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Survey: Nearly Half of U.S. Workers Feel Underemployed, Underpaid

  • 47 percent of respondents in recent survey say they feel underemployed or underpaid in current job
  • Results reflect a general restlessness in the labor force as numerous people quit to pursue other opportunities
  • Survey also highlights certain deficiencies in higher education and skills-building opportunities

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Nearly half of American workers feel underemployed and underpaid, according to a recent survey by the educational software provider Jenzabar. The findings reflect a general restlessness that has contributed to a “Great Resignation” as millions of workers quit their jobs in search of other opportunities.

The survey of 2,208 working adults during the third quarter of 2021 found that 47 percent were dissatisfied with their current job, with respondents feeling that they were qualified for more responsibilities or not earning enough money. Thirty-seven percent said they desired a new job or a job in a different field.

The survey also identified some dissatisfaction with higher education opportunities, with four out of five saying they believe it needs to be more affordable and 23 percent saying they did not think the amount of student loan debt they took on was worth it for the types of job opportunities they were able to secure. Thirty-two percent of those with a college degree said they did not think it adequately prepared them for their current job or the type of jobs they wish to pursue.

  • 56 percent said they would sign up for training or education to pursue a more lucrative career if it were affordable, accessible, and easy to do on their own time
  • Among those expressing interest in continuing their education, 59 percent said they would like to do so through hybrid or digital options
  • 45 percent said they believe that such educational and job training options, as well as job opportunities, have been more limited since pandemic

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