underemployed jobs

The Most Underemployed Jobs

Next time you go shopping, settle a medical bill or seek child care, you’re likely coming into contact with somebody hit by the underemployment crisis. These are the job titles most commonly held by people who told PayScale they were underemployed.

Why Do These Workers Think They are Underemployed?

When it comes to underemployment, not all occupations are created equal. Workers in some jobs are more likely to consider themselves underemployed, whether it's because of low pay, not using education or training, or only getting part-time hours when they'd prefer to work full-time.

The table above highlights the jobs most often held by workers who told PayScale that they are underemployed, and isolates the reasons why workers in these professions are likely to consider themselves underemployed. This list is dominated by people working in customer service, child care and retail sales. People doing fairly manual tasks, like food service, data entry and warehouse work are also on the list.

What can we learn from this study? The primary reason that most workers feel underemployed, in every occupation on our list, is not making as much money as they think they should.

Of course, feeling underpaid and being underpaid are two different things: while 80 percent of those who felt underemployed claimed being underpaid as the reason, only 45 percent of those individuals actually earn less than employers typically pay for candidates with similar backgrounds, skills, and experience.

Perhaps the first thing workers should ask themselves, when determining their desired level of pay, is does their expectation reflect how much the market values that skillset? If the answer is no, the next question might be whether it's time for a career change to something more lucrative.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Salary and career advice to put you a step ahead.
newsletter icon