A person working in Korea (South) typically earns around 3,900,000 KRW. Salaries range from 983,000 KRW (lowest average) to 17,400,000 KRW (highest average, actual maximum salary is higher).
This is the average salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Salaries in Korea (South) 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 983,000 KRW (starting salary) to 17,400,000 KRW (maximum average salary, actual maximum is higher). This is not the minimum wage as per the law, only the lowest reported number in the salary survey that had thousands of participants and professionals from all over the country.
The median salary is 3,500,000 KRW, which means that 50% of the population in Korea (South) earns less than that while the other half earns more. 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 in Korea (South) earn less than 2,530,000 KRW while 75% of them earn more. Also from the diagram, 75% of the population earn less than 5,300,000 KRW while 25% earn more than that.
We grouped the most common and recurring salaries into brackets to give more insight into what salary to expect. This method is more accurate than just the average salary and gives more insights into how salaries are actually distributed in Korea (South). Around 65% of all reported figures are in the range 2,320,000 KRW to 5,950,000 KRW. Approximately 20% fall under the 2,320,000 KRW cap. Ten percent of wages are from 5,950,000 KRW to 7,610,000 KRW. Only 5% of people grossed 7,610,000 KRW or more.
Salary is primarily determined by the level of experience one possesses, with higher levels of experience resulting in higher wages.
In Korea (South), employees with two to five years of experience typically earn an average of 32% more than entry-level and junior workers in all industries and fields.
Individuals with more than five years of experience tend to earn an average of 36% more than those with less than five years of experience.
After ten years of work, salaries increase by 21%, with an additional 14% increase for those who have worked for over 15 years.
These figures should be used as rough estimates, as considering individual job titles can lead to more accurate assessments.
The correlation between higher education and higher salary is widely acknowledged, but how much of an income increase can one expect from obtaining a degree?
We conducted a study in Korea (South) comparing the salaries of professionals with different levels of college degrees who held similar positions in various industries.
Our results showed that individuals with a certificate or diploma earned an average of 17% more than those who only completed high school.
Those who obtained a Bachelor's Degree earned 24% more than their counterparts with a certificate or diploma.
Professionals with a Master's Degree earned 29% more than those with a Bachelor's Degree.
Finally, those who held a PhD earned an average of 23% more than those with a Master's Degree while performing the same job.
Earning a Master's degree or any post-graduate qualification in Korea (South) is a substantial financial commitment, with tuition fees ranging from 19,500,000 KRW to 58,500,000 KRW and a duration of around two years. It's important to note that during this period, any salary increases are unlikely, assuming ongoing employment. Salary reviews are typically conducted after completing the program and obtaining the degree.
Many individuals pursue advanced education as a means of transitioning to higher-paying positions, and the statistics indicate that this is an effective strategy. On average, individuals who change jobs after earning a higher degree receive a salary increase of about 10% more than the typical annual raise.
Ultimately, deciding whether or not to pursue advanced education depends on a variety of factors, including the personal situation and experience. However, if one can afford the financial costs of obtaining a higher degree, the return on investment is likely to be worthwhile, with the ability to recoup the costs in approximately a year.
Though gender should not have an effect on pay, in reality, it does. So who gets paid more: men or women? In Korea (South), the average difference between the salary of male and female employees is 6% across all career fields.
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 rare 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
Not all compensation increases are reflected directly in the salary. Some companies offer upgraded packages to their staff instead of cash money. The figures displayed here account only for direct increments to the base salary.
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.
|Job Title||Average Salary|
|Accounting and Finance|
|Accounting Assistant||2,240,000 KRW|
|Accounting Manager||5,780,000 KRW|
|Chartered Accountant||3,550,000 KRW|
|Corporate Treasurer||5,160,000 KRW|
|Financial Analyst||5,260,000 KRW|
|Financial Manager||8,300,000 KRW|
|Internal Auditor||3,680,000 KRW|
Administration / Reception / Secretarial
|Administrative Assistant||2,170,000 KRW|
|Office Manager||3,530,000 KRW|
Advertising / Graphic Design / Events
|Art Director||4,110,000 KRW|
|Creative Director||4,100,000 KRW|
|Graphic Designer||2,540,000 KRW|
Airlines / Aviation / Aerospace / Defense
|Aerospace Engineer||5,190,000 KRW|
|Air Traffic Controller||4,520,000 KRW|
|Flight Attendant||2,760,000 KRW|
|CAD Drafter||2,060,000 KRW|
|Service Advisor||2,770,000 KRW|
|Bank Branch Manager||7,260,000 KRW|
|Business Analyst||4,900,000 KRW|
|Business Development Manager||6,530,000 KRW|
|Project Manager||5,150,000 KRW|
Care Giving and Child Care
|Nursery Teacher||1,470,000 KRW|
Construction / Building / Installation
|Civil Engineer||3,680,000 KRW|
|Construction Project Manager||6,570,000 KRW|
|Health and Safety Officer||1,820,000 KRW|
Customer Service and Call Center
|Call Center Representative||1,530,000 KRW|
|Customer Service Manager||5,640,000 KRW|
|Customer Service Representative||1,440,000 KRW|
|Civil Engineer||3,780,000 KRW|
|Electrical Engineer||3,810,000 KRW|
|Mechanical Engineer||3,830,000 KRW|
Executive and Management
|Chief Executive Officer||8,780,000 KRW|
|Chief Financial Officer||8,560,000 KRW|
|General Manager||7,310,000 KRW|
|Project Manager||4,560,000 KRW|
Food / Hospitality / Tourism / Catering
|Executive Chef||2,990,000 KRW|
|Hotel Manager||7,340,000 KRW|
|Travel Agent||2,450,000 KRW|
|Waiter / Waitress||1,240,000 KRW|
Health and Medical
|Laboratory Technician||3,040,000 KRW|
|Human Resources Manager||5,780,000 KRW|
|Human Resources Officer||2,450,000 KRW|
|Computer Technician||3,160,000 KRW|
|Database Administrator||4,080,000 KRW|
|Developer / Programmer||3,950,000 KRW|
|Information Technology Manager||6,350,000 KRW|
|Network Engineer||3,380,000 KRW|
Law Enforcement / Security / Fire
|Police Officer||2,410,000 KRW|
|Legal Assistant||2,200,000 KRW|
Media / Broadcasting / Arts / Entertainment
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology
|Biomedical Engineer||3,390,000 KRW|
Sales Retail and Wholesale
|Sales Manager||6,800,000 KRW|
|Sales Representative||2,600,000 KRW|
Teaching / Education
|Elementary School Teacher||2,800,000 KRW|
|Secondary School Teacher||3,090,000 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 fixed 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.
The minimum pay rate per hour for a person in Korea (South) is 5,670 KRW. This is the minimum as per the gathered data in the salary survey not the minimum hourly rate mandated by law.
Where can you get paid more, working in a private company or the government? The difference between the public or government sector salaries and the private sector salaries in Korea (South) is 6% on average across all career fields.
It is extremely difficult to give an exact figure of a good salary when no specific job is selected, however; an estimate can be provided based purely on the cost of living. A good compensation in Korea (South) would range anywhere between 3,500,000 KRW and 5,300,000 KRW.
All salary and compensation figures displayed here are gross salary figures, that is the salary before tax deductions. Because taxes may differ across sectors and locations, it is difficult to accurately calculate the net salary after tax for every career.
The base salary in Korea (South) ranges from 983,000 KRW to 2,530,000 KRW. The base salary depends on many factors including profession, experience, and education. It is not easy to provide a figure with very little information, so take this range with a grain of salt.
Both are indicators. If your salary is higher than both the average and the median then you are doing very well. If your salary is lower than both, then many people earn 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