SEOUL, March 2 (Korea Bizwire) – The wage gap between South Korea’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and conglomerates expanded on-year in 2015, data showed Tuesday, reflecting the growing imbalance in compensation among salaried workers.
According to the data compiled by the Ministry of Employment and Labor and Statistics Korea, employees at smaller companies only made 62 percent of the wages of their counterparts at big business groups, marking the lowest level since the data was first compiled in 2008.
Workers at companies with more than 300 employees raked in 5.01 million won (US$4,057) on average a month in 2015, up 3.9 percent on-year. Firms with between five and 299 workers only paid 3.11 million won a month to their workers, up 3.4 percent over the cited period.
“Before 1997, workers at small and medium firms made around 80 percent of what their peers working for conglomerates made. But this has fallen to around 60 percent now,” a researcher at the Korea Small Business Institute said. “Smaller firms are more vulnerable to changes in the managerial environment and downturns in the economy.”
Industry watchers said conglomerates should seek shared growth with smaller firms to reduce the wage gap.