Some jobs — like teaching — have historically been thought of as “labors of love”, because while one experiences emotional satisfaction from carrying them out, the pay is not commensurate with the amount of education required. However, it turns out that we should probably have been bringing the charity apples to someone paid worse than teachers, who actually do not do too poorly for themselves. Below are the worst paying jobs which typically require a bachelor’s degree, as reported by data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Overwhelmingly, the number one cause of salary underperformance is part-time work. Not only does one not get paid for hours not worked, working part-time tends to mean that you do not receive a benefits package, which makes up a large chunk of the salary of full-time workers.
- Many “caring professions” appear in the list. Feminists might claim this is a result of systematic wage discrimination against women, who are very over-represented in these professions. Economists might point out that it is a combination of these jobs appearing mostly in non-for-profit contexts and their part-time nature (something which is very attractive to many women who have family obligations in addition to a desire to work in their careers). The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
- Many jobs which are considered high prestige, such as those in the media, suffer from perpetual oversupply of candidates and as a result competition lowers salaries. “Dirty” or “boring” jobs, like working on an oil rig or being an actuary, tend to receive much higher salaries because they need to to find a sufficient number of candidates.
The Big Surprise
Politicians are, on average, the worst paid degree holders in America. This is because, numerically speaking, almost all of them work for local or state governments on a very part-time basis, and the wages they receive are often nominal.