Making Money in Korea- It’s not about the base pay

money in Korea
Making Big Money in Korea

Give me a Raise!

I was talking with my friends last night about pay at Korean Universities. One of my friends who works at another uni, said that she would appreciate it if Korea unis would bump up the pay by 100,000 or 200,000 Won per month after a couple years of service. I said that I didn’t really care and am quite happy working for the salary I agreed to when I started, plus a little cost of living increase once in a while.

Making Money in Korea: It’s not about the Base Pay

When you work at a Korean university, it’s not about the base pay, but it’s about the overtime opportunities–there really isn’t that much difference between 2.0 million and 2.3. However, there is a big difference between 2.3 and 4.0, which leads us to how to actually make the big money in Korea.


When you are at a Korean university interview, you really should ask about overtime opportunities especially if your job is closer to the 9-12 hours/week range. You will have plenty of free time, so can reasonably do 5-20 hours/week of extra work. If the uni doesn’t have any OT, it’s fine if they give officially give you permission to do outside work. If not, I wouldn’t work there unless the base pay was over 3.0 million.

An Example

My base pay at my current uni is 2.8 + housing. For this, I work 9 hours/week. Most semesters, I do approximately 12-13 more hours of teaching at an average salary of 40,000 Won/hour, which is an extra 500,000/week and 2.0 per month. So, the actual base salary becomes far less important when you’re making so much in OT. Contrast that to a place without OT or permission for outside work–you’re basically just stuck earning your base salary when you could be doing a lot better, financially speaking.

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