|Foreign workers in Korea. Korea Times file|
By Cho Hae-min, Park Si-soo
The average per-capita monthly income of foreign workers in Busan was 2.46 million won ($2,059), data showed on Wednesday.
The figure was based on a survey of 150 manufacturing companies in the nation's second-biggest city, the Busan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), which conducted the poll, said.
The wage exceeded the average entry-level salary of Korean university graduates (2.32 million won), meaning the employment of foreign workers is no longer a lucrative option in terms of cost management, BCCI officials said.
In particular, small and medium manufacturers feel increasingly pinched because a large portion of their workers are foreigners. Hiring young Korean workers is a tall order because they prefer working at big companies that offer them relatively high paychecks and better working conditions.
Those who are paid between 2.5 and 3 million won accounted for 44.7 percent of the surveyed foreign workers. The second-biggest group was those paid 2-2.5 million won (39.3 percent), followed by over 3 million won (10.7 percent) and less than 2 million won (5.3 percent).
"Small companies feel increasingly burdened to employ foreign workers because of their ever-increasing salary," the official said. "The government needs to explore ways to ease the financial burden of these companies while boosting the supply of qualified foreign workers."