A person working in Korea (South) typically earns around 9,800,000 KRW per month. Salaries range from 1,330,000 KRW (lowest average) to 43,400,000 KRW (highest average, actual maximum salary is higher).
This is the average monthly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Salaries vary drastically between different careers. If you are interested in the salary of a particular job, see below for salaries for specific job titles.
Salaries in Korea (South) range from 1,330,000 KRW per month (minimum salary) to 43,400,000 KRW per month (maximum average salary, actual maximum is higher).
The median salary is 9,990,000 KRW per month, which means that half (50%) of the population are earning less than 9,990,000 KRW while the other half are earning more than 9,990,000 KRW. The median represents the middle salary value. Generally speaking, you would want to be on the right side of the graph with the group earning more than the median salary.
Closely related to the median are two values: the 25th and the 75th percentiles. Reading from the salary distribution diagram, 25% of the population are earning less than 5,090,000 KRW while 75% of them are earning more than 5,090,000 KRW. Also from the diagram, 75% of the population are earning less than 27,200,000 KRW while 25% are earning more than 27,200,000 KRW.
Both are indicators. If your salary is higher than both of the average and the median then you are doing very well. If your salary is lower than both, then many people are earning more than you and there is plenty of room for improvement. If your wage is between the average and the median, then things can be a bit complicated. We wrote a guide to explain all about the different scenarios. How to compare your salary
The experience level is the most important factor in determining the salary. Naturally the more years of experience the higher the wage.
Generally speaking, employees having experience from two to five years earn on average 32% more than freshers and juniors across all industries and disciplines.
Professionals with experience of more than five years tend to earn on average 36% more than those with five years or less of work experience.
As you hit the ten years mark, the salary increases by 21% and an additional 14% for those who have crossed the 15 years mark.
Those figures are presented as guidelines only. The numbers become more significant if you consider one job title at a time.
It is well known that higher education equals a bigger salary, but how much more money can a degree add to your income? We compared the salaries of professionals at the same level but with different college degrees levels across many jobs, below are our findings.
Workers with a certificate or diploma earn on average 17% more than their peers who only reached the high school level.
Employees who earned a Bachelor's Degree earn 24% more than those who only managed to attain a cerificate or diploma.
Professionals who attained a Master's Degree are awarded salaries that are 29% more than those with a Bachelor's Degree.
Finally, PhD holders earn 23% more than Master's Degree holders on average while doing the same job.
A Master's degree program or any post-graduate program in Korea (South) costs anywhere from 49,000,000 South Korean Won(s) to 147,000,000 South Korean Won(s) and lasts approximately two years. That is quite an investment.
You can't really expect any salary increases during the study period, assuming you already have a job. In most cases, a salary review is conducted once education is completed and the degree has been attained.
Many people pursue higher education as a tactic to switch into a higher paying job. The numbers seem to support this tactic. The average increase in compensation while changing jobs is approximately 10% more than the customary salary increment.
The decision really depends on your situation and experience among many other factors. Putting all variables aside, if you can afford the costs of higher education then the return on investment is definitely worth it. You should be able to recover the costs in roughly a year or so.
Though gender should not have an effect on pay, in reality, it does. So who gets paid more: men or women? Male employees in Korea (South) earn 7% more than their female counterparts.
Employees in Korea (South) are likely to observe a salary increase of approximately 9% every 16 months.
The term 'Annual Salary Increase' usually refers to the increase in 12 calendar month period, but because it is rarely that people get their salaries reviewed exactly on the one year mark, it is more meaningful to know the frequency and the rate at the time of the increase.
The annual salary Increase in a calendar year (12 months) can be easily calculated as follows: Annual Salary Increase = Increase Rate x 12 ÷ Increase Frequency
Listed above are the average annual increase rates for each industry in Korea (South) for the year 2019. Companies within thriving industries tend to provide higher and more frequent raises. Exceptions do exist, but generally speaking, the situation of any company is closely related to the economic situation in the country or region. These figures tend to change frequently.
3% - 5%
6% - 9%
10% - 15%
15% - 20%
The difference in increment rates is somehow justified because employers put more effort to retain more experienced staff since they are harder to acquire than less experienced ones.
46% of surveyed staff in Korea (South) reported that they haven't received any bonuses or incentives in the previous year while 54% said that they received at least one form of monetary bonus.
Those who got bonuses reported rates ranging from 3% to 6% of their annual salary.
The most standard form of bonus where the employee is awarded based on their exceptional performance.Company Performance Bonuses
Occasionally, some companies like to celebrate excess earnings and profits with their staff collectively in the form of bonuses that are granted to everyone. The amount of the bonus will probably be different from person to person depending on their role within the organization.Goal-Based Bonuses
Granted upon achieving an important goal or milestone.Holiday / End of Year Bonuses
These types of bonuses are given without a reason and usually resemble an appreciation token.
People tend to confuse bonuses with commissions. A commission is a prefixed rate at which someone gets paid for items sold or deals completed while a bonus is in most cases arbitrary and unplanned.
|Marketing / Advertising|
The main two types of jobs
|Revenue Generators||Supporting Cast|
Employees that are directly involved in generating revenue or profit for the organization. Their field of expertise usually matches the type of business.
Employees that support and facilitate the work of revenue generators. Their expertise is usually different from that of the core business operations.
Revenue generators usually get more and higher bonuses, higher salaries, and more frequent salary increments. The reason is quite simple: it is easier to quantify your value to the company in monetary terms when you participate in revenue generation.
Top management personnel and senior employees naturally exhibit higher bonus rates and frequencies than juniors. This is very predictable due to the inherent responsibilities of being higher in the hierarchy. People in top positions can easily get double or triple bonus rates than employees down the pyramid.
Where can you get paid more, working for a private company or for the government? Public sector employees in Korea (South) earn 6% more than their private sector counterparts.
|Average Salary 2016|
|Average Salary 2017||+4%|
|Average Salary 2018||+3%|
|Average Salary 2019||+2%|
Salaries in Korea (South) are on the rise in the year 2020 based on recent submitted salaries and reports. As displayed in the chart, salaries in 2019 are 2% higher than those of 2018. The trend suggests a slow yet continuous increase in pay in 2021 and future years. These numbers may vary from industry to another.
|Job Title||Average Salary|
|Accounting and Finance|
|Accounting Assistant||6,730,000 KRW|
|Accounting Manager||12,700,000 KRW|
|Chartered Accountant||8,500,000 KRW|
|Corporate Treasurer||16,700,000 KRW|
|Financial Analyst||10,700,000 KRW|
|Financial Manager||21,000,000 KRW|
|Internal Auditor||9,980,000 KRW|
Administration / Reception / Secretarial
|Administrative Assistant||5,420,000 KRW|
|Office Manager||6,970,000 KRW|
Advertising / Grapic Design / Events
|Art Director||10,100,000 KRW|
|Creative Director||10,500,000 KRW|
|Graphic Designer||6,920,000 KRW|
Airlines / Aviation / Aerospace / Defense
|Aerospace Engineer||11,100,000 KRW|
|Air Traffic Controller||10,400,000 KRW|
|Flight Attendant||8,630,000 KRW|
|CAD Drafter||7,580,000 KRW|
|Service Advisor||7,910,000 KRW|
|Bank Branch Manager||14,600,000 KRW|
|Business Analyst||11,700,000 KRW|
|Business Development Manager||15,500,000 KRW|
|Project Manager||11,400,000 KRW|
Care Giving and Child Care
|Nursery Teacher||6,970,000 KRW|
Construction / Building / Installation
|Civil Engineer||9,310,000 KRW|
|Construction Project Manager||11,700,000 KRW|
|Health and Safety Officer||6,440,000 KRW|
Customer Service and Call Center
|Call Center Representative||7,000,000 KRW|
|Customer Service Manager||13,700,000 KRW|
|Customer Service Representative||6,710,000 KRW|
|Electrical Engineer||9,520,000 KRW|
|Mechanical Engineer||9,890,000 KRW|
Executive and Management
|Chief Executive Officer||22,000,000 KRW|
|Chief Financial Officer||21,300,000 KRW|
|General Manager||18,300,000 KRW|
Food / Hospitality / Tourism / Catering
|Executive Chef||9,080,000 KRW|
|Hotel Manager||15,000,000 KRW|
|Travel Agent||7,910,000 KRW|
|Waiter / Waitress||5,930,000 KRW|
Health and Medical
|Laboratory Technician||7,610,000 KRW|
|Human Resources Manager||13,300,000 KRW|
|Human Resources Officer||8,290,000 KRW|
|Computer Technician||7,900,000 KRW|
|Database Administrator||10,200,000 KRW|
|Developer / Programmer||8,850,000 KRW|
|Information Technology Manager||13,800,000 KRW|
|Network Engineer||8,450,000 KRW|
Law Enforcement / Security / Fire
|Police Officer||7,920,000 KRW|
|Legal Assistant||7,450,000 KRW|
Media / Broadcasting / Arts / Entertainment
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology
|Biomedical Engineer||8,480,000 KRW|
Sales Retail and Wholesale
|Sales Manager||15,400,000 KRW|
|Sales Representative||6,500,000 KRW|
Teaching / Education
|Elementary School Teacher||7,000,000 KRW|
|Secondary School Teacher||7,740,000 KRW|
The hourly wage is the salary paid in one worked hour. Usually jobs are classified into two categories: salaried jobs and hourly jobs. Salaried jobs pay a fix amount regardless of the hours worked. Hourly jobs pay per worked hour. To convert salary into hourly wage the above formula is used (assuming 5 working days in a week and 8 working hours per day which is the standard for most jobs). The hourly wage calculation may differ slightly depending on the worked hours per week and the annual vacation allowance. The figures mentioned above are good approximations and are considered to be the standard. One major difference between salaried employees and hourly paid employees is overtime eligibility. Salaried employees are usually exempt from overtime as opposed to hourly paid staff.