Sample Composition Research Paper on Low Wages

Low Wages

  1. Significance of the Problem

As the world progresses day by day, new technologies are invented. There has been increased industrialization even in the places that were never thought of in the past. Migrations have also created a uniformed mixture, which has seen the country become inhabited by people of different races, cultures, and languages.

As the world is being industrialized, so are the employment opportunities. This has seen many people employed in many private and public sectors. However, one challenge has always stood out. In the beginning, there was the slave trade. People were being captured and detained in places where they had to work for long hours without pay or with just food for upkeep. This ended with civilization and adequate laws. However, the menace has silently sprung up again into a different form but equally haunting. It is a low wage pay. Workers are working hard and for long hours, but they receive low wages that are not proportional to the work that they do.

This paper provides the reasons for the low pay wages, the factors that are promoting the condition as well as the recommendations that need to be put into practice for the better pay of the workers. The problem of low pay has an adverse effect on the wellbeing of an individual as well as the family of such person. Families are not able to support their everyday money requirements because the family earns low wages. In addition, an individual feels exploited and therefore has low morale towards the job he/she is doing hence may end up giving up or depressed because of the situation.

This problem has to be eliminated. Awareness should be done so that the employers can be sensitized on the need to raise the wages of the low wages employees. It is through this awareness that the government and other stakeholders can learn of the plight of the employees who receive the low wages for plans to raise their wages. If this is not done, level of productivity is likely to decline since the morale of the workers lowers. The lives of the workers who receive low wages will continue wallowing in desolate conditions and displeasing standards of living.

  1. Historical Background

Until the early 1900s, people worked for long hours in a day while receiving low wages. In the 1930s, the labor movements were formed and started gaining momentum. This resulted when the workers came together to raise the working standards in which they were working in. These unions were to oversee the pay of the workers and other standards they were working in. This is because the workers saw the need for a more bargaining power that individuals could no attain (Ricjket 463).

However, unions in North America had to face a very great uphill. The employers failed to recognize these unions. This was coupled with the courts always rendering these unions illegal. It was until 1935 that the National Labor Relation Act and the formation of other laws that the employers were required to bargain with the unions. Today, unions are powerful in promoting the pay of the workers all over the world. However, there are still organizations that offer low wages to their workers despite the laws that govern the sector.

There are international labor laws set by the international labor organization (ILO) that address the plight of the workers. These are the standards upon which the labor laws in a given country are to be set and implemented for the better working condition of both the employer and the employee.

  1. Analysis of the problem

Over the recent years, wages have become more unequal. The wages gap has increasingly grown, which has seen some people benefit from the high wages and the majority trail in terms of wages. The low wages are a result of institutional change, a change in the labor force and the increased declining of the bargaining power of the human resources. The increment in the worker’s inequality has had an adverse effect on workers who are at the lower end in the wage distribution. Many low-wage workers receive salaries that are so low that it cannot support their decent living standards.

The problem of low-wage is a menace. This reality of low-wage life has many consequences in both the short and long-term. Parents earning low wages in most times cannot cater for the basic essential family expenses. They are not able to pay the school fees for their children; they can neither enrich their children’s activities nor be able to pay for the basic health and wellbeing of their children. This is made worse by the fact that low wages are almost often accompanied with no health premiums since the wage itself cannot be able to cater for the premiums. It also finds that most low-wage jobs have inflexible schedules and hence the parents working in these jobs do not have time with their children. The time that a parent requires supporting and encourages his/her children is missed. This has led to children feeling lonely, and some have resolved to crime issues. This has led to the youths in the low-wage earning families to bear children at a young age. This can be attributed to lack of correct parental advices and monitoring (Immervol 345).

The youth in the low-wage families are likely to leave studies and drop out of school. This is because their families are not able to educate effectively them from the low wages that the family receives. This has an impact in their life since they miss the necessity of life: education. These children have a high chance of developing health problems such as childhood obesity. This is due the fact that the family is not able to offer effectively the balanced diet required for the health growth of the children.

In a low wage earning family, children have been robbed of their youth. The parents spend most of their times in the long hour work for little pay and cannot be able to hire a nun. Children are now taking care of themselves and their siblings. In the process, they ply the roles of the adults, hence diverting their time and attention from education, social and personal development as well as from extracurricular activities for their physical wellbeing and talent exploitation.

Low wages in our modern society have been perpetuated in many senses. However, this is different from one country to another. In this paper, general factors have been discussed which are likely to be found across all the areas where low wage laborers are found. They are the personal characteristics and the context of the job and industrial relation characteristics. The personal characteristics of an employee that has contributed to the low wages include the age, the level of education and the qualification, and the length of the service with the employer and the marital status.

The younger workers are considered to have less accumulated work experience and therefore they are entitled to low wages unlike those older workers who are considered to have more experience in the same field, hence considered experts, and therefore entitled to higher pay. Workers who have a lower level of education and qualification are considered to have the low level of knowledge and the skills that are needed in that specific job and consequently on the production. This justifies the low wages that they are entitled to. In the same class of the people who receive low wages are the workers who have stayed for a shorter time with the current employee. Workers with shorter service are said to have shorter relevant knowledge and work experience needed in that particular field and hence they only receive low wages (Bluestone 45)

In most countries, men are ahead in terms of pay. Women here are considered to offer less service to men. On the same note, in some countries, there are jobs, which can be done only by men. Such jobs include the managerial sector where opinions and resolutions are imperative. These are the jobs that are highly paying. Women are only entitled to such jobs as secretarial and office messenger, which in some cases are the examples of low paying jobs. The case can be severe in those regions that women face gender discrimination in that even if they do jobs at a high hierarchy; they are paid slowly primarily because of their gender. Immigrant workers are paid low wages especially due to racial discrimination. Married women are the most common among the low-wage receiving end as compared to the unmarried women.

On the side of the job and industrial relations, workers can receive low wages due to lack of overtime and shift work. The lack of these forms of work plans reduces the amount of extra earnings one can make, which can raise the earnings. The hierarchical position of the worker can also result in the worker getting a low wage. For example, those workers that are in positions where they are not supervising any other workers are not entitled to any extra pay, which will have resulted in the additional pay, hence their wages always remain low.

The trade union in the workplace is a very essential tool in the determination of the pay of its members. If the unions are strong and functioning in the bargaining of their workers’ pay, then the wages escalate. Consequently, if the unions are weak, or/and lack the very basics of bargaining for a better pay, their members receive low wages. Some workers are placed in contracts, which pay slowly as compared to their counterparts, the permanent workers, who receive higher pays. The size of the establishment also encourages the low wages received by the workers in that the small the enterprise with low profits, the low the wages of the workers. It has also been established that workers in the private sector receive low wages as compared to those who work in the public sectors in the same levels (Terjo 786)

Other factors that have facilitated the low wage in the modern society include the part-time work where people who work for fewer hours receive low overall pay. The jobs created by the government employment schemes, the homework or the temporary works may have a lower hourly wage than the standard hourly rates. This is because those kinds of jobs may have low productivity and hence low overall wages.

This problem of the low wages continues to exist because the majority of the people have not attained the level of education and the qualification that is needed to raise them above those standards of low pay. In addition to this, there are young people, who are still students who are working in part time and hence the total number of hours that they are working is low, hence resulting in the low pay. Some countries are still experiencing racial and gender discrimination, which has seen foreign workers and women, receive low wages because of their nationality and the gender.

People working in the establishments where the expected returns are low are still receiving low wages despite the number of hours they are working or the experience they have in that field. The problem of low wages has been in existence mainly because more people are not able to reach for the level of education required for promotions. This can be because such level of education is expensive for some to attain or because the nature and working hours of the job are not favorable for any further studies. The weak laws of some governments concerning the discrimination based on race and gender have contributed to the practice of the low pay in the modern jobs.

However, not all people see low wage be a problem worth the attention of all nations. Some people have argued that low-wage is, in fact, efficient allocation of resources and that the minimum wage and obstruction to this. In their view, low levels of productivity especially in the service provision require that the workers receive low wages so as to generate a profit to equal that one generated in high productivity occupations. These people argue further that the workers earning low wages does mostly the unskilled labor, and this has provided a gateway for the less qualified workers to the employment who will otherwise have no wages at all (Stevenson 465).

This controversy remains unsolved. However, the general agreement is that the low wage-earning worker is less settled to perform the work assigned efficiently as compared to a worker who receives the right amount of wages according to the work done.

  1. Recommended Solutions

The present picture of the workers who earn low wages, and the future picture look dingy. However, there are some factors that offer hope for better wages and better benefits than the current situation. From a career view, one can consider doing the following:

Identify Skills That Can Be Transferred

These can include skills one has gained in any stage of life that are applicable to the job one is in. Such skills include parenting, hobbies, sports and projects. In this way, one can work efficiently and are promoted from the position that he/she is only entitled to low wages to the point where one can receive reasonable higher wages.

Pursuing educational opportunities

Furthering the level of education brings about several other beneficial aspects. One stands at a better chance of securing good paying jobs or even a promotion and be able to earn well. The earnings of a less educated worker have always fallen behind than one of a more educated worker. However, this remains a challenge because most employees are not able to get free time for studies considering their working hours. Some cannot raise the amount required for this study. The solution here is to look for those employers who can offer education grants and educational leave so as to further the studies.

Setting of Minimum Wages

Minimum wage is defined as the least incentive a worker can be paid in any organization. This is different from country to another based on the economy of a given country. The minimum wage is vital in improving the pay situation of the workers since no worker can be paid under the line drawn. The absence of the minimum wage in some countries like Germany has seen to promote the low wage. The collective agreement that may be made cannot apply to all employees and hence the issue of low-wage has prevailed (Reiner 34).

However, critics argue that the minimum wage sets standards too high hence resulted in total unemployment of some people. For example, the minimum wage in the US is $5.15 per hour. This means that the company whose returns are $4 per hour cannot afford to employ an unskilled worker hence will drop him/her completely rather than working for a loss.

In the last few decades, the labor unions have lost their power dramatically. It is a general and important view that if these unions are given power, they can organize and raise the low-wage workers through bargains with the employers. The low earning workers can also form unions in their places of work, which will oversee the payments and fair deal of its workers. Unions represent a united voice, which can be heard well.

  1. Conclusion

The effect of low wages can be felt sharp among many workers. It is a social problem both to the individual and to the family at large. Quality life cannot be afforded with the low wages since an individual lacks adequate health cover, a decent meal, and even the basics like clothing and housing. The matter is worse when the person receiving the low pay has a family that depends on him/her. A person cannot be able to offer quality education to the children, nor is he/she able to enroll them in the healthcare problem. The result is increased crimes, school dropout, and teenage pregnancies.

This situation however can be rectified through government efforts as well as individual efforts. Creation of minimum wage, increasing the level of one’s skills and education as well as forming workers’ unions can be a quick solution to the low wages earned.




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Dall, Caroline W. H and Lucy, Stone. “Woman’s Right to Labor,” Or, Low Wages and Hard Work: In Three Lectures, Delivered in Boston, November, 1859. Boston: Walker, Wise, and Co, 1860. Internet resource.

Field, Frank. Are Low Wages Inevitable? Nottingham: Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation for Spokesman Books, 1977. Print.

Immervoll, Herwig. Minimum Wages, Minimum Labor Costs and the Tax Treatment of Low Wage Employment. Bonn: IZA, 2007. Internet resource.

Meulders, Danièle, Robert, Plasman and François, Rycx. Minimum Wages, Low Pay, and Unemployment. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire [England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Print.

Riemer, David R. The Prisoners of Welfare: Liberating America’s Poor from Unemployment and Low Wages. New York: Praeger, 1988. Print.

Rijckeghem, Caroline, and Beatrice, Weder. Corruption and the Rate of Temptation: Do Low Wages in the Civil Service Cause Corruption? Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, Research Dept, 1997. Print.

Stevenson, Mary H. Determinants of Low Wages for Women Workers. New York, NY, USA: Praeger, 1984. Print.

Trejo, Stephen J. Why Do Mexican-Americans Earn Low Wages? Santa Barbara, CA: Chicano/Latino Working Poor Project, Center for Chicano Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1997. Print.