The average annual salary of executives in the nation's major conglomerates is more than W1 billion (US$1=W1,041), 14 times higher than the wages regular employees earn.
Conglomerate tracker Chaebul.com reviewed the average salaries of 290 director-level staff in 93 listed companies owned by the top 10 conglomerates and compared them to the average salaries of ordinary staff.
Samsung Group had the biggest gap in wages, where last year the average annual executive salary was W1.68 billion, 19.3 times more than the average employee's wage of W86.8 million.
Next was SK Group, where executives made on average W1.27 billion, or 19.2 times more than regular workers' W66 million. At Lotte Group, executives made W587.5 million a year, 15.4 times more than regular workers' W38 million.
At Hyundai Heavy Industries, executives earned W1.08 billion, 15 times more than regular staff, and at LG Group W804 million, 13 times more.
The gap was 12.2 times at Hyundai Motor, 12.1 times at Hanwha Group and 10.9 times at Doosan Group. GS Group had the smallest gap with 8.9 times.
Overseas, the gap is even greater. According to PayScale, which compares salaries in the U.S., executives at Exxon Mobil, ranked No. 1 by Fortune magazine, made 121 times more than ordinary employees, while the difference was a staggering 1,034 times at Wal-Mart, 105 times at GE and 304 times at Ford.