SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea plans to raise the annual salaries of entry-level military officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) at border units by up to 30 percent by 2027 from this year, the defense ministry said Sunday, amid a push to improve working conditions of troops.
The salary for a new staff sergeant stationed at a front-line unit will increase to 49 million won (US$37,190) in 2027, up 28 percent from this year, according to the ministry’s five-year welfare plan for service members.
The pay of a new second lieutenant at a border unit will rise to 49.9 million won in 2027, up 30 percent over the same period.
In ordinary units behind the front lines, a staff sergeant will see their annual pay increase to 37.6 million won in 2027, up 14 percent from this year, while a second lieutenant’s salary will rise to 39.1 million won in 2027, up 15 percent from this year.
The announcement came amid growing concerns about entry-level military officers and non-commissioned officers increasingly leaving the military due to overwork and relatively low pay.
Last month, Defense Minister Shin Won-sik called for the improvement of working conditions of entry-level officers and NCOs after taking office in October in an effort to boost morale.
The ministry also plans to raise the pay of conscripts, with the monthly salary of a sergeant set to rise to 1.5 million won in 2025, compared with 1 million won this year.
The ministry said that if a soldier enlists in the Army in 2025 and contributes 550,000 won per month throughout the 18-month service period, he can accumulate a total of 20 million won upon discharge, as the government will match 100 percent of the soldier’s contribution and there is an annual interest rate of 5 percent.