Small Firm Employees Earn Only 60% of What Large Corp. Counterparts Make...Survey | Be Korea-savvy

Small Firm Employees Earn Only 60% of What Large Corp. Counterparts Make…Survey


SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – A study said the average annual compensation for employees in small enterprises whose sales revenue is less than 100 billion won was 37.59 million won (US$34,200) while the comparable figure for large corporations with sales of more than 1 trillion won was $61.21 million won ($55,700). That means small company workers earn on average only 61.4 percent of what their large corporation counterparts make.

Korea CXO Institute said this on December 18 based on a survey on 1,500 large and small firms in Korea. The percentage of those employees who get paid an average annual salary between 30 million and 40 million won took the largest portion of 32.9 percent, according to the study.

The survey was conducted on 1,500 top publicly listed companies in terms of sales revenue. The compensation for each employee was calculated by dividing each company’s aggregate compensation amount reported in the 2013 financial statements submitted to the Korea Exchange by the number of employees.

According to the survey, the per-person average compensation for large firms with sales revenue of more than 1 trillion won in 2013 was 61.21 million won. For those firms whose sales are between 500 billion won and 1 trillion won, the average compensation level was 50.50 million won. Other groups of firms whose sales are within the range of 300 billion – 500 billion won and 100 billion – 300 billion won were 40.44 million won and 39.72 million won, respectively.

The annual compensation levels differed widely depending on industrial sector. The industrial area with the highest annual compensation level was financial services with 63.24 million won, followed by construction with 52.06 million won. Other sectors such as chemical (48.09 million won), automobile (48.01 million won), metals (46.03 million won), machinery (44.66 million won), pharmaceutical (42.07 million won), retail (41.66 million won), and electronics (40.72 million won) followed thereafter. Food processing was the area with the lowest annual compensation level at 38.68 million won.

By individual company, Meritz Financial Group turned out to pay the highest level of salaries to its employees. The average per-person compensation for its 27 employees including the executives was 207.7 million won ($188.900). But the actual per-capita compensation level is substantially lowered to 78.52 million won ($71,400) if the pay to retired executives is excluded.

The runners-up included SK Telecom (112.5 million won), Shinhan Financial Group (110.9 million won) and KB Financial Group (108.6 million won).

By Sean Chung (

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