SEOUL, Apr. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — The wage gap between regular and irregular workers in South Korea is widening despite an overall increase wages, new government data has revealed.
According to data revealed by the Ministry of Employment and Labor on Sunday, irregular workers earned 44.8 percent of what regular workers earned every month in 2017. The gap has widened over the last decade, from 48.6 percent in 2007.
While both groups enjoyed a wage increase over the last 10 years, the wage for regular workers grew at a much faster rate, widening the gap.
Irregular workers who earned 1.18 million won per month in 2007 saw their wage jump to 1.5 million in 2017.
In the meantime, the monthly wage for regular workers grew from 2.43 million to 3.36 million on average, up 38.1 percent, driving the gap to 1.85 million won last year.
When broken down in detail, the hourly wage among irregular workers grew faster than regular workers, with the former having enjoyed a 73.2 percent wage increase while the latter enjoyed a 41.2 percent jump.
However, the working hours for irregular workers were cut significantly, with irregular workers working 46.3 fewer hours per month compared to 10 years ago.
The working hours of regular workers dropped by just over 10 hours over the same period.
“In addition to working hours, bonuses and incentives seem to also have contributed to the growing wage gap,” said Sung Tae-yoon, a professor of economics at Yonsei University.
One government official, however, says the two groups are not comparable.
“The difference in working hours between regular and irregular workers is significant. Irregular workers often work short shifts, which means lower wages. It’s not fair to compare them to regular workers in absolute terms,” the official said.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)