The Korea Employers Federation said in a report on May 12 that South Korea’s minimum wage showed an average increase of 29.1 percent during the past two years whereas the average of 28 OECD member countries was 14.2 percent during the same period. For the past five years, the figures were 60.3 percent versus 32.6 percent.
The federation explained that South Korea’s rate of increase for the past two years is the third-highest behind those of Lithuania and Turkey. Japan’s and Germany’s are 3.1 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.
This year, South Korea’s minimum wage is equivalent to 64.5 percent of its median wage. When it comes to the relative level of the minimum wage, South Korea is at the sixth place in the group of 28 countries behind Turkey (81.3 percent), Chile (69.8 percent) and is followed by France (61.8 percent), Britain (58.3 percent), Germany (47.2 percent), and Japan (42.1 percent). As for the level of the minimum wage compared to the overall average wage, South Korea posted 50.3 percent whereas France, Germany and Japan posted 49.9 percent, 42.4 percent and 36.5 percent, respectively. Also, South Korea is at the fourth place behind New Zealand, France and Australia in minimum wage level vis-à-vis per-capita GNI.
“For the sake of international competitiveness, the minimum wage as compared with the median wage needs to be kept below 60 percent as in Germany and Japan,” the federation pointed out.