Doctors Earn Almost 5 Times More Than Ordinary Workers

  • By Lee Ki-hun

    March 15, 2018 11:58

    Doctors in Korea make an average of W13 million a month, 4.6 times the income of ordinary workers (US$1=W1,065).

    The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Wednesday that the average monthly salary of doctors rose 5.3 percent a year from W10.07 million in 2011 to W13.05 million in 2016. That is W157 million a year.

    The figure was calculated by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute based on income statements reported to the National Health Insurance Corporation.

    The best-paid doctors worked in small and mid-sized hospitals with fewer than 100 beds, which are often exclusive and aimed at the rich, earning W19.96 million a month.

    But doctors in large general hospitals earned only W8.67 million on average a month, or W9.19 million if the hospitals were very big with more than 500 beds. The lower average comes from the large number of junior interns employed there.

    By comparison, the average monthly salary of workers stood at just W2.81 million as of 2016, so doctors make 4.6 times more.

    Overall in the OECD the gap is much smaller. Doctors earn 1.6 times the median wage in the U.K., 2.6 times in Chile and Mexico, 1.5 times in Poland and 4.3 times in exclusive little Luxemburg.

    However, doctors in Korea also work longer hours than ordinary workers. According to the Research Institute for Healthcare Policy, doctors worked an average of 2,408 hours a year in 2016, 16 percent more than ordinary workers.

    Only 18.2 percent of doctors worked five days a week, while 66.5 percent worked six days a week and 15.3 percent every day. This has led to complaints among doctors here that their hours are excessive compared to advanced nations.

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