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The 50 Lowest Paying Jobs In Korea

The Harsh Truth! Careers That Don't Pay Off In Korea - List Of The 50 Lowest Paying Jobs.

yeong
2 years ago

The Harsh Truth! Careers That Don't Pay Off In Korea - List Of The 50 Lowest Paying Jobs.

As we have seen in various K-dramas and movies like Parasite, Korean society still struggles with economic inequality.

The huge wealth gap between rich and poor in Korea has been highlighted throughout the years, and it doesn’t seem to be shrinking.

Many occupations don’t provide enough income to cover the basic needs of life. As a result, many Koreans have to work two jobs in order to pay their bills. 

For this article, we have used numbers reported by Korea Employment Information Service to rank the 50 lowest paid occupations in Korea.

Many of these are jobs with high workload, but sadly the workers are in many cases not being paid decent salaries.

Bottom 10


Note: The numbers below are median salaries and conversions to USD are rounded.

ProfessionAverage Salary
Poet5.42 million won
Nun12.62 million won
Priest14.71 million won
Child Care Worker14.76 million won
Theater / Musical Performers14.81 million won
Missionary Worker15.40 million won
Assistant Teacher15.43 million won
Agricultural, Forestry, Fishery and Livestock Worker15.44 million won
Novelist15.86 million won
Statistician / Survey Staff15.98 million won


The survey showed that poets have the lowest average income among all occupations in Korea, making only around 4,700 USD annually.

We assume that the reported income only measures fixed monthly salaries, so book sales and royalties are most likely not included (let’s hope they do make a bit more!).

People dedicating their professional lives to religious activities, for example nuns (11,000 USD) and priests (13,000 USD), also report very low incomes.

Individuals working with theater or music are known to take part-time jobs in order to support their living.

The Harsh Truth! Careers That Don't Pay Off In Korea - List Of The 50 Lowest Paying Jobs.


Low-Income Jobs In Korea: 11 - 20


Note: The numbers below are median salaries and conversions to USD are rounded.

ProfessionAverage Salary
Ecotourism Guide16.36 million won
Chores Helper16.49 million won
Buddhist Missionary Worker16.80 million won
Office Assistant17.32 million won
Security Guard17.42 million won
Background Actor17.49 million won
Gas Station Employee17.50 million won
University Teaching Assistant18.3 million won
Buddhist Priest18.54 million won
Store Clerk / Mobile Vendor18.73 million won


As we can see, other low-income occupations include security guard (15,000 USD) and gas station employee (15,000 USD). 

Within the category “Store Clerks / Mobile Vendors”, there is a large income gap, with some reporting their annual salary as low as 13 million won (11,000 USD), while the highest salary was 24 million won (20,000 USD).

The Harsh Truth! Careers That Don't Pay Off In Korea - List Of The 50 Lowest Paying Jobs.


Low-Income Jobs In Korea: 21 - 30


Note: The numbers below are median salaries and conversions to USD are rounded.

ProfessionAverage Salary
Ticket Vendor18.86 million won
Cleaning Staff19.58 million won
Parking Staff19.61 million won
Nurse19.65 million won
Massage Therapist19.69 million won
Drama Actor19.97 million won 
Singer20.63 million won
Customer Service Representative20.66 million won
Store Staff20.86 million won
Career Advisor21.04 million won


Taking a look at place 21 to 30, we find more professions within the music and acting industry. It's no wonder that many aspiring actors and singers face opposition from their families – prospects of a good salary are pretty bleak.

Because of this fact, many Koreans eventually end up abandoning their dreams of becoming singers after going all-in for a number of years as trainees. 

For Customer Service Representatives (18,000 USD) and Career Advisors (18,300 USD), there is almost no difference between the highest and the lowest salaries reported, and the service sector as a whole doesn’t seem ideal if you are looking to earn the big wons.

The Harsh Truth! Careers That Don't Pay Off In Korea - List Of The 50 Lowest Paying Jobs.


Low-Income Jobs In Korea: 31 - 40


Note: The numbers below are median salaries and conversions to USD are rounded.

ProfessionAverage Salary
Part-time University Lecturer21.04 million won
Lottery Ticket Vendor21.64 million won
Fisherman / Diver21.83 million won
After-school Tutor21.96 million won
Reception Staff21.98 million won
Social Welfare Worker22.18 million won
Cashier Staff22.30 million won
Kitchen Assistant22.46 million won
Delivery Staff22.56 million won
Housekeeper22.60 million won


Part-time university lecturers are found among the low-earners. Among the 30 respondents, some reported a meager salary of just 10 million won (8,700 USD), but others make up to 32 million won (27,800 USD).

Although working at a university is considered prestigious in Korea, many lecturers don’t make much.

The salaries of receptionists (19,100 USD), kitchen assistants (19,500 USD), and housekeepers (19,600 USD) also seem to vary depending on experience and workplace.

The Harsh Truth! Careers That Don't Pay Off In Korea - List Of The 50 Lowest Paying Jobs.


Low-Income Jobs In Korea: 41 - 50


Note: The numbers below are median salaries and conversions to USD are rounded.

ProfessionAverage Salary
Packing Staff22.73 million won
Craftsman22.82 million won
Calligrapher22.82 million won
Pet Groomer23.02 million won
Tailor23.16 million won
Jewelry Designer23.23 million won
Shoe Cleaner23.23 million won
Personal Assistant23.37 million won
Art Therapist23.39 million won
Makeup Artist23.45 million won


In Korea, where so much money is put into children’s education, and with living costs constantly rising, having a low-income occupation can be very distressing.

Pressure from family and society can lead to depression, and many work more hours than healthy just to make ends meet.

Let’s hope average salaries will increase and that the wealth gap will flatten out in the future!



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