Report Reveals Shocking Gender Wage Gap Among Idols

Korea’s National Tax Service released some shocking numbers on the difference in income between male and female actors and singers.

The findings are based on reported incomes of 15,423 people who claimed to be actors or actresses, as well as 4,587 people who claimed to be singers on their 2015 tax filings. The average income of an actor/actress was $36,580 (43 million won.) However, the report also found an immense wealth and gender disparity between industry professionals across the board.

Here is a look at a quick breakdown of the report’s findings.

Kim Jong Kook has been reported to earn a high income among entertainers.
Kim Jong Kook has been reported to earn a high income among entertainers.

Actors’ Annual Income 

  • Average income for actors $36,580 (43 million won.)
  • Average income for Top 1%  was $1.653 million (1.95 billion won.)
  • Average income for Top 10% was $310,984 (367 million won.)
  • Male actors made on average $39,795, while women made on average $32,175.
  • Top 1 % actors and actresses’ income are nearly equal.

The $7,620 difference between actors’ and actresses’ earnings shows a disparity between genders in the Film and Television industry in South Korea. The data also revealed that for the bottom 90% of actors and actresses, the annual income was 7 million won – equating to about 580,000 won ($490 USD) a month, well below the poverty line.

9Muses has even discussed their struggle with income in the past.
9MUSES has even discussed their struggle with income in the past.

Singers’ incomes also showed a similar disparity.

Singers’ Annual Income

  • Top 1% of singers earned $2.64 million (3.11 billion won) on average. These top 1% made 45% of all singers’ earnings.
  • Top 10% has an average income of $511,461 (604 million won), 88.9% of total singers’ earnings.
  • Male singers on average made $76,204 while female singers made $31,328.
  • Between Top 1% male and female singers, there’s a significant difference.  Males averaged $2.8 million; Females averaged $1.35 million.

The remaining 90 percent had to do with an annual income of 8 million won per person ($6,760 USD). The difference between male and female income earnings was $1.45 million – indicating an immense gap. NTS officials stated, “For singers, male idols dominated the top income group, the popularity of K-pop and the (Korean Wave) seems to have had its effect.”

Overall, the report boiled down to some stark facts. For the entertainment industry, men made 9 million won ($7,605) more on average than women, although this disparity was not as noticeable within the top 1 percent. For the music industry, men made an average of 53 million ($44,789) more than women. This disparity was true within the top 1% where male singers earned more than double their female counterparts.

Source: YonHap News