S. Korean women lag far behind men in wages

May 19, 2015
In this Nov.  25. 2014, FuturePlay CEO Ryu Jung-hee, center right, and marketing director Steven Baek, center left, take part in a meeting with employees at their office in Maru180 at the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Employees at their office in Maru180 at the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEJONG, May 19 (Yonhap) — South Korean female workers lagged far behind their male counterparts in wages in 2013, government data showed Tuesday, highlighting a deep gender gap in the country’s workforce.

The average salary of a female worker reached 21 million won ($19,166) in 2013, just 57.5 percent of what a male counterpart took home, according to the data by the National Tax Service.

The amount represents a 21.4 percent jump from 2009, but it trails the 22.3 percent increase for men over the same period. The average salary of a male worker stood at 30 million (US$27,386) in 2009 before rising to 37 million (US$33,776) in 2013.

Among female workers, those in the financial and insurance sectors were paid the highest with an average of 42 million won (US$39,255), with people employed in public utilities, such as electricity and gas, getting 38 million (US$34,689). Those hired in the real-estate sector got paid 31 million won (US$28,293) per year.

By age, women in their 30s and 40s had an average salary of 25 million won (US$22,821) and 24 million won (US$21,907), each, while those under 20 got 17 million (US$15,517).

The NTS said there were 40,609 women who earned more than 100 million won (US$91,267) in 2013, or just 0.6 percent of the total female workforce.

By industry, women made up 19.8 percent of all workers in manufacturing, followed by 18.9 percent in the personnel service sector and 10.7 percent of health care.

Overall, women made up 39.3 percent of the workforce that stood at 16.35 million in 2013, up from 36.6 percent in 2009.

The data also showed women set up 434,000 new businesses in 2013, with those related to real estate making up 24.4 percent of the total.

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