SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Korea Bizwire) – After Samsung Electronics announced the recent promotion of 118 executives to upper management, there has been considerable interest in the various perks allotted to personnel manning these positions.
According to figures provided by the financial industry, less than one percent of all Samsung employees are elevated to upper management, and from there onwards the road to vice-president and president becomes much narrower.
Despite the near impossible odds, there is a reason why an upper management job title is referred to as “the salaried worker’s star”. For those who have dedicated large parts of their youth and much of their adult life to one organization, the recognition that comes with a promotion into the next level of management can be priceless.
What can be priced, however, is the boost in salaries that the shiny new job labels guarantee. Though there is considerable variance tied to previous experience and field of expertise, typically the starting salary is 150 million won per annum. But with incentives and bonuses handed out through the year, the actual figure balloons to much more.
News that Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun reportedly earned 14 billion won in the first half of the year alone – the highest paid executive apart from family members of chairman Lee Kun-hee – will no doubt fuel the drive for low ranking managers to keep climbing the company ladder.
Besides a higher salary, managing directors, the lowest upper management position, are granted a company car priced at 40 million won. At the next level, senior managing directors are offered a “car upgrade” and depending on the occasion, some are provided drivers. Other benefits include bigger offices, secretaries (from senior managing directors upwards), business class flights and private golf club memberships.
However, even with better pay and advantageous comforts, many executives find life as a “star” to be tough sledding. Though not officially required, an unwritten code expects high ranking managers to report to work by six thirty in the morning and often stay late into the night. The option of working a more flexible schedule is only realistically available to positions below managing director.
Because future promotions depend heavily on performance and results, a hyper-competitive working environment can also bring about intense stress levels. Even those who may not be motivated by the prospect of greater advancement within the hierarchy must keep their nose to the grindstone, lest they find themselves unemployed sooner than they expect. Cases of newly promoted managing directors being “weeded out” are not uncommon, so much so that these individuals have earned their own nickname: “temp workers”.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)