The pay gap between professions widens during a pandemic


IT and entertainment workers get pay hike, aviation and tourism workers suffer, new data shows

Pedestrians walk the street in Seoul’s Myeong-dong shopping district on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Pay differentials between occupations widened amid COVID-19 pandemic as wages in technology and broadcast industries saw one of the strongest increases while workers in aviation industries and tourism have been affected, new data has revealed.

According to new data released Sunday by the Korea Economic Research Institute, jobs in web portals, data processing companies and web hosting saw their wages increase by 9 million won ($ 7,666) on average to 37 , 9 million won in the first half of this year compared to the same period two years ago.

The industry that saw the biggest pay rise includes tech giants such as Naver, Kakao and music streaming service Genie Music.

Jobs in commodity trading, including LX International and Posco International, saw the second-highest increase in average salary, from 30.8 million won in the first half of 2019 to 39.1 million won in the same period this year. Television jobs, including entertainment agency CJ ENM and SBS TV channel, paid 4.1 million won on average.

The figures reflect the total salary in the first six months of each year.

Workers in the aviation and tourism sectors – among those most affected by the pandemic – have, however, suffered a significant pay cut.

The average salary in tourism and related industries increased from 20 million won in the first half of 2019 to 12.3 million won in the same period this year.

Aviation saw its average first-half salary drop from 31.8 million won to 24.2 million won.

Air travel is only expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, according to Boeing.

Other jobs where salaries fell between 2019 and 2021 included those in head office and management consulting services.

Workers in the manufacturing of optical and photographic equipment suffered a wage cut of 3 million won on average.

Private education workers based in hagwon or cram schools saw their average wages drop from 19.1 million won to 18.9 million won.

Food, beverage and tobacco retailers saw their average wages rise from 20.3 million to 22.7 million won between 2019 and 2021.

The shipping industry, which has benefited from strong demand for shipping containers in recent months, saw its average earnings drop from 31.2 million won to 33.5 million won in the same six-month period.

By Yim Hyun-su ([email protected])

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