MINIMUM AND AVERAGE SALARY IN SOUTH KOREA

The Republic of Korea (unofficially – South Korea) has a high-tech industrial economy that has been showing incredible growth for several decades. While half a century ago the dynamics of the country's development did not differ much from the poor regions of Africa and Asia, today the South Korean state is on the list of world economic leaders. This has provided Korean citizens with a high standard of living and decent salaries.

Work in South Korea is in high demand from foreigners from all over the world and one of the main incentives for moving is the pay. The local authorities promote the inflow of skilled labour and entrepreneurs investing in Korean business. Next, let's find out what is the minimum and average salary in South Korea in 2024.

Salary in South Korea

Minimum wage in South Korea

According to official Korean government data, the national minimum wage in South Korea in 2024 is 9,860 won per hour, equivalent to 7 American dollars. Assuming full-time employment, the average Korean worker should receive at least 2,060,740 won (about $1,495) monthly. Compared to 2023, the minimum wage in South Korea increased by 2.5% and inflation was 3.6%. That is, the purchasing power of local residents has decreased.

In general, over the past 5 years, the monthly minimum wage in South Korea has increased by an average of $600. At the same time, the government planned to increase the rate to 10,000 won per hour by 2020. Such an initiative was aimed at increasing household spending and reducing the country's export dependence. By the way, according to experts at the Korea Labour Institute, about 12% of workers in South Korea are paid the minimum wage.

Important. Under Article 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, every citizen has the right to work. The country must make efforts to increase the employment of its workers and to ensure that they receive proper wages in a socio-economic manner, and implement the minimum wage system stipulated by law.

Average salary in South Korea

According to the Korean Institute of Economic Research and statistics of the local Ministry of Employment and Labour, the average salary in South Korea in 2024 is 50,973,180 won per year, which in terms of American currency is equal to $36,920. Thus, Koreans earn an average of 4,247,765 won or $3,075 every month. Even compared to some EU countries, labour remuneration in South Korea is very high.

SALARY IN SOUTH KOREA BY ECONOMIC SECTOR

Economic sector Won per month Dollars per month
Health care 5,800,000 4,210
Real Estate 4,280,000 3,105
Banking 4,250,000 3,085
Education 4,070,000 2,955
Public relations 3,840,000 2,790
Architecture 3,800,000 2,760
Human resources 3,740,000 2,715
Engineering 3,300,000 2,395
Manufacturing 2,710,000 1,965
Construction 2,410,000 1,750

The Republic of Korea is ahead of such developed countries as Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal and many others in terms of wages. If you look at the neighbouring states in the region, the average salary in China today is about $1,385 a month, and in Japan $2,000. Permanent employees of large Korean corporations earn on average 65,210,000 won per year ($47,235), while employees of smaller companies earn about 34,930,000 won ($25,300).

SALARY IN SOUTH KOREA BY OCCUPATION

Occupation Won per year Dollars per year
Dentist 128,752,000 107,500
Senior Manager 120,739,000 100,810
Programmer 87,227,800 72,830
Pilot 63,339,900 52,885
Auditor 54,890,200 45,830
Engineer 49,680,200 41,480
Architect 47,213,000 39,420
Chef 45,123,000 37,675
Police officer 43,560,000 36,370
Travel agent 43,536,100 36,350
Teacher 40,745,400 34,020
Accountant 37,930,900 31,670
Waiter 32,595,200 27,215
Cashier 31,421,400 26,235

It is difficult to determine the exact size of Korean salaries. For example, according to the authoritative analytical publication numbeo, after taxes, the average salary in South Korea in 2024 is 3,288,788 won per month ($2,380). Much depends on profession, experience, specific company and region. Let's say that working in Seoul brings a higher income than the country as a whole. Some qualified professionals, including foreigners, earn in the capital of South Korea from $3,000 per month and more.

SALARY IN SOUTH KOREA BY CITY

City Won per month Dollars per month
Seoul 4,380,000 3,180
Busan 4,300,000 3,120
Incheon 4,230,000 3,070
Daegu 4,150,000 3,015
Daejeon 4,070,000 2,955
Gwangju 4,000,000 2,905
Suwon 3,920,000 2,845
Goyang 3,770,000 2,735
Seongnam 3,690,000 2,680
Bucheon 3,620,000 2,630

HIGHLY PAID OCCUPATIONS IN SOUTH KOREA

    • Corporate executives

    • Information technology professionals

    • Financial services professionals

    • Physicians

    • Lawyers and legal experts

    • University professors

    • Aerospace engineers

    • Shipbuilding engineers

    • Construction project managers

    • Celebrities in entertainment and sports

INCOME TAX IN SOUTH KOREA IN 2024

Annual taxable income (million won) Base tax (million won) Tax rate (%)
0 12 million 6%
12 million 46 million 0.72 million 15%
46 million 88 million 5.82 million 24%
88 million 150 million 15.9 million 35%
150 million 300 million 37.6 million 38%
300 million 500 million 94.6 million 40%
500 million 1,000 million 174.6 million 42%
More than 1,000 million 384.6 million 45%

Cost of living in South Korea

Compared to most Asian countries, the cost of living in South Korea is quite expensive. This includes housing, food, clothing and public transport. To give you an example, it is cheaper to live here than in Japan, but more expensive than in China. The most expensive cities are Seoul and Incheon.

Basic costs in South Korea:

  • Rent: $450-600 per month for a one-bedroom flat in the centre.

  • Utility bills: $150-200 per month.

  • Food: $200-250 per month per person.

  • Transport: $40-50 per month by public transport or 100-150 euros per month by car.

  • Internet/mobile phone: $60-70 per month.

  • Clothing and leisure activities: $400-500 per month.

In conclusion, after taxes, the average salary in South Korea is 3,485,000 won per month ($2,530).

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