The Korea Exchange is to regain the top spot among state-run companies in terms of the highest average salary. According to government data released on Monday, the stock exchange is paying W114.5 million on average per employee this year (US$1=W1,114).
The average salaries of other state-run financial enterprises are all around W100 million.
KRX was the highest-paying state-run financial enterprise until it was unseated by KDB Financial Group in October of 2009, but the group was removed from the list of public agencies in January ahead of privatization, so KRX is at the top again.
The average salary at KDB was around W120 million last year compared to KRX's W109 million. Third was Korea Securities Depository (W98.95 million) followed by Korea Securities Computing Corporation (W94 million) and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (W93.64 million).
There is criticism that staff at state-run financial companies are overpaid. By comparison, the average annual salary at the 268 state-run companies that report data to the government stands at W58.87 million.
But these companies justify their high wages saying they shoulder heavy responsibilities since they deal with money, and add that the average annual salary only seems big but in fact reflects the fact that they hire fewer new staff compared to the number of veteran workers.
One human resources officer at a state-run financial company admitted that wages are high. "Salaries have been set higher since we had to match the wages of the private financial sector," he said.
Excluding financial companies, public enterprises that employ a large number of PhD holders also tend to have higher annual salaries. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology ranked sixth with W89.01 million, followed by the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology with W86.69 million.