Most Overpaid and Underpaid Jobs in America

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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

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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.

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See the full survey results and salaries spreadsheet.

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