SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — The average wage of foreign workers employed at industrial sites in Busan exceeded the average first-time employment wage of college graduates in South Korea.
The monthly wage per foreign worker came to 2.46 million won (US$2,060), according to a survey of 150 local manufacturers that employed foreign workers by the Busan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
The figure surpasses the 2.32 million won average for first-time employment of college graduates in Korea, which the Education Ministry reported in its 2017 report.
In terms of how much workers are paid, 44.7 percent of the total made between 2.5 million won and less than 3 million won, while 39.3 percent were paid between 2 million won and 2.5 million won.
In particular, wages for foreign workers exclude lodging costs, and the average wage level would be even higher if lodging costs were included.
In fact, 95.3 percent of the surveyed companies provide their foreign employees with lodging costs, with a monthly average of 200,000 won per person.
In the case of lodging costs, they are sometimes deducted from wages.
But in order to prevent foreign workers from leaving the country, most companies have had to bite the bullet and pay separate accommodation costs.
Of note, the government recently raised the minimum wage. Foreign workers benefited from the increase, as their salaries rose accordingly.
Some 43.3 percent of the surveyed companies raised monthly wages by 110,000 won to 200,000 won per foreign worker, while 30.7 percent raised the wage by 210,000 won to 300,000 won.
As such, the wage level of foreign workers has been rising sharply in recent years, but there is no other alternative.
The type of jobs performed by foreign workers at industrial sites are typically ‘simple and repetitive work’, accounting for 64.7 percent.
In fact, most Korean workers and highly-skilled workers are reluctant to work so-called “3D” jobs. This is why companies have no choice but to hire alternative workers, like foreign workers.
“The majority of companies that hire foreign workers are small and medium-sized companies with poor working conditions,” said Shim Jae-woon, head of the BCCI’s research division.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)