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13 Worst Paying Jobs with the Lowest Incomes

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Although North America’s in its highest rate of wage growth in over a decade, there are still countless jobs that pay out low wages. There are still many people working at $30,000/year and under, not earning enough to cover even basic necessities. Looking at weekly earnings for full-time work, salary earnings, and benefits, here are some of the worst paying jobs in the country.

1. Recycling

There are more than 6,300 Canadians working in recycling as sorters and collectors, oftentimes being paid at a low wage. Unlike waste collectors or waste management sorters, recycling is growing at a fast rate although a lot of its employment growth has not translated to wages and remains subsidized by government stakeholders.

2. Vehicle cleaners

Vehicle cleaners and equipment cleaners work in automotive care shops and car dealerships. They’re one of the worst paying jobs in the United States and are paid similarly low in Canada. Further contributing to their low wages, formal education is not required for vehicle cleaning or equipment cleaning and almost anyone can perform this kind of work with some training. There are 23,000 Canadians working under the category of ‘vehicle cleaning’.

3. Hairdressers

Hairdressers, barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists require a license and additional education to practice. It’s a necessary service for a lot of people which has helped foster above-average employment growth. Even so, hairdressers do not get paid very much and is considered one of the worst paying jobs there is. Currently, estimates suggest there are roughly 30,000 Canadians working under these titles.

4. Packaging

Packaging workers and filling machine operators work in warehouses and factories handling consumer goods and food packaging. Although a high school diploma is usually required as a minimum education level and the job itself can be very labour-intensive, their wages are also surprisingly low. These workers make be required to work overnight and occasional overtime, handling foods and goods for a low wage.

5. Personal care workers

Have you ever been walking through the mall and have run into a personal appearance worker trying to sell you a hairdryer, working at a nail salon, or with some sort of other personal care product – although many of these workers appeal to luxury and high-wage consumers, the workers themselves are one of the worst paying jobs.

6. Cashiers

Cashiers are found everywhere, including in clothing stores, retail, fast food, and elsewhere. Cashier work employs roughly 330,000 Canadians from cost to cost although the pay is low. Cashiers are trained on the job, require some understanding of math, and usually have to go through a background check. As is the case with many of the worst paying jobs, the turnover rate’s high.

7. Movie theater workers

Movie theater workers may get some added bonus by being around movies, and potentially seeing some free movies now and again, however they maintain low wages. Many of these positions require no education and are considered entry-level work.

8. Agricultural workers

Agricultural workers can include farmers, workers who help farmers, any agricultural physical labour jobs, heavy machinery workers, and more. This type of work requires no formal education and with so many variables playing into the wages these workers earn, wage growth is minimal year-to-year and in most cases, non-existent.

9. Bakers

Unlike other entries in the worst paying jobs, bakers require an apprenticeship or culinary education. Even so, bakers do not make very much money when they come to graduate to performing the job. Canada has roughly 15,000 bakers, many of which are passionate about delivering creatively designed baked goods to their clientele. It’s passion like this which makes it tolerable for some to be earning such a low wage in comparison with other jobs.

10. Tourism entertainment

Miscellaneous entertainment workers and tourism entertainment attendant are concentrated in areas such as Toronto, Vancouver, and in less populated yet still tourism-friendly areas such as Charlottetown, PEI. They also work at casinos, in theatres, and in gambling industries, tailored to tourism and hospitality. They are some of the worst paying jobs in the country, well below the weekly average.

11. Fast food workers

Despite being some of the biggest corporations in the world, brands like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Subway, Wendy’s, and others pay out some of the lowest wages. These roles usually require no education and a lot of the work is part-time. In Canada, there are more than 270,000 people working in fast food and related server jobs. Hours are long, the work is not always easy, and the paycheck is always smaller than one would hope.

12. Bartenders

Bartenders make surprisingly very little although at times, tips can mark a significant increase in what they walk away with. There are thousands of bartenders working in Canada’s bars and restaurants, a lot of which enjoy the atmosphere and have a passion for putting together drinks. Although wages can be low for this type of work, this can be another case – for some – of the passion and enjoyability of the work providing some comfort to the unsatisfactory wage.

13. Hosts or hostesses

Hosts and hostesses don’t end up taking away very much money, presumably because these roles are usually fulfilled by younger people, sometimes in their first jobs, and/or who are inexperienced. Hosts are not doing the heavy lifting servers, waiters, or kitchen staff are doing, further devaluing their role in a restaurant environment.

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