SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean university graduates who land white-collar jobs at large corporations are paid an average of about 33 million won (US$29,700) in annual starting salary as of June this year, government data showed Thursday.
According to the data released by the labor ministry, local companies with more than 500 employees pay 33.47 million won on average to a worker who holds a job in business administration or accounting for less than one year after obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The average annual salary rises to 86.51 million won for large company employees with the same conditions and a career spanning longer than 10 years, the ministry said, speculating that seniority seems to be an important part of corporate wage increases.
It also noted that wage gaps between university and high school graduates were smallest at large conglomerates.
The ratio of the average wages of workers with a high school diploma or lower to the wages of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 70.2 percent at companies with more than 500 employees, which was higher than at any companies of smaller size, the ministry said.
The corresponding ratio was smallest, at 59.2 percent, in companies with 100 to 299 employees, it added.
The ministry disclosed the detailed corporate salary data on its wage information system, which was launched in February this year as part of efforts to ease wage disparities in the private sector.
The salary comparison website makes public detailed salary brackets of private sector employees by six criteria — corporation size, type of business, occupation, work experience, gender and academic background — to help corporate employees find information on salaries earned by workers doing similar jobs in the same fields.
The labor ministry said it has analyzed corporate wage data from 2017 to 2019 to compile the estimated salaries as of June this year, adding that overtime pay was excluded from the data.
Some critics are concerned that the disclosure of wage information by the government may have many adverse effects, including a worsening of labor-management conflict over wages.
But ministry officials said the disclosure of transparent salary information will lead to a spontaneous reduction in wage gaps, as underpaid laborers are expected to step up calls for raises.
They also said the salary comparison website may also be utilized by companies wanting to shift to a performance-based pay system from the seniority-based system.