The Korea Herald


Top 0.1% of Korea's employees averaged 685m won each in yearly bonuses: report

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : March 3, 2024 - 18:22

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People commute to work at Gwanghwamun in central Seoul on Feb. 13. (Yonhap) People commute to work at Gwanghwamun in central Seoul on Feb. 13. (Yonhap)

Of all the South Korean employees who reported having received bonuses from their companies in 2022, individuals in the top 0.1 percent got an average of 685.26 million won ($513,000) each, a National Tax Service report showed Saturday.

According to a report made public by Rep. Yang Gyeong-suk of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, 9.79 million South Korean workers reported receiving bonuses, with the median figure among them being 4.34 million won.

While the median figure marked an increase of 7.1 percent compared to 4.05 million won in 2020, the average bonus earned by the top 0.1 percent jumped 24.9 percent during the same period, from 548.85 million won in 2020.

To put this amount in perspective, the average bonus of the 0.1 percent was 135.5 times the median figure in 2020, but was 157.9 times the median in 2022.

While top 20 percent of all bonus earners made an average of 39.27 million won in 2022, the bottom 20 percent got an average of just 370,000 won each.

"We can clearly see the polarization in bonuses, just like we have for wages," Rep. Yang said.

Those in the top 0.1 percent accounted for 6.2 percent of the amount in yearly bonuses received by all South Korean employees.

Those in the top 1 percent, who earned an average of 171.18 million won in bonuses each, accounted for 15.4 percent, and those in the top 10 percent, who made 57.86 million won in bonuses, accounted for 52 percent of all bonuses in 2022.

Last year's report by the NTS showed that top 20 percent of wage workers in the country made an average of 98.98 million won per year in salary in 2021, compared to the 6.54 million won in annual salary of the bottom 20 percent. On average, South Koreans made 40.2 million won in salary a year.