Monday, August 25, 2008

Is America Underpaid?

(from FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

Half of Americans Say They Are Underpaid

Gallup Poll results of telephone interviews with 557 American adults, 18 years and older, employed full- or part-time, conducted Aug. 7-10, 2008, showed that 51 percent of Americans feel they are underpaid for the work they do. Forty-six percent feel they are paid about the right amount, while three percent feel they are overpaid.

Middle- and lower-income Americans are more likely to say they are underpaid. Sixty-two percent of those making less than $75,000 a year say they are underpaid compared to 38 percent of those making more than $75,000 a year. Surprisingly, the difference between men and women on this measure is much smaller, with 47 percent of men and 55 percent of women saying they are underpaid.

There is little difference by race or by education in perception of
being underpaid. Fifty-one percent of both whites and non-whites say
they feel underpaid. Similarly, 49 percent of those with high school
educations or less say they are underpaid, compared to 52 percent of
those with at least some college education.


My thoughts:

There are certainly a good number of people who are underpaid. I am uncertain that it is 51%. How often is our perception of "being paid enough" dictated by our spending habits? With a nation in debt - prior to the housing market collapse - how much of this is simply people not being able to make ends meet because of bad financial decisions and thereby thinking they aren't paid enough? The study doesn't go into that, but it would be interesting to be able to dig deeper. I would also like to see a split between urban/rural as well as regions of the country.

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1 comment:

Joey said...

I don't think anyone is underpaid. Many people don't make as much as they'd like, but the free market dictates what we are worth. If someone complains about not getting paid enough, they need to either convince their boss of that or find an employer willing to pay them that. If you're unable to find anyone willing to pay you what you think you're worth, then you aren't worth what you think you are.

Free market philosophy is a little harsh sometimes, but I think it's true. The same scenario applies to other things in life, such as products we buy. Many gaming systems start out at around $300 but not enough people are willing to buy them to generate a profit, so companies are forced to drop their prices for the gaming systems to $100 to $200. They aren't being "underpaid" for their product; more accurately, they were overcharging for it before. It works the same way with salaries.