Jobs Where People Work the Most for the Least

Print Email

The average person in the U.S. works just over 2,000 hours per year, or 39.5 per week, and is paid $37,128 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some occupations, however, require long days and night shifts, amounting to hundreds of extra hours, yet they pay the same or even less than most occupations. 24/7 Wall St. has identified the jobs with the longest hours and the worst pay.

Of the nearly 800 job categories listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 48 occupations require at least 2,100 hours annually — roughly 100 more than the national average. Most of these positions also are paid very well, averaging more than $80,000 per year.

Read: Jobs Where People Work the Work The Most and Pay the Least

Only seven positions require at least 2,100 hours or more each year, yet pay the same or less than the national average. These jobs compensate poorly because they generally require only a high school education. Parts salesmen, who work 2,101 hours each year, can get a position directly out of high school. Similarly, tractor-trailer drivers, who work nearly 200 hours more each year than the national average, do not require a college degree. Some jobs, such as paramedics and EMTs, require a strenuous certification process, but still can be achieved without a college degree.

These jobs have longer hours because they tend to require prolonged shifts and because the industry does not observe regular working hours. Set designers work overtime to get theater productions ready for the public. They remain on call while the show is running as well. Truck drivers are paid by miles driven instead of hours worked. While the number of hours drivers work is heavily regulated, the pay-per-distance compensation increases the number of hours the average driver is willing to be on the road.

24/7 Wall St. relied on Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Data to identify the average hours worked annually by every major position in the U.S. To determine the jobs that worked the longest hours for the least pay, we took positions that require at least 2,100 hours each year and excluded those with a pay of $40,000 or more annually.

These are the jobs that require the most work for the lowest pay.