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Minimum hourly wage South Korea 2011-2020

The legal minimum wage in South Korea stood at 8,590 South Korean won per hour in 2020. This was a 2.87 percent compared to the previous year. A legal minimum wage was only established by the South Korean government in 1988, driven by the booming economy at that time.

Is raising the minimum wage beneficial?

President Moon Jae-in has pledged to raise the minimum wage to at least 10,000 won by 2020; a controversial move that has been endorsed by scholars but criticized by both conservative and liberal political commentators across the country. The general public are also divided, with some arguing the consequential increase in the cost of living is a negative outcome of the wage increase. Recent opinion polls showed that only half of the population shared a positive sentiment towards the general direction their country is going.

How are small and medium sized businesses affected?

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have also been opposed to raising the minimum wage. Most business owners of this size stated that increasing revenue and maintaining profitability were major challenges for them, and this is intrinsically linked to the minimum wage they pay their employees. Related to this, a large proportion of entrepreneurs were uncertain about starting a new business in South Korea. Nevertheless, the economic outlook for South Korea is positive, with the gross domestic product per capita projected to continue to rise.

Minimum hourly wage in South Korea from 2011 to 2020

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Release date

August 2020


South Korea

Survey time period

2011 to 2020

Supplementary notes

1,000 South Korean won equals 0.84 U.S. dollars or 0.71 euros (as of August 2020).

Release date is the day of data access.

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Statistics on "Demographics of South Korea"

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