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Does South Korea have good pay?


South Korea is a country that has been receiving global attention in recent years due to its impressive economic growth and technological advancements. Many people are interested in working or studying in the country, but one of the questions that come to mind is whether or not South Korea has good pay. In this article, we will explore this topic and provide a comprehensive answer to this question.

The minimum wage in South Korea

In South Korea, there is a minimum wage that employers must pay their workers. As of 2021, the minimum wage is 8,720 won per hour, which is equivalent to around $7.50 USD. This is relatively high compared to other countries in Asia, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, where the minimum wage is much lower. However, some argue that the minimum wage in South Korea is not sufficient for workers to live comfortably.

Salaries for specific industries

Salaries in South Korea vary depending on the industry and job position. For example, workers in the tech sector tend to earn higher salaries than those in the service industry. According to data from Payscale, the average salary for a software engineer in South Korea is around 45 million won per year ($38,500 USD), while a customer service representative earns an average of 21 million won per year ($18,000 USD).

Gender pay gap

Like many other countries, South Korea has a gender pay gap, where women earn less than men for doing the same job. According to data from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, women earn around 63% of what men earn on average. This issue has been a topic of debate and concern in recent years, with many advocating for equal pay for equal work.

Working hours and overtime pay

In South Korea, the standard working hours are 40 hours per week, and any additional hours are considered overtime. Employers are required to pay their workers 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for overtime work. However, some employees may be expected to work longer hours without overtime pay, which has been a contentious issue in the country.

Cost of living

When discussing whether or not South Korea has good pay, it is essential to consider the cost of living in the country. While salaries may be relatively high, the cost of living in cities like Seoul can be expensive. Housing, transportation, and food costs are all factors that need to be taken into account when evaluating pay in South Korea.

Benefits and perks

Many employers in South Korea offer benefits and perks to their employees, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. These benefits can add significant value to an employee’s overall compensation package and should be considered when evaluating pay in South Korea.

Job security

Job security is another factor that needs to be considered when evaluating pay in South Korea. In recent years, there have been concerns about job stability due to economic uncertainties and the rise of part-time and contract work. However, many companies offer long-term employment contracts that provide job stability and security.


Taxes also play a role in determining how much money workers take home each month in South Korea. The income tax rate varies depending on income level, with higher earners paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes.

Foreign workers

Foreign workers in South Korea may face different pay rates and working conditions than local workers. Depending on the type of visa they hold, foreign workers may be subject to different labor laws and regulations.


Overall, whether or not South Korea has good pay depends on a variety of factors, including industry, job position, cost of living, benefits, and job security. While the minimum wage is relatively high compared to other countries in Asia, there are still concerns about gender pay gaps and the prevalence of part-time and contract work. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to evaluate their own situation and determine whether or not the pay in South Korea is sufficient for their needs.

Is $100 dollars a lot in South Korea?

Based on my personal experience in Itaewon, US$100 a day is sufficient but it may be more expensive than other areas in Seoul and bargaining may be necessary.

How much does Korea pay hourly?

The minimum wage in South Korea was raised to 9620 KRW per hour, equivalent to 1174.329 USD per month, in 2023. The range for minimum wage rates for employees ranged from 8720 KRW per hour to a minimum of 600 KRW per hour.

How much is rent in Korea?

As of February 2021, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seoul, South Korea was approximately 510,000 South Korean won, which was an increase compared to the previous month when it was around 480,000 South Korean won.

How much is a house in Korea?

As of January 2023, the average cost of buying a home in Seoul, South Korea was approximately 912 million South Korean won. The typical price for an apartment was approximately 1.27 billion South Korean won, while detached and row houses cost around 962.7 million and 347 million South Korean won, respectively.

Is it cheap to live in South Korea?

The cost of living in South Korea is affordable on average, although it is not as inexpensive as some other Asian countries such as Laos or China. It is also not as costly as places like Japan or Singapore. Typically, the highest living expenses can be found in the capital city, Seoul.

Is it hard to live in Korea as a foreigner?

If you make the necessary preparations before arriving, relocating to South Korea is generally straightforward. Despite a history of reservations towards foreign migrants, the country has become more welcoming as it opens its borders to international companies.

Job market

The job market in South Korea is highly competitive, with many qualified candidates vying for limited job openings. Some industries, such as tech and finance, are more competitive than others, which can impact salaries and job opportunities. Additionally, speaking Korean fluently is often a requirement for many jobs, especially those that involve working with local clients or customers.

Education and qualifications

Education and qualifications are essential factors that determine pay in South Korea. Higher education degrees, such as master’s or doctorate degrees, can lead to higher-paying jobs in certain fields. Additionally, having specialized skills or certifications can also increase an individual’s earning potential.

Cultural differences

Cultural differences can also play a role in pay in South Korea. In some industries, such as finance and law, there is a strong emphasis on seniority and hierarchy, which can impact pay and job opportunities. Additionally, networking and building strong relationships with colleagues and clients are critical for success in many industries.


In conclusion, while there are many factors to consider when evaluating pay in South Korea, it is worth noting that the country has made significant strides in recent years towards improving working conditions and employee rights. However, there are still challenges to overcome in terms of gender pay gaps, job stability, and the prevalence of part-time work. Ultimately, whether or not South Korea has good pay depends on individual circumstances and priorities, including industry, job position, qualifications, education level, cost of living, and cultural differences.

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