South Korea Executive & Employee Wages Rise



In the majority of large South Korean organisations, the average remuneration for an executive is over eleven times higher than that of an average worker for the same companies.

In the fiscal year 2023, Chaebol.com, an online think tank, looked at local conglomerates and the wages of workers in 162 subsidiaries of 20 large conglomerates in South Korea. This was their major conclusion. Chaebol.com revealed that the average annual salary for CEOs at those companies was 1.09 billion won (US$810,000), while the average salary for non-executive employees was 99.6 million won (US$74,000.

For the purposes of this report, executives were members of the business board (not outside directors or audit committee members).

Related link: Workplaces In South Korea Are Tense Between Generations

The difference in pay between executives and non-executive staff ranged from less than twice for Nonghyup Bank employees (202.2 million won versus 124 million won, US$92,000) to 19.3 times for Sinsegae Group employees (1.05 billion won, US$782,755.58) for executives versus an average salary of 54.4 million won (US$40,256) for other staff members.

The largest corporation in South Korea, Samsung Group, employed the highest-paid executives, with their salaries totalling 2.21 billion won (US$1.6 million), 18.9 times higher than the typical worker’s pay. The executives at LG Group, Hyundai Motor Group, Doosan Group, HD Hyundai Group, and SK Group were the next most paid.

According to the Korea Herald, the average pay decrease for executives and other staff members at the 20 companies was 7.6% and 0.5%, respectively, compared to the previous year.a

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