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Busan companies in quandary over foreign workers' ever-increasing paychecks

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."


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."


조혜민 haemincho@naver.com
Park Si-soo pss@koreatimes.co.kr


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