April 15, 2021 12:36
Over 40 percent of bankers in Korea make six-figure salaries or more than W100 million (US$1=W1,115). That is even more than in brokerages and insurance companies.
According to data from the Korea Institute of Finance on Wednesday, 31.7 percent out of 270,452 employees at banks, brokerages and insurance companies made more than W100 million last year. Around half or 122,004 worked in banks, where 42.9 percent made six-figure incomes last year, up 7.8 percentage points from 2019.
The proportion was 37.1 percent in brokerages, which amassed record profits last year due to a stock market boom, up 4.3 percentage points, and 19.2 percent in insurance companies, up 1.6 percentage points. Some 10.8 percent of bankers made more than W150 million.
The salary explosion is inexplicable. One financial industry insider said, "Banks' earnings did not improve last year due to the coronavirus epidemic, but the number of highly paid workers increased, which is a problem."
In fact, banks' earnings deteriorated as they had to set aside reserves to cushion against potential loan delinquencies when interest rates rise in the post-epidemic era. KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Hana and Woori banks' combined net profit fell 7.7 percent to W7.79 trillion.
Meanwhile, the gender pay gap remained vast in the financial sector, where 42.3 percent of male workers but only 19.6 percent of female employees made more than W100 million a year.
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