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What Makes Workers Feel Unappreciated?

Topics: Data & Research

Do you feel unappreciated at work? Chances are, you’re low paid and/or working in a job that doesn’t require a lot of specialized skills. PayScale’s recent report, The Most Unappreciated Jobs in America, shows the relationship between salary, job type, and perceived worker appreciation.

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The results won’t shock you, especially if you’ve ever toiled in a low-income job. But, they will remind you that getting paid what you deserve is about more than just making your life easier outside of work. Income can also affect how appreciated you feel on the job. Over time, that can affect the quality of your work and the outcome for your employer.

Low-Paid Workers Feel Unappreciated

PayScale surveyed 433,752 users between June 19, 2014 and June 19, 2016 to determine which workers felt the most and least appreciated, by job type, industry, location, and more. One of the more interesting — although again, not surprising — findings was that income is closely related to perceived worker appreciation.

Only 37 percent of workers who earn less than $25,000 a year feel appreciated. By contrast, 67 percent of those making $200,000+ annually say the same.

Skills Make a Difference

Highly skilled workers were more likely to report themselves as feeling appreciated at work, while workers in jobs that required less education and training were less likely to say the same. Seventy-six percent of dentists, for example, described themselves as appreciated at work, as did 73 percent of surgeons.

On the flip side, laundry and dry cleaning workers were most likely to feel unappreciated at work, at 63 percent, followed by meter readers (55 percent) and telemarketers (53 percent).


Here, too, there’s likely a salary component: dentists earn a median annual salary of $124,310, and surgeons come in at a median of $255,473 per year. Laundry workers, on the other hand, make a median of $19,200 annually, while meter readers earn $33,900 and telemarketers $26,000.

In short, “low-skilled” workers likely perceive themselves to be unappreciated because of their low pay, not because it’s less satisfying to work in a job that requires less specialized training. Their skills affect their pay, which in turn affects their perception of appreciation.

So, if you’re hoping to embark on a more satisfying career in 2017, the first step may be make sure you’re getting paid appropriately.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you feel unappreciated at work? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.


Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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