Thirty nine percent of Los Angeles area professional workers believe they are underpaid, below the national average of 46 percent, according to a survey from Menlo Park staffing firm Robert Half International.

The survey asked whether workers in accounting/finance, technology, legal, creative, and administrative fields believe that in their current job they are paid fairly, underpaid or overpaid; about 2,800 professional workers nationwide responded.

Of those Los Angeles area professional workers who responded, 55 percent said they believe they are paid fairly (compared to 49 percent nationwide), 39 percent said they believe they are underpaid (compared to 46 percent nationwide) and 6 percent said they believe they are overpaid (compared to 5 percent nationwide).

Those results placed Los Angeles as the large city with the fourth-lowest percentage of workers who believe they are underpaid; Miami had the lowest percentage at 33 percent, with New York and San Francisco next at 37 percent.

At the other end, San Diego had the highest percentage of professional workers who believe they are underpaid, at 62 percent. Austin had the second-highest percentage at 54 percent, followed by Houston and Nashville at 53 percent and Philadelphia at 52 percent.

The Los Angeles area survey results come despite a backdrop of rising housing prices and falling housing affordability that would seem to indicate that incomes are not keeping up with housing costs. According to the California Association of Realtors, the median Los Angeles County home price in the second quarter was $530,000 and the minimum qualifying income for a mortgage was $112,000. According to the association, 26 percent of Los Angeles County households could afford to buy a median-priced home during the second quarter, down from a recent peak of 56 percent in 2012.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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