Why Do Some American Jobs Pay So Less?

When you think of joining work, the last thing you would think of is to settle for a low-paying job right? Once you get to know the answer, you may want to realign your way of thinking in your job search and make some practical chart maps to work towards the medium-paying jobs for yourself. Some of the jobs pay less due to many valid reasons and some not so valid ones. As you go down that road of seeking these answers, you will find yourself in an array of answers. Let’s Know Why Do Some American Jobs Pay So Less?

Why Do Some American Jobs Pay So Less

Some Americans’ jobs may pay less due to a variety of reasons. One needs to study such low-paying jobs from different angles.

So, why do they pay less?

They may pay less on account of different criteria and reasons. Those jobs require a great college degree but still may pay less initially. There are all types of jobs under the sun. Some have more wages. Some jobs are subject to low pay as a result of the nature of the work but some jobs need a college degree but still pay less for reasons such as not having any experience or having less experience. For instance, a biochemist is a good job title but initially, the payment is lesser than what an experienced biochemist makes. Even though a job has a good job title, it still needs credentials and experience. 

The factors that play into causing lower wages are stated below:-

Many factors play into earning fewer wages. Some are genuine while others are not so. Those higher educated people with good degrees may make less if they are at such a juncture of their career. For instance, in an entry-level position. These are some of the reasons why some jobs pay less. There are those jobs that may pay less wage at all times in America. It is disheartening to know that people who work in the service industry and healthcare or even in the teaching field end up with a low-paying wage due to the circumstances or the industry they are working in. 

For instance, a teacher may end up getting more pay if he/she was working in the public sector rather than a private one. So while looking at the low-paying jobs in America, all these factors come into play. Some jobs have the same occupation but different payments due to the geographical location. For instance, the same job may pay more in a big city than in a town and it also depends on the demand of the job and the cost of living.

However, here are the main reasons why America pays some jobs such as low wages at all times to these low-skilled workers:-

1. Inflation has given further reasons for getting fewer wages. The wages are getting lower as each year goes by.

2. The other thing is the plentiful availability of low-skilled workers. If the supply is more than the demand, it is surely going to reduce its worth. 

3. The policy-making strategy has constantly worked with the big businesses to make a system where they are at the advantage, like working to weaken the unions, oppose minimum wage legislation and loosen labor restrictions, etc.

4. The forces that once worked for the upliftment of workers’ standing and negotiation power are seeing a decline in the states.

5. There are gender and race dynamics attached too in getting low wages in America. It is not surprising to see women with associate degrees Working in low-wage jobs. Also,26% to 28% of black and Latinx women can be seen working at a low-paying wage. 

6. The occupations that have higher competition like sales, real estate, etc have a payment difference among those who perform well as against those who don’t.

7. The jobs require various credentials and many levels of experience. For instance, in the healthcare sector, there is a residency program to be taken and a certain period of in the job training is mandatory which lasts for 0ne to eight years. These jobs pay less during the initial times. 

But also there are exceptions to some jobs like cosmetologists who are paid less despite the license obtained. In the US millions of Americans are earning less than $30,000 each year.

Here are some factors affecting wages.

Some jobs where there is a huge vulnerability to replacement also get paid low. The low pay also depends on the levels of automation used in a particular job which is a huge factor for causing low payments. Most middle-skilled workers earn $30,000 or less in a year. Women comprise the most number in the middle-skilled job. For instance, there is no job in the US where women’s median salary exceeds $100,000.

Here are some of the lowest paying jobs in America:-

1. Misc. Agricultural workers:- operations of heavy machinery and physical labor are necessary and it does not require any formal education.

2. Bakers:- This is a job that requires professional studies beyond high school but since this is on-the-job training, one can expect a meager salary at the beginning of the career. Most start as apprentices and learn for long periods. 

3. Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists: This has one of the lowest pay in the country. Although a license is required to work in a state in the US in such a profession.

4. Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders:- The minimum school diploma is a high school diploma. This job is labor-intensive and overnight and overtime shifts are necessary.

5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors:-This job makes less than $28,000 annually. 

6. Some work in miscellaneous personal care such as working in nail salons or personal care services is also one of the lowest-paid jobs in America.

7. It may be surprising to know that entertainment attendants and related workers also come under this category. They mostly work in theme parks, casinos or gambling industries, etc.

8. Those working as hotel desk clerks are also among the lowest-paid jobs in America. The educational qualification needed is a high school diploma. But in a bigger hotel with college degree requirements, the pay is much better.

9. The profession of nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides are such careers that do not require a college degree. Some may be certified for instance in hospice centers.

10. It is to be noted that personal care aides earn the lowest wage in the US which is $500 weekly. Though there is a demand for it, unskilled ones are not paid a good amount.

11. Child care workers employed by parents take care of their feeding, dressing, or just watching them the whole day end up getting low pay. 

12. Waiters and waitresses:- This is a professionally inexperienced-dominated area. Most rely on tips to make ends meet.

13. Hand packers and packagers:- This is one of the lowest paying jobs in the US because automation is taking over this job eventually.

14. Cooks:- food preparation talent is mostly learned practically on the job training though they may go through culinary schools. This is the reason why it remains a low-paying job at the initial stage.

15. There are food servers everywhere. For instance, there are cafeterias in hostels, hostels, hospitals, etc. These people working here get less pay because most in this profession are part-time workers.

16. Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop:- This job does not require any formal degree and therefore pays less pay.

17. Maids and housekeeping cleaners:- These jobs are in huge demand but these are also the lowest paying jobs. 

18. Cashiers:- This job is also one of the most vulnerable to Automation and one of the low-paying jobs in the US.

19. Prep cooks:- Those workers who do the manual work of chopping, cutting or peeling, etc, work under the supervision of cooks. Therefore, this job comes under the low-paying jobs in the US.

20. Attendants and bartender helpers:- Their job tasks consist of cleaning tables and providing cooks and bartenders with the ingredients they need. This comes under an unskilled job and hence comes under low-paying jobs.

21. Dishwashers:- Again this is a low-skill job and is paid very less which is $23,000 a year approximately.

22. Laundry and dry-cleaning workers:- They are the lowest-paid workers in the country.


Some of the jobs in America ask for different criteria to meet their job requirements. The difference in educational levels makes a big difference in the payment. As a result, some jobs pay less than others. A job that asks for a doctorate or master’s will typically pay more than the others who don’t ask for such a thing. The performance-based jobs also pay according to their commissions earned, therefore the payments also vary due to that. The low payments of some jobs are because of the low-key jobs that they do. There are all types of jobs in every industry that do not require a bachelor’s degree or a huge skill-set. The jobs that are manual or repetitive end up getting fewer payments. Some of the jobs in the US are extremely low-paid due to all these factors.


1. What is considered the minimum wage in the United States?

The minimum wage set by US federal law is 7.35 dollars an hour. As of 2021, the least paid state in the US is Georgia and Wyoming with a Minimum wage of 5.15.

2. What are the criteria available to avail the minimum wage in the United States?

You can avail of it only if you work under an employer who comes under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

3. Which states will increase their minimum wage to 15 dollars over the next four years starting from 2022 in the US?

Connecticut, Florida, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Jersey.

Why Do Some American Jobs Pay So Less?

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