After Kim Soo Hyun‘s alleged salary for his upcoming drama was revealed to the public, the difference in salaries between male and female actors have been circulating online.
Previously, the It’s Okay To Not Be Okay actor shocked the nation as numerous different media sources reported his alleged pay for his upcoming drama, That Night. According to these news reports, Kim Soo Hyun is set to receive a guaranteed ₩500 million KRW (about $440,000 USD) per episode. This number is the guaranteed minimum, as it does not include the revenue that the drama will be making from advertisements, copyright sales and more. With such a shockingly high salary, this became the talk of the town for quite some time.
In light of this recent news regarding Kim Soo Hyun’s upcoming pay, the discussion of pay discrepancies between actors and actresses have begun to make their way online. Prior to Kim Soo Hyun’s news, the pay difference between males and females in South Korea has already been widely acknowledged, but this topic hasn’t truly been discussed in regards to the entertainment industry. That is, until now.
According to reports, it was difficult to find A-list actresses who received a salary of more than ₩100 million KRW (about $89,500 USD) per episode for a drama series production. This number is significantly lower than the average salary of ₩200 million KRW (about $179,000 USD) that most male leads receive per drama episode. While ₩100 million KRW (about $89,500 USD) is still a large sum of money, compared to that of Kim Soo Hyun and other male actors, it is a fraction of what male actors receive.
Different industry insiders state numerous reasons behind the pay discrepancies. One reason that was brought up as an argument was the fact that dramas usually focus more heavily on the male lead rather than the female lead. Another argument compared the popularity of male versus female leads overseas. They claimed that the salary of an actor is dependent on their fame overseas and this plays a big role in the wage gap.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), South Korea has the largest wage gap between males and females, with a 34.1% difference. While numerous different reasons were given, this is the not first time that South Korea took the number 1 spot for this ranking. According to OECD, South Korea has secured the first place spot for the last 17 years since the organization began the data collection for this category back in 2002.
With such statistics, the discrepancy between male and female actors should not come as a surprise to anyone. Kim Soo Hyun is one of the most well-respected and talented actors in the Korean industry currently. His salary is more than well-deserved and we couldn’t be more excited for him. We hope that one day, female actresses and female citizens of South Korea will get to see the same respect and acknowledgement as their male peers.