According to a recent report by the OECD titled “Health at a Glance 2023,” it has been revealed that the income of Korean doctors is nearly 7 times higher than the average wage of all workers, making it the largest income disparity among OECD countries. However, the number of doctors in Korea falls short of the OECD average. As of 2021, the annual total income of Korean doctors is shown to be 2.1 to 6.8 times higher than the average wage of all workers in the country. This survey result was made public through the aforementioned OECD report.
Salary gaps were observed, with “intern doctors” earning 2.1 times more than the average worker, “general practitioners” earning 3.0 times more, “specialist doctors” earning 4.4 times more, and “specialist doctors in private practice” earning a significant 6.8 times more than the average worker. While doctors are highly paid in other countries as well, the wage disparity with general workers is the highest in Korea, according to the OECD. Over the course of 10 years, the average real wage growth rate in Korea was 2.6% for general practitioners and 2.8% for specialist doctors, while the OECD average for general practitioners and specialist doctors was only 1.8%.
On the other hand, the number of doctors in Korea was found to be lower than the OECD average. As of 2021, the average number of doctors per 1,000 people in Korea was 2.6, compared to the OECD average of 3.7. The concentration of doctors in major cities, including Seoul, was similar to most OECD countries. However, the number of doctors per 1,000 people in Seoul and other major cities was 2.73, which was 1.77 less than the average of other countries’ major cities.
The proportion of female doctors was 25%, the second lowest after Japan, which stood at 23%. Doctors over the age of 55 accounted for 26% of the total, which was lower than the OECD average of 33%.
This is Kim Woo-jun reporting for KBS News..