Are You Over Or Underpaid

Tyler Durden's picture

It's a simple question, yet one which is so difficult to answer (for lack of available data), and which fills most workers (especially those with a chip on their shoulder and/or delusions of grandeur) with dread: "Am I over, or underpaid in my job?"  The following handy chart, created by Reddit user Dan Lin, attempts to answer just this question with a breakdown of some 820 jobs listed by the BLS, with percentile data (25th, 50th, 75th, 90th) for the wage of any given occupation, allowing the determination where, relative to the median, one is paid.

Something tells us those jobs at the top of the chart, mostly education and training-intensive healthcare jobs, will not be pushing hard for minimum wage laws. Those on the bottom of the chart, however, those are a different story.

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10mm's picture

Were slaves in a corrupt system and controlled system.

Top Gear's picture

You're simply non-competitive.

cifo's picture

I am definitely underpaid. I don't have a job.

MontgomeryScott's picture

I read through the list and I didn't see the three most important jobs:

Porn star, Politician, and Illegal alien welfare-sucking leech maggot. I guess they get paid too much, and would skew the statistics.

Have you considered a career change?

Hooter Shaker's picture

If you feel underpaid, quit your job and find one where you're not underpaid.....Or better yet, start your own business and create your own job.  If you still feel underpaid after that then you were probably not underpaid.....just underskilled.

CrazyCooter's picture has had this feature for years. Here is salary trends for a gardner in Dallas, TX.

it also breaks down positions vs total, so one can figure out if a technology or skill is growing, or shrinking in terms of labor demand.

And it is more granular since stuff is localized.




EDIT: Now that I RTFA, is that not a pink blow off top or what? Medical is soooo fucked up.

Shocker's picture

Once you factor in inflation on Food, Gas, Housing.... Then most become underpaid.

Layoff List:


Oldwood's picture

What does underpaid mean?

That you are not earning what you need?

That your labor is worth more in another market place? How do we establish the worth of our labors?

How much is a popsicle worth in the desert versus the Artic? If there are two people waiting in line for only one job, how much are they each worth?

To my thinking the only way the value of our labors is incorrectly priced is if there is an artificial intervention provided by either monopoly which controls labor demand, or government intervention.

My industry which is primarily carpentry, has been overrun by illegals. We have seen continuing wage declines for thirty years and while we have many factors driving demand, we KNOW what is driving open border. My wage potential is completely determined by what a virtually homeless person is willing to work for. This is working up the food chain as more jobs are being replaced with automation which relies on low wage low skilled people to operate.

For those being sucked under by this low wage global vortex, options are limited unless you want to bite onto the endless debt tit of student loans in hopes an education might help you outrun the currents. In my mind, doubtful.

Skateboarder's picture

Perhaps you can mold your lifelong skill of carpenting into something more niche and relatively non-competitive, like being a luthier. I'm definitely going to learn how to make top-notch wood&string instruments in the next decade.

gh0atrider's picture

You've got 1 BTC and you gonna be worth more than all these chumps!

mkkby's picture

Good luck making your instruments. 

My unemployed neighbor does that, and he lives with multiple people sharing the rent on one small apartment.  You'll be competing with machines that do that using Chinese and Mexican labor.  I hope you win.

Cathartes Aura's picture


My wage potential is completely determined by what a virtually homeless person is willing to work for.

but isn't a "minimum wage" the devil?  shouldn't the "producers" be able to pay whatever the Market dictates, including a pittance?  why blame those who HIRE and set the wages low, instead of those willing to WORK for next to nothing?

isn't that how the Economy is SUPPOSED to WORK?

Ghordius's picture

Cath, it all depends if you believe in markets the way fairy tales (aka economic textbooks) tell them or how they really function

in a healthy labour market wage earners below a certain level have an incentive to join a labour union. which would have a healthy interest in bargaining contracts on a fair basis

the same labour unions would have a further incentive to collaborate with parties on the left. which would lobby for keeping jobs onshore instead of letting them go offshore

which then would lead to a healthy policy towards taxation, particularly in regard to onshore/offshore revenues of inshore companies

all market based, mind you. nothing about the above that a libertarian like Judge Napolitano would think unseemly, as he even said on FOX

fact is that in the US "labour union" is a dirty word. fact is that US corporate taxation is utterly out of whack, compared to the rest of the world. fact is that US megacorps don't even know what the hell to do with their immense offshore cash mountains. fact is that in the US the debate is about "moochers" and "producers"

a different regulatory & taxation environment would help. but here again, the US debate is about having one or not, instead of what would work or not

corruption breeds bad politics, which breeds the wrong kind of debates, which steer the wrong kind of policies and regulations, which increase corruption

and all this is best seen in the polarization of both politics and debates. when you lose the political middle ground, you lose unity of purpose. it's a kind of steady decay

Cathartes Aura's picture


fact is that in the US "labour union" is a dirty word. fact is that US corporate taxation is utterly out of whack, compared to the rest of the world. fact is that US megacorps don't even know what the hell to do with their immense offshore cash mountains. fact is that in the US the debate is about "moochers" and "producers"

we don't disagree Ghordius.

many folks in the "US" are still trying to get their minds around the gap between

the lies they were told growing up,

and the reality of the "state" they are in now.

it would help if there were either new words created to describe the current reality - or people defined the labels applied to truth-fully describe the reality experienced.

in between lies the dissonance.


Ghordius's picture

funny that you write that way. you know what my biggest hurdle is on ZH? vocabulary

in order to explain this with an example from europe: recently, the new King of Spain had a speech in parliament, where he used the word "multicultural". as a goal of his

the way he meant it and it was understood, in Spain, is that he is set to maintain national unity while fostering an equality of the Catalan language, culture, political autonomy etc. etc. vs the Spanish "mainstream"

the same word has completely different connotations, elsewhere. some of the lies are based on exactly this. bad newscasting and politics thrives on this

imo there are the words to describe the current reality. it's just that some of us have forgotten their original meaning, or heaped propagandistic false meanings on them

Cathartes Aura's picture

language defines the thoughts, the thinking is under control. . .

as thinking gets increasingly co-opted, the languages used get minimised, and so does thought.

txt.speak is the new mind-set, tiny un-spelled words,

dis-spell critical thinking, and merely repeats others thoughts, like so many ready-made "meals". . .

fast food thinkers, devoid of anything nutritious.

and the constant repetition of the same old labels, every single day, the same words used as descriptives, the same moaning about the same stories, ad nauseum.

Raging Debate's picture

Ghordius -

+1,000 on the issues and understanding leadership doesn't want debate but they are starting to acknowledge the need for it. The private sector must leads as that is what is recognized most by .gov right now even if it is megacorps.

Note my screen name and own site under same name being relaunched Monday after a few year successful beta. It was not simple of easy trial and error but no value proposition is.

You learn so much about human nature both good and ugly from setting up such a platform.

I own domain (GDP for short haha) but the pain at the top is now just starting to multiply in no growth for timing to be right to build it out yet or market it on top of other current tech.

hardmedicine's picture

"For those being sucked under by this low wage global vortex, options are limited unless you want to bite onto the endless debt tit of student loans in hopes an education might help you outrun the currents. In my mind, doubtful."


This is exactly what has happened and why we can all say goodbye to being paid a historical "fair" wage.  Median wage for ALL professionals is going to necessarily be pulled under by the sucking sound of the NAFTA agreement and the North American Union specifically.  Plus 1000 for you sir!.  I keep thinking about this.  Each time I go out and see the mix of people at my grocery store.... all the illegals immigrants using their EBT cards, reading the headlines of the continuing invasion of our borders.  It started in the 60's with someone who thought it would be a great idea to counter the drainage of the Social Security "trust fund" with an increase in immigration.  These third world babies that are used to offset the declining birth rate in the anglo population will NEVER overcome the amount of money they have drained through all the successive generations since then.  The problem goes back through Republican and Democrat administrations.  There is no answer now.  The "trust fund" has a zero balance and all else is just pointless bailing.  The ship is going down..... albeit slowly.  There is no coming back from this.  PLEASE, someone tell me I'm wrong. !!

mkkby's picture

There are 7 billion people in the world, and 80% live on $10 a day or less.  So essentially there is a never ending supply of homeless people who will work for a plate of beans.

The global corporations run this shit show, and we all know they love cheap/free labor.  So everyone's career is toast over the next few decades.  Everyone.  The only niches available will be selling luxury items to the 1%, or finding services that poor people need. 

Long single serving tooth paste and soap like they have the the 3rd world.

11b40's picture

Most of us who start our own business find out just what underpaid really means.  When income received is balanced against time, money invested, and risk, you better be doing it for some reason other than just the money.

Ghordius's picture

+1 I call it a vocation

Oracle 911's picture

@ Scott:

"Porn star, Politician, and Illegal alien welfare-sucking leech maggot. I guess they get paid too much, and would skew the statistics."


So 0zer0 is overpaid, because he fits almost perfectly into all 3 category. Or am I wrong?

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Skew the first one to GAY porn star and you are right on!

sessinpo's picture

negative rates   Does it really matter when all you are making is junk or used toward warfare.


Probably, when you can't type a coherent sentence.


ejmoosa's picture

And they have been rendered non-competitive by the attack on free markets and capitalism.  

Thank you Federal Reserve and the Federal Government of the US.

Raging Debate's picture

Top Gear - Technically, you are correct about being uncompetetive for a lot of people that use there computer for mindless pursuits instead of education. People here are shrewd to educate themselves how the world works in cycles for better or worse. Most are attempting frontrunning. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

For example, I am in data. There is literally a billion dollar opportunity, a market I started in 1997. I was naive and others got rich and I was exploited. Pump and dump had become market practice. I went on to innovate in data and software, I made a good living learned finance by hiring consultants to raise money and used the Internet. Always studied history as to the why people or groups behaved a certain way, missed selling company in 2008 and tried to find a buyer a year in advance knowing what was coming.

A couple of very old investors told me based in that forecast I made in 2007 about bust coming that in such time the big get bigger and the small get smaller. But I wanted to keep innovating, I am a value guy and refused investment when it was noticed and should have. That is called a learning curve and I won't make the same mistake twice. The drive to continue to find a way to compete has begun paying dividends as a large number of my smaller competitors are extinct now.

I rammed by head against a wall wondering why no big company would want to go after a billion dollar opportunity. The reason was obtained by learning is that those at the top were making easy money from mostly finance our species takes the path of the least resistence. Not to say I couldnt have gotten funding the way I wanted if I had better connections but I innovated something that created them and as mentioned at that point should have taken the funding for what those investors wanted, a portion of what I offered.

Now on the other hand I have seen some of your other commentary and I'll say this. You seem to approve of the law of the jungle ONLY. Societies always collapse the same way when two sets of laws apply to those in charge and commoner.

I had few problems with pump and dump because there is a sucker born every minute and education should shelter one from that. But when government changes the rules and forces bailouts (at gunpoint) of bad bets because it has been captured by special interests as we saw in 2008 I will rail against it because it leads to misery for all over the long-term.

But I pick my battles as a realist objectively now. As some have seen I do make suggestions how to make money (barbell economy) or improve health based on what I learned. I think one can and should rigorously compete but I had mentors that taught me to give back to the community which is satisfying in it's own rights for a balanced life. I see others here educating to compete and doing same attempting to give back.

But globally I do not see that attitude. Shoot, even the King of lobbying Jack Abramoff came out in 2012 to explain how current special interest system works including direct bribes of politicians. Global leadership giving back to the community does not mean handing out buckets of cash, it means rescinding or creating laws for the little guy to compete, because there is a saturation point of those with families and time permitted to learn to do so.

I don't see you as a value investor sir, though you make a good argument that people should compete and a lot of people here spend all day complaining where they evidently have more time for educating to benefit. It's about balance. I can educate others why things run in cycles like corruption (give back to community) but I can get out and compete. Not doing so guarantees personal failure.

Back to education on that billion dollar opportunity. Finance has run its course, it is time to go back to those top companies that can no longer grow this way because now they don't know what to do but I do so now I am picking up the phone and meeting companies this fall. I realized two years ago growth financialization had not run its course. Timing and when to attack and when to put it on hold saves time, the only commodity which can't be bought.

eclectic syncretist's picture

Believing in the "American Dream" with the FedGov in power is like trying to piss up a rope.

GetZeeGold's picture



If only we could change the name of the Washington Redskins.....I think that would go a long way towards fixing everything.


Yeah I said with it.

Rubbish's picture

Just learn the sleeper hold and move right to the top.

mkkby's picture

There must be a way to make everone happy.  How about the Washington,

  1. Socialists
  2. Lobbyists
  3. Federal reservists
  4. McDonald land flippers


Tall Tom's picture

Yeah...We need to get rid of that Notre Dame School Team Name also. I am so offended. Just because some Irish were Bar Brawlers does not mean that all Irishmen are Bar Brawlers. That is so stereotypical.


The Fighting Irish? Come on...


Then the Mascot is also offensive. I mean the Fighting Irish are supposed to be overgrown Fairies??? So the Irish are Bar Brawling Fairies?


But we have that damned racist and Gay President in the White House. To Obama, if it is not white...THEN IT IS OFFENSIVE. Of course the Fighting Irish and the Fariry Mascot are not offensie to Obama. That is because that is both White and Gay. 


However, since the Redskins are NOT white, then that is offensive???


You are correct. That name needs to be changed.




duo's picture

Wolverines were made extinct in Michigan due to European incursion.  You don't hear them complaining.

Tall Tom's picture

Native Americans were not made extinct due to European Incursion, in Michigan, or elsewhere on the North American Continent.


I do not hear them complaining about the Washington Redskin Team Name either.

duo's picture

I think there's a wolverine reservation in northern MN, and the rest fled to Canada for free health care.

The Blank Stare's picture

There was also a splinter group that went south to small town America and kicked some Cuban and russkie but. I think they must have a casino operation by now.

p00k1e's picture

America needs a national soccer team named “The Flaming X-ians” (in honor of Nero). 

The key to The Flaming X-ians is most memorabilia should be torched after the game.  Never ending sales, fellas. 

BlindMonkey's picture

"You are correct. That name needs to be changed."

The Washington Wife-Beaters

The mascot could be: an NFL player from 'da hood.

PrawnStar's picture

That may be true, but what on earth does that have to do with this list? More difficult/skilled labor is in less supply and thus more demand, and can demand more money. Period.

deflator's picture

 Did you see the top of the list? While anesthesiologists and surgeons are no doubt highly skilled in demand positions how do we know how much demand since the government injects over a trillion dollars a year of "demand" into healthcare by decree? There are other factors that go into hiring decision by decree such as race, gender and sexual orientation.

cchoo's picture

Crossing guards get $26.5k a year for working a few hours a day?? Why would you be a fast food server when you could be a part time stop sign holder?

Raging Debate's picture

CCHoo - For people with engineering minds that want to make out well with going to college and maximizing the degree I have been told petroleum engineer is where the money is at. Lack of market research and drilling into it (pun intendend) can be very costly indeed. Believe me, I learned some things the hard way.

Jeremy Roenick's picture

I don't see stand-up Philosopher any where....


Oh, you mean bullshit artist... :-)


buzzsaw99's picture


Tall Tom's picture

One is paid fairly when one contracts and is compensated for that for which he contracted.

Top Gear's picture

Paper is magic like that. Mother Yellen's little paper contracts in your wallet are proof.

Tall Tom's picture

And if you contract for Gold and Silver and are paid in Gold and Silver, rather then Yellen's little Debtor's Note paper contracts, then are you adequately compensated? (Rhetorical)


A point that I am making is that when you are comparing your wages to others' wages then it is only demonstrative of your ability to market your skills rather than an indication of the skills which you have.


When you enter into a contract and the terms of the contract are fulfilled then it is fair. It may not be good. But it is fair.

Top Gear's picture

I see, a contract isn't a contract now.  Backpedal much?


Tall Tom's picture

No backpedal whatsoever. If you contract for paper and you receive paper then you are fairly compensated.


If you contract for Gold and are compensated in Gold then you are fairly compensated.


Where...just the "backpedal"?

Top Gear's picture

Good to see you back to accepting federal reserve notes as legitimate.

thatthingcanfly's picture

Historically, a man's daily wage has been about the value of one silver dime.

If a man works 40 years, 250 days per year, using this wage rate, he will earn 10,000 silver dimes.

Or, one "bag" of junk silver.

Stop and think about what a "bag" of silver actually represents, and you'll realize how sad you should be about that tragic boating accident.