Employers in Cornwall are being accused of paying nearly 20% less to workers in the county.
European assistance should be used to attract high quality jobs
A report by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) claims employers exploit the fact that people enjoy living in the area and will not be tempted to leave.
Fair Pay for Cornwall highlights the problems faced by employees who still face expensive living costs.
The TUC says higher wages could be achieved if employers and unions worked together to improve skill levels.
Kay Carbury, TUC Assistant General Secretary, says one of the main problems is that the area's economy is based on low skill levels.
She said: "We'd like to see employers and unions working to raise these levels.
"That will mean that ultimately the county will have better quality jobs."
Office administrator Judith Leah who moved to Perranporth from Bristol in April, says she can expect to earn about £3,000 less in Cornwall.
Ms Leah wants to stay in Cornwall so she has to be realistic and manage a budget to suit the lower wage.
She said: "I'm not going to try and get a job at the same wages I was earning, because I know the jobs are just not there."
Employers in the county say it is not always possible to pay higher rates.
Keith Vingo, managing director of an IT training company in Bodmin, said he would like to offer staff more money, but as a small business employer, he is dependent on income.
He said: "If we can sell our goods and services, we can make income.
"But the majority of small business struggle to make ends meet as it is, mainly because of the red tape involved in running the business."
The TUC says it would like to see regeneration agencies offering higher pay, better jobs and better employment conditions as part of their objectives.
It also says the European grant assistance which the county benefits from should be used to attract high-class business instead of concentrating on bringing in more low-paid jobs.
The report was being officially launched on Monday at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth.