Wage gap between large and smaller enterprises widens amid overall rise in annual pay

The average annual wage for Korean workers went up in 2015. But, a closer look reveals employees in corporations earned more than their counterparts in small and mid-sized firms. For more on the numbers, Lee Min-young reports.

A report released by the Federation of Korean Industries on Wednesday says the average annual wage of Korean workers in 2015 saw a 1.5 increase compared to the previous year, but the already large wage disparity between large conglomerates and smaller companies have widened. Experts say that the widened wage gap between workers in large and mid-sized companies is partly due to the strong negotiating power of labor unions in large firms.

“Labor unions and employers normally negotiate on ordinary wages and last year, the range of this ordinary wage expanded by law, enabling unions in large companies to have relatively stronger bargaining power in terms of salary, as opposed to employees at smaller firms.”

Unionized workers at Korea’s leading conglomerates such as Hyundai Motor have been going on partial strikes recently, and some say this may hurt workers of smaller companies, let alone the economy.

“Labor unions in conglomerates that wage strikes demanding a pay raise can rather hurt subcontractors, mainly small and medium-sized companies as they have to halt production lines.”

According to the report, large companies paid 4.2 percent more in 2015 than a year before, while small and medium-sized firms raised their employees’ salaries by only about one percent. The data also shows that the average annual salary of regular workers in large companies stood at about 57,000 U.S. dollars while workers in small and medium sized companies earned 29,000 dollar a year in average.

This means the annual salary of regular workers in large enterprises falls within the top ten percent of income level while earnings of employees in smaller enterprises are placed within the top 35 percent.




2015년 한국 근로자들의 평균 연봉이 인상되었습니다. 하지만 가까이 살펴보면 대기업 근로자들이 중소기업 근로자들보다 더 많은 급여를 받고 있다는 사실을 알 수 있습니다. 이에 대해 이민영 기자가 보도합니다.

전국경제인연합회 보고서에 따르면 2015년도 한국 근로자의 평균 연봉은 전년대비 약 1.5 배 상승했지만 이미 커질 대로 커진 대기업과 중소기업의 임금 격차는 더욱 커졌습니다. 전문가들은 대기업과 중소기업의 임금 격차는 대기업 노조의 강력한 협상력 이 원인의 한 부분이라고 말하고 있습니다.

“노조와 기업은 주로 통상임금에 대해 협상합니다. 지난해 통상임금 범위가 법적으로 확대됨에 따라 대기업 노조는 중소기업의 근로자들과 달리 임금 부분에 있어 비교적 더 강력한 협상 능력을 갖추게 되었습니다.”

최근 현대 자동차와 같은 대기업 노조는 일부 파업에 들어갔습니다. 일각에서는 경제는 고사하고 중소기업의 근로자들에게만 피해가 갈 것이라고 말했습니다.

“임금인상을 요구하는 대기업 노조로 인해 생산라인이 멈추기 때문에 주로 중소기업의 하청업체들에게만 피해가 발생합니다.”

보고서에 따르면 대기업은 전년대비 2015년도 연봉을 4.2% 인상한 반면 중소기업은 겨우 1% 인상했습니다. 자료에 따르면 대기업정규직 평균 연봉은 57,000 달러인 반면 중소기업 정규직은 29,000 달러에 불과합니다.

이는 대기업 정규직 연봉은 소득수준 상위 10%범위에 들어가는 반면에 중소기업 종사자의 연봉은 상위 35%에 정도에 위치한다는 것을 의미합니다.

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