Recent reports by Korea’s National Tax Service showed that there are extremely large income gaps in the entertainment industry.
According to the reports, the number of people who paid taxes as actors last year was 15,870. The average pretax income of these actors that year was 42 million won (approximately $37,100).
However, a closer look at the data revealed that the income gap between the highest and lowest-paid actors was significant.
158 of the highest-paid actors, the top 1 percent, earned an annual average of more than 2 billion won (approximately $1.8 million). This means that the top 1 percent accounted for 47.3 percent of the whole income.
The top 10 percent which consisted of 1,587 actors, accounted for 86.8 percent of the whole income with an average salary of 367 million won (approximately $324,700). The remaining 90 percent of the actors earned an average of 6.2 million won (approximately $5,500), meaning that their average monthly income was 520,000 won (approximately $500).
The average monthly income of the top 1 percent was therefore 324 times that of the lower 90 percent.
The same problem was seen in cases of singers and models. Of the 4,667 people who declared their taxes as singers, the top 1 percent earned an average of more than 4.2 billion won (approximately $3.8 million) per year. On the other hand, the lower 90 percent’s average salary was 8.7 million won (approximately $7,700).
The top 1 percent of models’ income accounted for 48 percent of the total income. While they made an average of 544 million won (approximately $481,100) per year, the lower 90 percent only earned 2.7 million won (approximately $2,400).