Bae Sung-woo made his small screen debut in the eight-episode KBS2 sageuk Conspiracy in the Court in 2007. In 2015, he appeared in the horror thriller film Office, in which he won the Discovery Award at the 7th Korea Film Reporters Association (KOFRA) Film Awards. He also scored several Best Supporting Actor nominations for his work in the movie, including one from the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards. In 2017, he starred in the political crime drama film The King, which won him Best Supporting Actor at the 54th Grand Bell Awards. That same year, he was cast in the crime action movie The Swindlers, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the second annual The Seoul Awards. In 2018, he joined the tvN series Live, in which he earned Best Supporting Actor nominations at the 6th APAN Star Awards and the 55th Baeksang Arts Awards. Also in 2018, he won the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the 5th Korean Film Producers Association (KFPA) Awards for the movie The Great Battle.

Bae Sung-woo’s younger brother Bae Sung-jae is a TV personality and announcer. In 2020, the actor got involved in a drunk driving incident, resulting in his removal from the SBS drama Fly Dragon.