Reply To: Average Salary and Tax Structure in Korea for Expats

Home Forums Average Salary and Tax Structure in Korea for Expats Reply To: Average Salary and Tax Structure in Korea for Expats


Average Salary in Korea

As per the labor statistics published by Ministry of Employment and Labor, the average annual salary per worker is around 2.878 million won per month (2012). With current exchange rate at 1060 won per dollar it comes to around $2700/month approximately. (Thanks Andy for providing this info).

Ministry of Employment and Labor specializes in labor statistics alone, and they get the most recent and accurate wage data by surveying “Enterprises” not “each individual”. This data is then provided by the Government of Korea provides to International Labour Organization (ILO) for research about international wage comparison.

For more details you can visit Ministry of Employment and Labor website.

As per the article published in The Chosunilbo, the average wage of workers in Ulsan, where many giant enterprises are based, was 31.51 million KRW, the highest figure nationwide, whereas Incheon, the lowest, was merely 21 million KRW. A survey on Average Monthly Wage in various Korean Cities by the Ministry of Employment and Labor shows that workers in Seoul, Ulsan and South Jeolla Province are paid more than their counterparts in other regions. People who work in Seoul received an average of W2.921 million a month, followed by W2.822 million in Ulsan, and W2.557 million in South Jeolla Province.

The high-paying industries such as finance, insurance and professional services are concentrated in Seoul, while Ulsan is home to large heavy industries such as automobiles and shipbuilding, as well as their sub-contractors. Many large-scale chemical manufacturers are based in South Jeolla Province.

Meanwhile, employees in Jeju, Daegu and Gwangju earned less than 90 percent of the national average. The median income stood at W3.5 million a month for a household of two or more members. A total of 13,000 firms with at least five full-time employees as of April this year were included in the survey (2007 data).

In the article The cost of Gangnam Sytle Education says that three out of ten households in Gangnam-gu earn an average of five million won ($4,730) per month or more as per the study conducted by the local government in 2011. It was found that 27.5% of Gangnam households earn an average of five million won per month or more. 19.3% earn three to four million won, 18% earn two to three million won, and 17.6% earn four to five million won. 10.7% earn one to two million won, and 6.9% earn less than one million won.

Expats on an average are offered around 2.5 million KRW per month before deduction of taxes.

Tax Deductions from your Korean Salary

Pension (국민연금)

4.5% of your salary

Health (or Medical) Insurance (건강보험)

2.665% of your salary

Income Tax (소득세)

Under 12 Million Won – 6%

Under 46 Million Won – 15%

Under 88 Million Won – 24%

Over 88 Million Won – 33%

Residence Tax (주민세)

10% of your Income Tax

Sample Salary Structure in Korea

Pre Tax Salary (Annual)

30,000,000 KRW

National Pension

1,350.000 KRW

Medical or Health Insurance

799,500 KRW

Income Tax

1,081,970 KRW

Resident Tax

108,197 KRW

Annual Income After Deductions

26,660,333 KRW

Monthly Take Home

2,221,695 KRW

  • The Korean fiscal year runs from 1 January to 31 December
  • When you finish a one-year contract, you receive an extra month’s regular salary as Severance Pay.
  • Your air ticket fare for your arrival gets added to your first months salary and your air ticket fare for your departure is paid to you at the end of your contract or is added to your salary in equated monthly installments.
  • Rent free housing is provided. Paying for Maintenance and Utilities is your responsibility.
  • Additional allowance offered by some Korean companies could be meal allowance, automobile allowance, education expense (for learning Korean Language or for the education of your kids).

This is just a general idea of what the deductions could be and how much you will get in hand at the end of the month. But for exact details about your salary and monthly take home you need to get in touch with your HR or Consultant for your Korean Company and ask them to provide a detailed break up of your salary along with a dummy paycheck with all the details listed about the expect monthly deductions.

Our case studies

Featured case studies