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Average Salary in Korea (South) 2020

How much money does a person working in Korea (South) make?


Average Monthly Salary
3,890,000 KRW
( 46,600,000 KRW yearly)

LOW
983,000
KRW
AVERAGE
3,890,000
KRW
HIGH
17,400,000
KRW

A person working in Korea (South) typically earns around 3,890,000 KRW per month. Salaries range from 983,000 KRW (lowest average) to 17,400,000 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.

Distribution of Salaries in Korea (South)

Median and salary distribution monthly Korea (South)
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The median, the maximum, the minimum, and the range

  • Salary Range

    Salaries in Korea (South) range from 983,000 KRW per month (minimum salary) to 17,400,000 KRW per month (maximum average salary, actual maximum is higher).

  • Median Salary

    The median salary is 3,960,000 KRW per month, which means that half (50%) of the population are earning less than 3,960,000 KRW while the other half are earning more than 3,960,000 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.

  • Percentiles

    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 2,230,000 KRW while 75% of them are earning more than 2,230,000 KRW. Also from the diagram, 75% of the population are earning less than 10,900,000 KRW while 25% are earning more than 10,900,000 KRW.


What is the difference between the median and the average salary?

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

Salary Comparison by Years of Experience

How does a person's salary progress over time?

Salary Comparison By Experience Level
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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.


Change in salary based on experience varies drastically from one location to another and depends hugely on the career field as well. The data displayed here is the combined average of many different jobs. To view accurate figures, choose a specific job title.

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.

On average, a person's salary doubles their starting salary by the time they cross the 10 years* experience mark.
* Based on the average change in salary over time. Salary variations differ from person to person.

Salary Comparison By Education

How does the education level affect your salary?

Salary Comparison By Education
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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.


Change in salary based on education varies drastically from one location to another and depends hugely on the career field as well. The data displayed here is the combined average of multiple jobs. To view accurate figures, choose a specific job title.

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.


Is a Master's degree or an MBA worth it? Should you pursue higher education?

A Master's degree program or any post-graduate program in Korea (South) costs anywhere from 19,400,000 South Korean Won(s) to 58,300,000 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.



Salary Comparison By Gender

Salary comparison by gender monthly Korea (South)
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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 6% more than their female counterparts on avergae across all sectors.

Male
3,990,000 KRW
Female-6%
3,760,000 KRW
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Average Annual Salary Increment Percentage in Korea (South)

How much are annual salary increments in Korea (South)? How often do employees get salary raises?

Korea (South)

Employees in Korea (South) are likely to observe a salary increase of approximately 9% every 16 months.

Annual Salary Increment Rate Korea (South)
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The figures provided here are averages of numbers. Those figures should be taken as general guidelines. Salary increments will vary from person to person and depend on many factors, but your performance and contribution to the success of the organization remain the most important factors in determining how much and how often you will be granted a raise.

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.

How to calculate the salary increment percentage?

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

The average salary increase in one year (12 months) in Korea (South) is 7%.

Annual Increment Rate By Industry 2019

Banking
6%
Energy
3%
Information Technology
9%
Healthcare
6%
Travel
3%
Construction
9%
Education
6%

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.


Average Salary Increase Rate by Experience Level

Junoir Level
3% - 5%
Mid-Career
6% - 9%
Senior Level
10% - 15%
Top Management
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.

Worldwide Salary Raises: All Countries and All Jobs

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Bonus and Incentive Rates in Korea (South)

How much and how often are bonuses being awarded?Annual Salary Bonus Rate Korea (South)
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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.

Received Bonus
54%
No Bonus
46%

Types of Bonuses Considered

Individual Performance-Based Bonuses

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.

Bonuses Are Not Commissions!

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.


Bonus Rates Comparison by Career Field

Finance
High
Architecture
High
Sales
High
Business Development
High
Marketing / Advertising
High
Information Technology
Moderate
Healthcare
Moderate
Insurance
Moderate
Customer Service
Moderate
Human Resources
Moderate
Construction
Low
Transport
Low
Hospitality
Low

What makes a position worthy of good bonuses and a high salary?

The main two types of jobs

Revenue GeneratorsSupporting 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.

Example:
A graphics designer working for a graphics designing company.

Example:
A graphic designer in the marketing department of a hospital.


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.

Try to work for companies where your skills can generate revenue. We can't all generate revenue and that's perfectly fine.

Bonus Comparison by Seniority Level

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.

Salaries for popular jobs

Job TitleAverage Salary
Accounting and Finance
Accountant2,820,000 KRW
Accounting Assistant2,240,000 KRW
Accounting Manager5,780,000 KRW
Bookkeeper1,860,000 KRW
Chartered Accountant3,550,000 KRW
Corporate Treasurer5,160,000 KRW
Financial Analyst5,260,000 KRW
Financial Manager8,300,000 KRW
Internal Auditor3,680,000 KRW

Administration / Reception / Secretarial
Administrative Assistant2,170,000 KRW
Office Manager3,530,000 KRW
Receptionist1,460,000 KRW
Secretary1,750,000 KRW

Advertising / Grapic Design / Events
Art Director4,110,000 KRW
Creative Director4,100,000 KRW
Graphic Designer2,540,000 KRW
Photographer2,300,000 KRW

Airlines / Aviation / Aerospace / Defense
Aerospace Engineer5,190,000 KRW
Air Traffic Controller4,520,000 KRW
Flight Attendant2,760,000 KRW
Pilot6,690,000 KRW

Architecture
Architect4,580,000 KRW
CAD Drafter2,060,000 KRW

Automotive
Mechanic1,460,000 KRW
Service Advisor2,770,000 KRW

Banking
Bank Branch Manager7,260,000 KRW
Teller1,520,000 KRW

Bilingual
Teacher2,960,000 KRW
Translator3,550,000 KRW

Business Planning
Business Analyst4,900,000 KRW
Business Development Manager6,530,000 KRW
Project Manager4,560,000 KRW

Care Giving and Child Care
Nanny1,600,000 KRW
Nursery Teacher1,470,000 KRW

Construction / Building / Installation
Civil Engineer3,780,000 KRW
Construction Project Manager6,570,000 KRW
Health and Safety Officer1,820,000 KRW

Customer Service and Call Center
Call Center Representative1,530,000 KRW
Customer Service Manager5,640,000 KRW
Customer Service Representative1,440,000 KRW

Engineering
Electrical Engineer3,810,000 KRW
Engineer3,770,000 KRW
Mechanical Engineer3,830,000 KRW

Executive and Management
Chief Executive Officer8,780,000 KRW
Chief Financial Officer8,560,000 KRW
General Manager7,310,000 KRW

Food / Hospitality / Tourism / Catering
Chef2,510,000 KRW
Executive Chef2,990,000 KRW
Hotel Manager7,340,000 KRW
Travel Agent2,450,000 KRW
Waiter / Waitress1,240,000 KRW

Health and Medical
Dentist9,370,000 KRW
Dietitian7,820,000 KRW
Laboratory Technician3,040,000 KRW
Nurse3,000,000 KRW

Human Resources
Human Resources Manager5,780,000 KRW
Human Resources Officer2,450,000 KRW

Information Technology
Computer Technician3,160,000 KRW
Database Administrator4,080,000 KRW
Developer / Programmer3,950,000 KRW
Information Technology Manager6,350,000 KRW
Network Engineer3,380,000 KRW

Law Enforcement / Security / Fire
Police Officer2,410,000 KRW

Legal
Attorney8,050,000 KRW
Legal Assistant2,200,000 KRW

Media / Broadcasting / Arts / Entertainment
Journalist4,660,000 KRW

Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology
Biomedical Engineer3,390,000 KRW
Pharmacist4,860,000 KRW

Sales Retail and Wholesale
Cashier1,520,000 KRW
Sales Manager6,800,000 KRW
Sales Representative2,600,000 KRW

Teaching / Education
Elementary School Teacher2,800,000 KRW
Secondary School Teacher3,090,000 KRW

Average Hourly Wage in Korea (South)


22,400 KRW per hour

The average hourly wage (pay per hour) in Korea (South) is 22,400 KRW. This means that the average person in Korea (South) earns approximately 22,400 KRW for every worked hour.


Hourly Wage = Annual Salary ÷ ( 52 x 5 x 8 )

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.

Salary Comparison By City

CityAverage Salary
Bucheon3,600,000 KRW
Busan4,290,000 KRW
Daegu4,130,000 KRW
Daejeon4,060,000 KRW
Goyang3,760,000 KRW
Gwangju3,980,000 KRW
Incheon4,210,000 KRW
Seongnam3,670,000 KRW
Seoul4,360,000 KRW
Suweon3,910,000 KRW
Ulsan3,840,000 KRW

Government vs Private Sector Salary Comparison

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 on average across all sectors.

Private Sector
3,770,000 KRW
Public Sector+6%
3,990,000 KRW
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

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