Lawmakers Are Korea's Highest-Paid Professionals

  • By Kwak Chang-yeol

    April 08, 2019 13:06

    Korea's highest wage-earners are not lawyers or bankers but lawmakers, who made W140 million last year (US$1=W1,139).

    The lowest-paying profession, as ever, is poet, with practitioners taking an average of just W10 million a year to their garrets. 

    The figures come from a report released by the Korea Employment Information Service on Friday that studied 18,972 workers in 618 different professions.

    Plastic surgeons were the second highest-paid professionals with an average of W138 million a year, followed by corporate executives (W130 million), dermatologists and port pilots (W120 million), university presidents (W110 million), and doctors in some other specializations and airline pilots (W100 million). 

    Until a decade ago, port pilots were the only profession to top W100 million in annual earnings as it requires delicate skill and enormous responsibility to guide massive ships in and out of harbors.

    Doctors of one kind or another still accounted for 14 of the top 20 highest-paying jobs, but lawyers, who used to make the most money, fell to 21st place (W88.5 million), even lower than judges (W95 million).

    The reason is that lawyer numbers have mushroomed since Korea adopted a modern system of law schools in 2009.

    Song lyricists were also poorly paid at (W11 million), as were after-school tutors and extras in movies and TV dramas (W15 million), novelists (W15.5 million) and fast-food restaurant staff (W16.5 million). 

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