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Nine out of ten actors revealed to make less than half minimum wage

By jennywill   Monday, January 16, 2017   171,544   8,317   0



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The distribution of salary among actors has been revealed to be incredibly unbalanced.

According to the National Tax Service, out of the 15,423 who report their income as actors, the average income was 43 million KRW (approximately 37,000 USD) per person. However, the 154 people at the top make an average of 1,955 million KRW (approximately 1.7 million USD) per person. In other words, the top 1% made 45.7% of the total. The top 10% averaged 367 million KRW per year (approximately 313,000 USD), meaning they took up 86% of the total.

SEE ALSO: Idols and their Meaningful Tattoos

The bottom 90% of actors made an average of 7 million KRW per year (approximately 6,000 USD), or 580,000 KRW per month (approximately 490 USD). This is less than half the minimum wage (of about 1,117,000 KRW per month, 5,580 KRW per hour). This means the top 1%, such as the actors pictured above, made more than 280 times the bottom 90%.

What do you think about how much these actors make?
  1. misc.

Desinay Thursday, January 19, 2017


Jadewashere64 Wednesday, January 18, 2017

that's awful

Moogirl Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Knowing the truth about the world makes me so sad! TTnTT

teleri Monday, January 16, 2017

Do this with ANY country - same.  The card-carrying members of the Screen Actors' Guild average around $15,000 yearly....

myheartis_OMG Monday, January 16, 2017

LOL at the front page headline being "actors making no money" alongside a picture of *those* five. Is Park Shin Hye on the streets begging for ramen money? Does Park Bo Gum whiten those teeth with corrector fluid?

Tracy_D_Manns (Banned) myheartis_OMG Monday, January 16, 2017

This comment has been removed due to violation of our TOS. (Reason: spammer)

KimbapJams Monday, January 16, 2017

Well actors don't work 24/7

woopsiedaisie KimbapJams Monday, January 16, 2017

Actor here, in the US we work 8 hours days rehearsing and then do performances at night. I can guarantee you it's the same in Korea, and screen actors have to work just as many hours.

intricate Monday, January 16, 2017

i don't think you can put it like that... you have to look at it on an hourly basis because actors don't work per month, they work per project. I'm pretty sure none of them earn below minimum wage strictly speaking. Although projects probably do get delayed or extended by a certain amount causing certain actors to go below minimum hourly wage some of the time.

intricate Monday, January 16, 2017

I do wonder though, if a project happens to take too long to wrap up causing those few actors to fall below minimum wage, what institution protects them against exploitation / underpayment?

intricate Monday, January 16, 2017

Oh and let's not forget that, as hard as actors have it, the surrounding staff have it even worse. They can't augment their income with any kind off endorsement or promotion deals, and they have a lower base rate to begin with. Those are the ones who's livelihoods actually suffer from delays and such.

dat1flygirl intricate Monday, January 16, 2017

I don't think they have an actor guild or union like they do in the U.S.

intricate dat1flygirl Monday, January 16, 2017

exactly.. they're all on their own as far as i know.. which is why many foreign artists are quick to leave once they realize the breadth of the exploitation going on in SK.

teleri dat1flygirl Monday, January 16, 2017

And yet, even in the US, the Guild members' average income is well below the average income

intricate teleri Tuesday, January 17, 2017

do you base that on hourly rate or average monthly income?

teleri intricate Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I base this on articles I've read over the last 30 years - I do believe it's yearly income tho. I was married to an actor who was a member of the Screen Actor's Guild. He had an unrelated full-time job cause there ARE no year-long repertoire companies that pay in the US & of course films/TV are very hit or miss.... So this is not unique to SK

dat1flygirl teleri Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Your comparing apples and oranges. Yearly it is absolutely possible for a regular 9-5 worker to make more using a yearly breakdown especially if the actor doesn't have many decent paying gigs during the year.

teleri dat1flygirl Wednesday, January 18, 2017

That's the POINT, darling. It's very hard to make a living as an actor.

intricate teleri Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Well.. like i said, you can't use average income for anything but a steady job. This in no way means that having a seasonal or even project based income like artists, entrepreneurs, freelancers, etc. etc. can't have a decent living wage. It just means that you can't use that statistic to measure their livelihood. Some of the time these people will earn below minimum wage on a month to month or even year to year basis and sometimes they will earn far above it.

intricate teleri Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Like any job, acting, singing, or any kind of freelancing activity is essentially something you will be doing full-time. Depending on how much time you spend on it you will earn more or less. However, unlike a steady job, you don't get paid according to the hours you put in. So you can't use something like a minimum wage to derive any kind of conclusion on how well a person that doesn't do a 9 to 5 job is doing.

intricate Wednesday, January 18, 2017

You can't even say whether or not getting paid enough to live a normal life through acting or singing is hard or not. For some it's hard, for others it's easy as pie. When it comes to show business, what makes it hard is not even the amount you get paid.

teleri intricate Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Let me just say this ONE more time - I was MARRIED to an actor. I have very dear friends who are actors, one who ran a theater troupe as well. She's also a playwright. They CANNOT MAKE A LIVING doing this - very few can - and it is not because they aren't good at it either. I'm so sorry, the entertainment field is extremely difficult to break into and to manage to make a living wage, in ANY country. The fact that you actually are arguing about this basic fact of life makes me just shake my head. I daresay members of SAG are better off than SK actors, since when they do manage to land a gig there are rules about how they get paid. But that doesn't get them jobs, just protects them when they are hired.

teleri Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Oh, ALL of the above are card-carrying SAG members....

dat1flygirl teleri Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We got the point that you were married to an actor. You mentioned that profusely. No one was arguing with you, we are simply stating points of interest about this subject. I am not sure what led to you getting worked up about this.

intricate teleri Thursday, January 19, 2017

i am an actor, i am not good, and i do make a living wage off of it... because i put in the hours.

intricate teleri Thursday, January 19, 2017

and to reiterate, and you seem to agree even though you think you don't, the money making part is not what makes show business hard.

pink_oracle Monday, January 16, 2017

So you have to wonder how shit idols salaries are that so many of them have switched to acting recently.

mindlessdream pink_oracle Monday, January 16, 2017

The shittiest thing with idols is that they usually have to split with their members which makes it worse. Otherwise, I guess solos should make around the same as bottom actors.

whatever101 Monday, January 16, 2017

meanwhile Big 3 actors/idols be like

chanyeolisbae867 Monday, January 16, 2017

This happens around the globe not just Korea. Being an actress/actor is not easy, we all know that.

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