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  • 작성자 사진Noh Hyun-jin

[Society] Opinions of the Minimum Wage

No. 153 / Sep 6, 2021

The minimum wage for 2022 has been set at 9,160 won. The Ajou Globe (The AG) conducted a 3-day survey of 34 students at the Ajou University with part-time job experience to obtain their opinions on the minimum wage. View multiple reference pictures (Picture1-1, Picture 1-2, Picture 2, and Picture 3) and the statistical results charts using the QR code.

Suitability of the purpose and the decision-making process

24 out of 34 students (70.6%) thought it was for the following purpose (Picture 1-1): “I can feel that it guarantees a living because it is newly set ‘every’ year”; “The guarantee of a minimum wage in itself helps to improve labor productivity”; “I am glad I do not have to make a legitimate request myself, and it seems to prevent unfair employment.” On the contrary, 10 (29.4%) said that they did not think it closes the wage gap. Some of them also said: “When the minimum wage goes up, the price goes up too, making it hard to feel the meaning of livelihood guarantees”; “It still does not seem fair because the employer often puts pressure on the employee in an unusual way to spend as little money as possible.”

When asked what more was needed regarding the process (Picture 1-2), the following opinions emerged: “It should be easy for citizens to know who the members of The Minimum Wage Committee are”; “As the first step, they need to accurately investigate whether the minimum wage is guaranteed except for taxes and insurance, and listen to various opinions by region, age, and industry”; “Follow-up measures for those who do not observe the system are needed too”; “A medium that makes citizens see the process easily and freely is needed.”

About increasing the minimum wage

The minimum wage has increased over the past 10 years, as shown in Picture 2. Twenty out of 34 students (58.8%) preferred it to be raised, and 14 (41.2%) did not. Some felt that it was natural for the minimum wage to rise since prices are rising, in order to increase productivity. Others held that inflation should be stabilized first before raising the minimum wage and that labor intensity is increasing and jobs seem to be decreasing. (Actually, 6 out of 34 students (17.6%) said they experienced reduced part-time job hours due to the increase.) However, it is surprising that almost all the students were concerned about the burden of self-employed people or the national economy in the long run. In addition, 6 out of 34 students (17.6%) wanted the minimum wage to be frozen.

Differential or uniform application of the minimum wage

In Korea, the minimum wage system is applied uniformly, and examples of countries that differentially apply the system are as shown in Picture 3. However, in the survey results, 19 out of 34 students (55.9%) were in favor of differential application and 15 (44.1%) were in favor of maintaining uniform application. Those who were in favor of differential application said: “The first purpose of the minimum wage is to bridge the gap between rich and poor, it is strange to apply it uniformly”; “As they are not the same labor forces”; “We should consider the difference in living standards from region to region.” However, those who favored maintaining uniform application felt that differential application would bring bias to a specific class, thus making it difficult to manage, and the gap between the rich and the poor may widen, contrary to the purpose.


By Noh Hyun-jin, AG Reporter

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