Wage Gap Shrinks Between High-School, University Graduates

The gap between the average starting salary of university graduates and high-school graduates is dwindling. University graduates earn on average W2.55 million (US$1=W1,091) a month and high school graduates W1.88 million, the Korea Employers Federation said on Sunday based on a survey of 542 businesses with more than 100 staff.

High-school graduates with office jobs earn W1.88 million a month on average, while those working in factories make W2.08 million, according to the survey. In 2008, high-school graduates made only 78.6 percent of the wage of university grads, but that rose to 81.6 percent this year.

Overall the highest salaries are paid by major business groups with more than 1,000 staff, where the monthly paycheck averaged W2.87 million. Small and mid-sized companies with 100-299 workers pay W2.24 million, companies with 300-499 workers W2.46 million, and those with 500-999 workers W2.58 million.

The finance and insurance industries pay the highest salaries of W3.06 million, followed by transport and storage with W2.60 million, manufacturing with W2.57 million, and wholesale/retail with W2.54 million.

The federation said the average salary increase at companies that have finalized wage negotiations with their trade unions stands at 5.1 percent, down 0.3 percentage points from last year. The average wage increase in major business conglomerates is 5.4 percent and in small and mid-sized companies 5 percent.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 19, 2012 10:30 KST