Staggering Gender Pay Gap among South Korean Labor Workforce Persists

A new analysis entitled “Female Economic Activity” by the Office of National Tax Administration reveals that the staggering gender pay gap among the South Korean labor workforce persists.

For the report, which was released on May 19, the Office of National Tax Administration looked at statistics from 2013. There were 6,430,000 female labor workers in 2013, making up 39.3 percent of the labor workforce in 2013. This marks a 2.7 percent increase in female representation since 2009.

The average salary of a female labor worker also increased from 2009 to 2013, from 17 million won (about 15,600 USD) a year to 21 million won (about 19,264 USD) for a 21.4 percent increase.

However, the gender wage gap remained constant, with female labor workers continuing to make only 57.5 percent of their male counterparts, who took home on average 37 million won (about 33, 949 USD) in 2013.

The greatest percentage of female laborers (19.8 percent) worked in manufacturing, with the human services industry following in close second with 18.9 percent. A good percentage worked in health services (10.7 percent) and real estate (9.1 percent) as well.

A total of 40,609 women, so 0.6 percent of all female laborers, made more than 100 million won (about 91,756 USD) a year. By sector, those working in finance and insurance made the most, on average 42 million won (about 38,535 USD) a year, followed by the utilities (38 million won/34,867 USD) and real estate (31 million won/28,439 USD) sectors. Women in the food and hospitality sectors earned on average 11 million won (10,092 USD) and 16 million won (14, 678 USD) respectively, significantly less than the overall salary average.

An analysis by age reveals that women in their thirties earned the most, taking home 25 million won (about 22,935 USD) a year as compared to an average of 24 million won (about 22,017 USD) for women in their forties. 20-year-olds came in third with an average salary of 17 million won (about 15,600 USD), while women in their sixties came in last with 11 million won (about 10,092 USD).

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