Sheffield has been named as Britain's 'low pay capital' with wages 10 per cent below the national average.
A typical full-time worker in the city suffers an annual 'pay penalty' of £1,750, partly due to low productivity, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation.
The paltry wages are linked to the proliferation of low-paying retail and office administration jobs in the city, the think tank says in its report.
It warns that delays to devolution in the region threaten to hamper prospects of any financial upturn, meaning it could hold on to the unwanted title for some time.
Stephen Clarke, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: "Sheffield City Region is at a crossroads. There is a real risk that no devolution deal plays out and its status as Britain's low pay capital continues.
"Unless the current legal and political issues can be resolved, the area risks losing out on extra powers over crucial policies like housing and transport, not to mention much-needed strong economic leadership to strengthen the region's economy."
The election of a Sheffield mayor, giving the city greater power over economic policies like housing and transport, was this month postponed following a legal challenge.