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Which Workers Are Underpaid, Overpaid, and Paid Just Right?

Topics: Data & Research

Once upon a time, American workers wondered if they were getting paid what they were worth. Most didn’t think they were, while some believed they were paid above average, and others thought their pay was average, or “just right.”

But which workers were which? And how could they find out if they were being paid fairly?

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

My Salary is Too Low

Whether they’re right on not, which workers most believe they’re underpaid?

Do You Know What You're Worth?

According to a PayScale study of 933,941 people conducted from April 18, 2015 to April 18, 2017, Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks top the list, with almost 69 percent of workers in this group believing they’re paid below average for their job. Meeting and Convention Planners come in second, with about 68 percent of those surveyed believing they’re paid below average. And Lodging Managers round out the top-three; about 67 percent of these workers believe they’re paid below average.

Median pay for these jobs nationally is $34,800, $44,900, and $41,000, respectively, though appropriate pay differs based on geographic location, years of experience, and various other modifying factors. (If you work in any of these jobs and want to know if you’re being paid fairly, take PayScale’s free salary survey, with accounts for these factors and more.)

The ten jobs in which workers most believe they’re paid below average? Here they are:

My Salary is Too High

At the other end of the spectrum are workers who believe they’re paid above average. (If you fall into this category, our advice is to keep quiet!)

Many of the jobs on this list are heavily focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and several others are focused on transportation. The top-three jobs on the list – of workers who believe they’re paid above average – are Nuclear Engineers (median pay: $88,400), Air Traffic Controllers ($61,000), and Marine Engineers and Naval Architects ($79,900), respectively.

Again, appropriate salaries for these jobs may differ depending on a host of influencing factors.

My Salary is Just Right

Our last list is comprised of workers who believe their salary is “average,” or ‘just right’ for their job.

More than half of surveyed Actuaries ($84,000), Postal Service Workers ($37,700), and Wait Staff ($21,400) believe their salary is average, and almost 50 percent of Pharmacists ($115,500) feel the same way.

The rest of the top ten shakes out like this:

If you want to find out if your salary is too high, too low, or just right, take PayScale’s free salary survey, which can show you exactly what you should be paid. Then, if you’re not “just right,” use your report to have an open and honest conversation with your employer about pay.

After that, you’ll be on your way to living happily ever after.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think you’re paid below, at, or above average? How do you know? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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