In your opinion in what ways is low education related to low-paying jobs?
If someone is stuck in a low-paying job with no benefits and little chance of
promotion what can she do?
The Career Doctor responds:
I have read a couple of books about low-wage and underpaid workers and the information about the reality of low-wage workers is
sobering. For a first-hand account about trying to survive on these minimum-wage jobs
read Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.
And for a detailed review of all the statistics and research on the subject read Beth Shulman's
Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans and Their Families.
It's a bit staggering to consider — that one in four workers in the U.S. labor in a low-wage job.
Low-wage jobs are ones that pay under $10 an hour and produce an annual income — if they
are full-time — of about $22350 the poverty level for a family of four (as of 2011). And the reality
is that many of these jobs are not full-time because employers can cut costs by offering
little or no benefits to part-time employees.
Here's just a small sample of low-wage jobs: retail clerks and cashiers fast food workers
wait staff child-care workers and education assistants nurses aides security guards
hotel maids janitors agricultural workers and many more…
Yes education could help these low-wage workers as more than half of them have a at best — and about a quarter never finished high school. But education and
training are just a small part of the solution. These job-seekers need career coaching to
develop the skills needed to move beyond these dead-end jobs. I recommend going to the
local Career One-Stop Center in your area to meet with a professional counselor. I think
learning the value of transferable skills and networking is essential.
A growing number of employers have programs designed to assist low-wage
workers — from providing benefits (such as emergency loans healthcare etc.) to training programs — and you need to identify these employers and attempt to land a job with
one of them.
Get all the details including statistics and resources in this section of Quintessential Careers: Low Wage Jobs:
Tools Statistics Resources.