Office Workers Say Over 85.5 Million Won Is a 'High Salary' in South Korea | Be Korea-savvy

Office Workers Say Over 85.5 Million Won Is a ‘High Salary’ in South Korea

Citizens walk near Gwanghwamun Square in downtown Seoul in this undated photo. (Yonhap)

Citizens walk near Gwanghwamun Square in downtown Seoul in this undated photo. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Jun. 3 (Korea Bizwire) – What constitutes a high salary for South Korean office workers? According to a recent survey, the general consensus is an annual income of around 85.5 million won.

The survey, conducted by the job platform JobKorea, polled 721 employed men and women, allowing for multiple responses. The results showed that respondents typically considered an annual income of approximately 85.5 million won or higher to be a “high salary.”

However, the benchmark for a high salary varied slightly across age groups, likely reflecting differences in circumstances such as the number of dependents. Those in their 20s considered around 78.6 million won to be a high salary.

For those in their 30s, the figure was approximately 84.7 million won. Respondents in their 40s deemed around 95.1 million won a high salary. 

While a higher salary is always desirable, the reality remains that salaries can vary considerably, even among employees in lucrative fields like the IT industry.

While the gaming industry has recently undergone downsizing, until recently, salaries exceeding 100 million won and generous compensation packages were a source of envy for many office workers.

The situation differs in the IT security sector, where reported starting salaries at major companies hover around 50 million won as of 2019 data.

This marks a notable gap compared to the gaming industry’s starting salaries, which were said to exceed 60 million won at the time. 

So, what do office workers believe is necessary to achieve a “high salary”? More than half (51.2%) of the survey respondents indicated that changing jobs and securing higher-paying positions would be key to becoming a “high earner.”

Other responses included gaining promotions to managerial or executive roles (46.3%), accumulating significant work experience and years of service (39.4%), and obtaining professional certifications or qualifications (22.3%).

M. H. Lee ( 

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