The Korea Herald


South Koreans work second-longest hours in OECD for below average pay

South Koreans continue to overwork

By Bak Se-hwan

Published : Aug. 16, 2017 - 15:23

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South Korean office workers cross a road in rainy Seoul. (photo credit: Yonhap) South Korean office workers cross a road in rainy Seoul. (photo credit: Yonhap)

South Koreans work the second-longest hours among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for wages below the average of 35 nations, data showed Wednesday.

According to the annual OECD Employment Outlook 2017, employees here worked an average of 2,069 hours last year, compared to the OECD average of 1,764 hours. The figure includes part-time workers and those who work for part of the year, as well as full-time employees.

Mexicans worked the most, with average working hours of 2,255 last year, the data showed.

Meanwhile, Japan (1,713 hours), the United States (1,783 hours), Italy (1,730 hours) and the United Kingdom (1,676) hovered around the OECD average.

Despite the long working hours, South Korean workers’ real wage, adjusted for inflation, was just about 75 percent of the OECD average. The country’s average real wage, adjusted for inflation, came in at $32,399, compared to the OECD’s $42,786.

In addition, the real income per hour here was $15.70, or two-thirds of the OECD’s average of $24.30.

Workers in Germany had the shortest working hours at 1363 hours, which was 706 hours less than Koreans. However, they earned an hourly real wage of $34, more than twice the Korean average.

Luxembourg had the highest real wage per hour on average at $41.4.

By Bak Se-hwan (