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THE INVESTOR
May 24, 2019
Big Reunion

Economy

Korea tops in ratio of low-wage female workers: OECD

  • PUBLISHED :February 25, 2019 - 14:38
  • UPDATED :February 25, 2019 - 15:20
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Korea remained the top country with the highest percentage of low paid female workers, data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed on Feb. 25

Statistics from 2017 showed that 35.3 percent of female workers in the country were categorized as low-wage earners, who get paid less than two-thirds of the median income of workers in OECD countries.

The rate of low-wage employment of women has been steadily decreasing, falling from 45.8 percent in 2000 to below 40 percent since 2011 but Korea was placed at the top for the 2017 data that compared eight member nations who had relevant statistics for the year. The US came in the second with 29.07 percent. The average for the OECD was 20.01 percent for women in 2017.

The high ratio of poorly compensated female workers is a key contributor to the high percentage of low-wage employment in the country, which is also the second-highest among ten countries with 22.3 percent in 2017. Korean men who are underpaid in 2017 was 14.3 percent, the fifth-highest among eight countries.  



The figures highlight the country’s wide wage gender gap. The gender wage gap, defined as the difference between median earnings of men and women relative to median earnings of men, was 34.6 percent in 2017, according to OECD data. The figure was almost 10 percentage points higher than runner-up Japan.

The Bank of Korea pointed out in report that while women’s participation in work has been growing in recent years, an increase in low-waged services or part-time employment is a negative trend.

“Korea should try to achieve both qualitative and quantitative growth for female workers by spreading the culture of gender equality,” the report said. 

By Park Ga-young (gypark@heraldcorp.com)

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