Income Disparity Grows, Bonus Reflect Salary Patterns



In 2022, employees in South Korea received a median bonus amount of 4.34 million won (US$3261.43), while the top 0.1% of bonus earners averaged 685.26 million won (US$515.06 thousand).

This information was made public in a report published by South Korea’s National Tax Service. Representative Yang Gyeong-suk, a member of the Democratic Party of Korea, brought attention to the growing concern over the country’s polarisation in employee compensation.

An examination of the most recent National Tax Service report reveals a notable disparity in the bonuses that South Korean workers earn. The incentives of the top 0.1% of employees increased by 24.9%, while the median bonus experienced a slight increase of 7.1% from 2020. The comparison of the average bonus of the top 0.1% to the median bonus reveals an increase from 135.5 times in 2020 to 157.9 times in 2022, further emphasising the discrepancy.

Related link: Workplaces In South Korea Are Tense Between Generations

The fact that the bottom 20% of earnings received bonuses that were, on average, only 370,000 won (US$278.02) each further highlighted the economic disparity.

According to Yang, this data highlights larger problems with income inequality in South Korea, with changes in bonus distribution reflecting those in salaries. The bonuses of the top 0.1% made up a sizeable 6.2% of the overall bonus pool, whilst the bonuses of the top 1% and top 10% made up 15.4% and 52%, respectively. Compared to most employees, this wealth concentration among a small number of them is strikingly distinct.

The new data, as published by BNN, raises concerns about the long-term sustainability of such income differences within South Korea’s economy, which is reason for serious reflection and reevaluation of the systemic solutions required to solve the issue of income disparity in the country.

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