Big Korean Firms Pay Better Than American, Japanese

  • By Lee Ki-hun

    November 28, 2018 12:45

    Korea's major conglomerates pay their staff considerably more than their more productive counterparts in the U.S., Japan and France.

    Noh Min-sun, a researcher at the Korea Small Business Institute, presented the findings at a forum in Seoul on Tuesday. Noh found that Korean companies with 500 or more staff pay an average monthly salary of $6,097, considerably higher than their counterparts in the U.S. ($4,735), Japan ($4,079) and France ($5,238) based on purchasing power parity.

    The average worker in a Korean conglomerate earns twice the country's per capita GDP, while a similar worker in a big U.S. company gets only 1.01 times per capita GDP.

    Noh also found that the wage gap between conglomerates and small and medium companies in Korea is substantially wider than in advanced economies.

    For every W100 earned by a staffer in a Korean conglomerate, a worker in a small-to-mid-sized company with less than 100 workers earns just W57. Workers in small Korean companies with up to five employees earn just 33 percent of what their counterparts in a conglomerate make, far less than in the U.S. (79 percent), Japan (65 percent) and France (59 percent).

    Participants at the forum blamed the subcontracting structure of Korean conglomerates, where smaller firms are squeezed by their big customers, and the low productivity of SMEs.

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