Most Overpaid and Underpaid Jobs in America

Other than minimum-wage workers, who should earn more?

'Waitress taking order, selective focus, canon 1Ds mark III'
Getty Images Waitresses were considered one of the 10 most underpaid jobs.

By Andy Kiensz, Mike Nudelman and Gus Lubin

People often have strong feelings about how much different types of professionals should earn. Notably, a driving factor in the Occupy Wall Street movement was the belief that corporate executives and finance workers earned far more than their fair share.

In a new Business Insider/SurveyMonkey Audience poll, we showed the mean income for about 50 occupations to about 400 respondents and asked them to rate these jobs as very overpaid, somewhat overpaid, paid about right, somewhat underpaid, or very underpaid.

The results were not exactly surprising.

77.3% of people said that financial managers, with a mean income of $123,260, were very or somewhat overpaid. CEOs, financial analysts, real estate brokers, lawyers, and other professionals were not far behind.

89.9% of people said that agricultural workers, with a mean income of $21,920, were very or somewhat underpaid. Jobs in childcare, restaurants, factories, and schools were among the most underpaid jobs.

See the 7 top jobs in finance for 2014

Check it out:

Popular opinion has a limited effect on income in America, but it is worth considering. Politicians can promote equality through policies like a higher minimum wage and higher taxes on the rich, and companies might consider raising wages themselves to build goodwill and a stronger workforce in the long run or if the government paid them to do it.

We also asked a different set of respondents to rate jobs without showing them mean income, which for many high end jobs produced stronger opinions that those jobs are overpaid, suggesting that people think things are more unbalanced than they really are.

Where are the pharmacist jobs?

See the full survey results and salaries spreadsheet.
Forbes List Reveals The Most Overpaid Actors

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bdgrizcp

Overpaid: the Kardashians.

Underpaid: the maintenance guy at your apartment complex. The one that snags the hair out of you sink drain and fixes your air conditioning on the hottest night of the year.

January 18 2014 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Theresa

Why are we forgetting Congressmen and Senators and governors?? Trust me these guys do not buy their suits from Kmart. I don't think they know where the closest one is for that matter. Between their salaries and their perks it's a wonder that when they vote for a salary increase no one speaks out! They are public servants.Terrydould

January 17 2014 at 5:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Theresa's comment
ICHABOD

Amen! The fake representatives of the rest of us are living high on the hog and faking giving it their all for their fattened pay. But, I suppose by nomenclature, a representative doesn't actually have a job. More or less a paid hobby!

January 17 2014 at 5:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stvhndyman

Why didn't Congress make this list of overpaid? Biggest "do nothing" Congress of all time!

January 17 2014 at 4:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
surffmaster

Movie Stars???????

January 17 2014 at 1:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to surffmaster's comment
Mitch

How are movie stars overpaid? They work on a contract for services. The parties negotiate a mutually agreeable contract. What could be more fair? The highest paid stars get a percentage of what the film makes. Again, how could that be any more fair?

January 17 2014 at 7:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marinusl

The current most overpaid job is in the white house right now, when the only thing on his mind, along with his cronies around him is getting Hillary elected in 2016. As an executive he should be meeting with the members of congress to compromise, instead of dictating. The most underpaid are our military enlisted personnel who put their lives on the line whenever called upon, while their families have to scrape by.

January 17 2014 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Security Man

Funny that security guards did not even make the list. People who are put in high crime areas, alone and unarmed, to protect personal property. Nearly as many security guards are killed every year as police officers, and more than firemen; yet, they make just better than minimum wage. Go figure!

January 16 2014 at 10:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
janka51

most over paid is oprah wimphy

January 16 2014 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to janka51's comment
bigurnge

You meant Opracsist Winfrey, didn't you?

January 16 2014 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eeverettm

Most overpaid - pompous celebrities.

January 16 2014 at 9:17 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Susan Bond

Hey.... what about school bus drivers? (Just saying) ; )

January 16 2014 at 7:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
William J

Kick me. I don't think anyone is overpaid or underpaid. If you have the skills to earn big money good for you. If you don't then you can get off your a"" and learn the skills it takes. This is America. You can grow up to be anything you want to be. Quit whining and grow up.

January 16 2014 at 5:37 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to William J's comment
tazgadon

Right the heck with the old and disabled and the just plain people who never had it in them, or you and me if we ever lose our skills...right.

January 16 2014 at 5:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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