for those working at Sinsegae Group, which paid 1.05 billion won (US$782,755.58) to executives compared to the average 54.4 million won (US$40,256) salary for other employees.

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The highest-paid executives were those working for Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, which saw them making 2.21 billion won (US$1.6 million) in salary, 18.9 times more than the average employee made. The next highest-paid executives were at LG Group, Hyundai Motor Group, Doosan Group, HD Hyundai Group, and SK Group.

On average, the salaries of executives and other employees at the 20 conglomerates dropped by 7.6% and 0.5%, respectively, across the board, a dip from the year before, reported the Korea Herald.