The Most Underpaid Job in America, Revealed

We’re all familiar with the whole “I don’t get paid enough to care” mentality even if you are, in fact, paid a competitive wage. But it’s easy to feel undervalued at work when your inbox is flooded, and your PTO day seems years away. Glassdoor reports that the average employee could be earning $7,528, or 13.3%, more per year than their current annual base salary. So, your suspicions of under-compensation might actually have legs if you work in certain industries like healthcare and technology.

Are you underpaid at work? How much more could you be earning each year? Gathered and reported by Glassdoor, here are the 15 most underpaid jobs in America.

15. Tax manager


Job opportunities for accountants will increase by 10% in the next 10 years. | Dutko/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 13.9% or $17,330
  • Current Median Base Salary: $107,019
  • Job outlook: 10% growth

Tax advisors, CPAs, and financial advisors are all in high-demand. Job opportunities for Accountants, for example, are expected to jump 10% over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, Glassdoor data says most of these people will be underpaid by a whopping $17,000 or more annually, as a tax manager’s current market value is actually slated at $124,349.

Next: This job is forgoing $10,000 annually

14. Web developer

person sitting at table using laptop.

Web developers are actually underpaid.| warrengoldswain/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 14.5% or $10,773
  • Current Median Base Salary: $63,500
  • Job outlook: 15% growth

Only two in five employees negotiate salaries when being offered a job. This could mean losing out on some serious money, especially for those in web development. BLS data says the industry is ballooning, yet employees in the field are paid an average of $10,773 less than appropriate per year. A more accurate salary is closer to $74,273, according to Glassdoor.

Next: A popular part-time job for retirees is also underpaid

13. Consultant

Seniors with manager

Consultants command a high price, but many could be making even more money. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 14.5% or $14,462
  • Current Median Base Salary: $85,000
  • Job outlook: 6% growth

Consultants come in varying forms, but it seems you may be selling yourself short, regardless of your specialty. Consultants could earn up to $99,462 based on current market value. Instead, the median base salary is more than $14,000 lower.

Next: Talkin’ tech again

12. UX designer

man working on computer

UX designers are underpaid, according to Glassdoor. | Gzorgz/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 14.7% or $14,875
  • Current Median Base Salary: $86,000
  • Job outlook: 15% growth

UX designers are a subset of web developers who create elegant, user-friendly software that customers will enjoy using. Like most tech jobs, the job outlook over the next 10 years is pleasing. But get comfortable with negotiating a higher salary for these roles. Glassdoor lists a UX designer’s current market value nearly $15,000 higher than what’s out there now, at $100,875 per year.

Next: A job with six-figure potential

11. Program manager

Mature man doing finances in home office

The job outlook is strong for program managers, but salaries could be higher. | Siri Stafford/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 14.8% or $15,302
  • Current Median Base Salary: $88,000
  • Job outlook: 12% growth

BLS does not classify project managers as its own occupation. Instead, project managers are often counted as construction managers or computer and information systems managers. In both cases, program or project managers are experiencing a welcoming market growth but are under-compensated for their efforts by 14.8%. Data suggests those looking for a job in this industry are worth roughly $103,302 annually.

Next: This industry is underpaid

10. Communications manager

woman at cafe using laptop

Communications managers are valued professionals in many organizations. |

  • Amount underpaid: 14.8% or $13,334
  • Current Median Base Salary: $76,498
  • Job outlook: 6% growth

The need for people who can effectively create and translate information to the public amidst all the advertising noise out there is high. The current value of these professionals tops $89,831. This is usually a female-dominated industry which could explain why communication managers are the 10th most underpaid job in America. Glassdoor found only 32% of women negotiated a salary offer, compared to 48% of men.

Next: Why public relations needs a raise

9. Marketing manager

Online coupons

Marketing managers help spread the word about a company’s products and services. | Sitthiphong/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 15.0% or $14,107
  • Current Median Base Salary: $80,000
  • Job outlook: 10% growth

Marketing managers plan programs to generate interest in products, services, or brands. Much like their colleagues in communications, marketers are vastly underpaid. However, your advertising skills are a hot commodity in the workforce, so it would benefit interested applicants to know their market worth is actually closer to $94,107, not $80,000.

Next: The most in-demand job is also vastly underpaid

8. Medical assistant

Doctor talking to staff

Medical assistants make a base salary of about $30,000 a year. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 15.1% or $5,320
  • Current Median Base Salary: $30,000
  • Job outlook: 29% growth

According to BLS, Medical Assistant is the most in-demand — and underpaid — job on this list. With a 10-year projected growth of 29%, Glassdoor thinks these employees could be earning more than $5,300 more per year than they currently do.

Next: A sizeable difference in pay

7. Software engineer

software engineer

The six-figure salary looks high, but software engineers might actually be underpaid. |

  • Amount underpaid: 15.2% or $17,943
  • Current Median Base Salary: $100,000
  • Job outlook: 24% growth

Tech roles continue to have a strong presence on this list of most underpaid jobs in America. Software engineers are no exception. Software developer and engineer postings are flooding the job market thanks to an outlook that is expected to jump a staggering 24% between 2016 and 2026. But know your worth. Fair market value for these positions tops $117,943.

Next: Another tech job that could use a pay raise

6. Web designer

web designer

Web designers create and design websites. |

  • Amount underpaid: 15.5% or $9,508
  • Current Median Base Salary: $52,000
  • Job outlook: 15% growth

The tech trend continues with web designers. Web designers do exactly what the name suggests: design and create websites. Employees of this type are currently valued at $61,508, but Glassdoor says most are paid more than $9,500 less than that.

Next: A hefty market value

5. Pharmacist


Pharmacists have a market value of more than $140,000, but many are paid less than that. | Hybrid Images/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 16.5% or $23,261
  • Current Median Base Salary: $118,000
  • Job outlook: 6% growth

Admittedly, pharmacists enjoy a comfortable six-figure base salary, but data says that’s not high enough. These workers are underpaid by a whopping $23,261 — nearly triple what Glassdoor lists as the average salary amount for under-compensated workers. Current market value for those administering prescription medications to the public is a hefty $141,261.

Next: Your salary could be much higher

4. Java developer

Senior working on computer

High demand for Java developers means salaries should be higher. | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 17.7% or $16,792
  • Current Median Base Salary: $ 78,000
  • Job outlook: 24% growth

Java developer is the fourth-most underpaid job. Its median salary of $78,000 is already what most Americans think they need to be paid to be happy, but soaring demand prompts a potential market-value pay of much higher, at nearly $95,000 per year.

Next: Underpaid by 20%

3. Research assistant

Paperwork in a filing cabinet

Research assistants make about $30,000 a year. |

  • Amount underpaid: 20.9% or $7,935
  • Current Median Base Salary: $30,000
  • Job outlook: 23% growth

Research assistant is a broad term used to describe employees who collect, record, and maintain source documentation most commonly in medical and information industries. It’s not typically a high-paying job, but it is vastly under-salaried. Based on demand, a fairer salary would be nearly $8,000 higher at $37,935.

Next: Bad news for these professionals

2. Certified nursing assistant

Nurse smiling at Patient

CNAs are the second most underpaid workers in America. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount underpaid: 21.3% or $6,505
  • Current Median Base Salary: $24,000
  • Job outlook: 11% growth

Burnout is typical in the healthcare industry thanks to grueling, demanding work and long hours. It’s for this reason, unfortunately, that suicide rates are abnormally high in this profession. Glassdoor also ranks a CNA as the second most underpaid employee in America by about $6,500 per year.

Next: The No.1 underpaid job in America

1. Emergency medical technician

Emergency Room

EMTs help save people’s lives, but they don’t get paid much to do it. | Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

  • Amount underpaid: 21.9% or $7,771
  • Current Median Base Salary: $27,636
  • Job outlook: 15% growth

Emergency medical technician (EMT) is the most underpaid job in America, despite dedicating much of their time to save lives and care for the public. With a current median salary of $27,636, Glassdoor estimates that fair pay could be 22% higher, or roughly $7,700, based on current demand.

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