The Korea Herald


South Koreans work more, earn less: OECD report

By 김다솔

Published : Aug. 16, 2016 - 10:00

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[THE INVESTOR] South Koreans worked the second most hours, but earned less than average compared to other countries last year, an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report showed Monday.

Out of the 35 OECD member countries, a South Korean laborer worked 2,113 hours on average last year, 347 hours more than the OECD average of 1,766 hours. This amounted to 43 extra working days, considering eight working hours per day based on the law here.

According to prices and purchasing power parities, despite long working hours, South Koreans earned an average of $33,110 for the year, just 80 percent of the OECD average of $41,253.

By hourly wage, workers here made $15.67 per hour, whereas the OCED average was $23.36.

In contrast, an average employee in Japan worked 394 fewer hours than the average South Korean, but made $2,670 more last year.

This pattern was also found in comparison to Germany.

An average worker in Germany worked 1,371 hours last year and earned $32.77 per hour. They worked about four months less, but made more than double the hourly wage.

Americans worked 1,790 hours and earned an average of $32.80 in hourly wage. They worked 1.8 months less and made almost double the hourly wage in South Korea.

Researchers such as at the Korea Economic Research Institute have pointed out that South Korea’s extensive working hours eventually lead to low productivity and therefore low pay.

By country, people in Luxembourg earned the most last year at $60,389, followed by the U.S ($58,714), Switzerland ($58,389), the Netherlands ($50,670), Australia ($50,167) and Denmark ($50,024).

By hourly wage, Luxembourg topped the list at $40.06 per hour, followed by Switzerland ($36.73), Norway ($35.75) and the Netherlands ($35.71).

Meanwhile, Mexico was bottom with the longest working hours at 2,246 hours. An average Mexican earned around $14,867 last year.

Hungary ($19,999), Estonia ($21,564), the Czech Republic ($21,689) and Slovakia ($22,031) were above Mexico, the OECD report showed.

By Kim Da-sol/ The Korea Herald (