Academic Master


Effect of low wages’ jobs on the self-esteem of fresh graduates


Education is the utmost requirement for the personality grooming as well as economic benefits. Everybody who joins an undergraduate program in university has some dreams in his mind about his future. Students work hard to complete their degrees with high score to achieve their dreams.

In Pakistan, the number of educated people at graduate level is quite high but according to that number employments are limited. This causes job dissatisfaction and also abolishes the relationship with the co-workers. (Farooq S., et. al., 2008)

This study aimed to explore the effect of low wages’ job on self-esteem of fresh graduates in terms of satisfaction level, hope level, productivity and wellbeing using a constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006; 2014).

Literature review:

The findings of the study conducted by Lee Y. and Sabharwal M. (2014) suggested that increased income cannot cover the loss in satisfaction in job from lesser education–job match in the non-profitable sector and public sector as much as it covers in the for-profit division.

Job satisfaction is related to the personality and salary package of the employees. It can be improved by taking care of employees’ personality and salary packages. (Fesharaki G.M, 2013)

A study concluded a major subsidiary effect on income through job-related self-efficacy and subsidiary effects on job satisfaction through self-efficacy and career commitment. (Hirschi A., 2015)

Generally, the evidence advocates that it is suitable to consider the cost of prospective job losses from an upper lowest salary contrary to the remunerations of salary raises for other workers. (Neumark D., 2015)

Wages, training and incentive have a progressive bond with career performance however wages have a stronger connection with career performance than training and incentive. (Idrees Z., 2015) Salary level disturbs workers’ self-esteem, which then, disturbs the employees’ performance. (Gardner G. D., 2004)

It is indicated in a study that the employment rate is not having any effect by the funding system. However, it seems to have amplified the possibility of part-time employees earning full-time pay. (Huttunen K. et. al., 2010)

Range-frequency theory is a model created individualistically inside psychology expected that wellbeing is secured partially from the individual’s classified rank of a salary within an evaluation set. It is concluded that confirmation of rank-dependence in employees’ salary satisfaction. (Brown D.A Gordon, 2005)

From the above mentioned literature, there is a need felt to have studies related to the first job experience of the fresh graduates in terms of their self-esteem.

Statement of problem

The topic of study will explore the effect of low wages on the self-esteem of fresh graduates who passed out of universities.

Purpose of study

The purpose of this study is to discover the self-esteem of fresh graduates in Lahore at low wages jobs in terms of:

  • Exploring the effect of low wages jobs on the productivity of freshly graduated middle class job holders.
  • Discover the effect on the well-being of freshly graduated middle class job holders of low wages jobs
  • To understand the influence of low income jobs on the level of satisfaction of freshly graduated middle class jobians
  • To explore freshly graduated middle class job holders’ level of hope due to the low wages jobs.

Personal context:

I did this research as I was interested in this topic. Actually I did job in educational institutions and faced the issue related to low wages and its effect on the performance, satisfaction, wellbeing and hope. I felt very low in self-esteem, when I got first job of 14000 after my graduation in a private institute and my working hours were from 9 am to 5 pm. After 4 to 5 months, I started feeling low self-esteem and my performance started to affect. That’s why I was interested to find this phenomenon in other people too and I did this research. But whatever I faced was not all shown here. My theory proved different from my mind set that I brought to have interviews.

Significance of the study

This study will provide help to the employers to develop significant measures to help maintaining the level of self-esteem in fresh graduates with low wages. It will also provide guidelines for the educators to groom the fresh graduates to cope with the environment ahead.

Research Question:

Explore the effect of low wages jobs on the self-esteem of freshly graduated middle class job holders.


Research design:

In this study qualitative approach is used.


I collected data by using purposive sampling technique from local private schools. I took four female teachers with an age range of 20- 25 years.

Inclusion/ exclusion criteria

I took four unmarried female teachers who are freshly graduated from middle class; got first job with 4 to 5 months working and wages range from 8000 to 12000 per month.


Semi structured interview was conducted to collect the data.


I took verbal consents from the head of the institutions and also from each participant to take and record their interviews.


I did individual interviews with the participants and ask for their permission to tape record their interviews for transcription of data.

Data analysis

I will apply grounded theory to analyze collected data as no work has been done in Pakistan in this context and I want to develop theory which will be helpful in employer’s context and working satisfaction.


For reliability check, I went back to the participants and asked them to validate my transcription of interviews.

Conformability has been done to support the findings of the research.


This study will be helpful for both the fresh graduates and the employers as it will provide the evidence about the level of self-esteem of fresh graduates. This study will be of great use in every field as every year thousands of fresh graduates are passed out from the universities with the strong desire of a good job related to earnings.

This study will provide the employer, the bases to improve their organizations’ standards that will be up to the thoughts of the fresh graduates as well as this study will be a guideline for the trainings of fresh graduates by the institutes from which they will get their degrees.


In this study, there are nine selective codes. First code is job specifications which comprised of job settings and administrative expertise. Job settings include the employees’ experience of the job’s environment.

For example: “I enjoyed this.”

Administrative expertise referred to have good public relation and managerial skills. For example, “ease in many public relations.”

Second code is Source of knowledge. It consisted of one axial code i-e. Improvement in knowledge which means learning is the part of job. For instance, “knowledge is increasing”.

Third selective code is personality. It included outlook of the employee. For example, “main quality is her look”.

Teaching skills is the fourth code which covered the working way and vocal expertise. Working way means performance level and vocal expertise means communication expertise.

For instance, “a sweet voice”,

“maintain students concentration”,

“then her work”

Enthusiastic approach is the fifth code which included stress-free life, enjoyable and increased performance level. Stress free life means do not have stress of workload. For example, “No clear effect on me, my life and my activities.” Enjoyable showed enjoy working at every level, for instance, “enjoy working”. Increased performance level is, for example, “performance is positive”.

Sixth code is Rules and regulations. It contained enhancement in conduct i-e, “feel improvement in conduct” and responsibility means “feel responsibility of teaching”.

Seventh code is the future plans which contained job transferal which showed the talk about job changing. For instance, “have not planned anything about this job because I move on next” and “Will drop teaching”.

Career plans is the eighth code which comprised of job choice. For example, “I am waiting for a good opportunity” and “ahead in the banking”. But during answering one participant said, “yes I will continue this job now and in the longer run”

Last code is financial prospects which included salary expectations. For instance, “I want to earn more” and “salary package is low”.

Open code Axial code Selective code
Job experience evaluation job setting Job specifications
Work place specification
Managerial skills enhancement Administrative expertise
Improvement in PR
Enhancement in learning Improvement in Knowledge Source of knowledge
Working skills improvement
Self-presentation Outlook personality
Have high confidence level
Striking personality
Working abilities Working way Teaching skills
Coaching style
Concentration maintaining skills
Workload management skills
Students Management skills
Worthy coach
Talking style Vocal expertise
Verbal skills
Smooth life Charming life Enthusiastic approach
enjoyment enjoyable
Appreciate working with joy
Helpful instructions Increased Performance level
Flourishing performance level
disciplined Enhancement in attitude Rules and regulations
Become Authoritarian
Fix routine
Liability feeling responsibility
Field shift Job transferal Future plans
Job stability
Field selection Job choice Career plans
Planned prospects
Decision point
Low wage Salary requirements Financial prospects
Strong earning


This particular research has conducted to develop the insight of the job performance related factors i-e, level of productivity, level of hope, wellbeing and level of satisfaction in fresh graduates’ first job.

Firstly the level of productivity is on increasing pace regardless of the low wages paid at first job to the fresh graduates. Most of them know about low level of wages and had more expectations during graduation but on their productivity level there is no effect reported.

Secondly, their level of hope is low that they are not hopeful about their future in the same job because of salary and specific subject of their graduation. Mostly it is reported that first job is just to get experience and it is just a ladder to move up. It is not the expected and final goal.

Thirdly, the wellbeing is reported as at good level because first job experience is the learning tenure and all reported it as a good and healthy learning experience.

Lastly, the satisfaction level is reported as low because fresh graduates do not have their requirements fulfilled completely. All reported that they will not continue this very job as they want to have job with higher salaries and according to their subject specialties’ which are minimum in the school teaching.

So the theory of self-esteem grounded here suggested that low wages jobs’ for the fresh graduates has negative effect on the level hope and satisfaction whereas their productivity and wellbeing has positive effect on them.

These findings negate the findings of Gardner G. D. that Salary level disturbs workers’ self-esteem, which then, disturbs the employees’ performance.

The findings of this research has a supportive relationship in context of job satisfaction is related to salary package and personality of the workers. It can be maintained by taking care of employees’ personality and salary packages. (Fesharaki G.M, 2013)

Idrees Z., concluded that wages, training and incentive have a progressive bond with career performance however wages have a stronger connection with career performance than training and incentive which supported this new emerging theory of self-esteem.

The new grounded theory of self-esteem negates the confirmation of rank-dependence in employees’ salary satisfaction. (Brown D.A Gordon, 2005)


This new emerged theory has viewed the self-esteem in the broader way as compared to the other researches and theories. In previous theories, these four variables have studied separately but no one has found their effect on the participants as a whole. Secondly no one has studied the effect of these four variables collectively on the fresh graduates experience related to their first job and previous expectations. It will be helpful to get the idea of how fresh graduates feel about their first job experience and level of self-esteem.


This study has time limitations. It has sample limitations that only applicable on fresh graduates.


Farooq, S., Ahmad, U. and Ali, R. (2008). Education, unemployment and job satisfaction. Pakistan journal of commerce and social sciences, 1.

Lee, Y. and Sabharwal, M. (2014). Education–Job Match, Salary, and Job Satisfaction Across the Public,, Non-Profit, and For-Profit Sectors: Survey of recent college graduates. Journal public management review. Vol.18.

Fesharaki M.G. , Aghamiri Z. , Mohamadian M.,  Habibi M., Anvari S. and Esfandyar i AzadMarzabad.(2013). Effect of Manager Leadership Behavior and Demographical Factors on Job Satisfaction of Military Healthcare Personnel. Journal of military medicine. Vol. 15.

Neumark D. (2015|). The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment. FRBSF Economic Letter. Vol.37.

Gordon D.A Brown, Gardner J., Oswald A. and Qian J. (2005). Does Wage Rank Affect Employees’ Wellbeing? The Institute for the Study of Labor discussion papers.

Gardner G. D, Dyne L.V and Pierce J. L.(2004) The effects of pay level on organization-based self-esteem and performance: A field study. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77, 307-322.

Huttunen K. , Pirttilä J. and Uusitalo R.(2010). The employment effects of low-wage subsides. The Institute for the Study of Labor discussion papers.

Idrees Z, Xinping X , Shafi K , Hua L. and Nazeer A. (2015) Effect of Salary, Training and Motivation on Job Performance of Employees. American Journal of Business, Economics and Management. Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 55-58.



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