Gender pay gap the worst in OECD for 27th straight year

The country has the worst gender pay gap among the 38 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) according to 2022 data, an OECD estimate has shown.

This marked the 27th straight year that Asia’s fourth-largest economy recorded the most severe gender pay gap among member states.

The data showed South Korea’s female workers were paid 31.2% less than their male counterparts in 2022, or 68.8%, on average.

The disparity is higher than any other OECD country and more than double the OECD average of 12.1%. Japan’s gender pay gap stood at 21.3% and the US’ was 17%.

Historically, women working in South Korea have never earned on average more than 68.9% of what male workers earn.

The data showed that over the past three years until 2022, South Korea has lost any momentum it had to bridge the gender pay gap. The gap was 31.5% in 2020, falling slightly to 31.1% in 2021 and increasing again in 2022.

In 1992, women working in South Korea earned almost half of what men earned, as the gender pay gap stood at a 47%. It was 12 years later, in 2004, when the country first broke the 40% threshold.

A survey by the state-run South Korean Women’s Development Institute showed in August that 54.7% of South Korea’s female respondents said the “accumulated gender discrimination in hiring, promotion and placement in the organisation” is the reason behind the country’s serious gender pay gap.

South Korea’s male respondents, on the other hand, thought that such differences were due to simply having shorter careers, as 39.6% thought the gender pay gap was “due to career breaks caused by childbirth and child-rearing, which makes women’s average careers shorter than men’s”.

Meanwhile, the average annual salary for South Korea’s workers reached an all-time high of US$48,922 in 2022.

In terms of average annual salary, South Korea ranked 19th out of the 38 members of the OECD.

All of the 18 OECD members ranked above South Korea are classified as developed economies.In 2022, the average annual salary for South Korea’s employees was 91.6% of the OECD average of US$53,416, according to calculations by the intergovernmental organisation headquartered in Paris. It was 90.6% of the OECD average in 2021 and 90.4% in 2020. — The Korea Herald/ANN

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