Almost a year after the collapse of MG Rover, many former workers are paid less and wish they still worked for the firm, according to a report released today.
Of the nearly 300 former workers surveyed, many now earned substantially less than they did than at the unionised plant, by an average of £3,523 a year, said the research.
Almost half (48%) said they would prefer to be back at the Longbridge factory in Birmingham.
But in contrast, those who became self-employed were better off, by an average of £5,941 a year.
The Work Foundation conducted the study for the BBC Radio 4 programme Life After Rover.
The research also confirmed a government report released earlier this month that almost one-third of the ex-Rover staff, or 1,800 of the 6,000 laid off, were still jobless.
"A small minority of these workers may join the ranks of the long-term unemployed or withdraw from the labour force permanently," warned the author, Kathy Armstrong.
The unemployed ex-workers were more likely to be older, single and to report anxiety or other health problems that interfered with day-to-day life. They also said they needed further government support, the report said.
"Continued investment is needed in supporting MG Rover's former workforce in their job search activity, in catering for likely increases in demand for local health services and in up-skilling those still unemployed or under-employed," said Ms Armstrong.
"The results of this study and previous research suggest that many of the ex-MG Rover workers have not and will not be able to find 'good jobs' and will be forced to accept 'bad jobs'," concluded the report.
The study lauded the government's Rover task force, which had been preparing for the possibility of the closure, for "hitting the ground running" when the plant closed.
Rover, the last UK-owned car manufacturer, closed in April 2005. The government, which has been criticised for its handling of the collapse, last month offered an extra £2m in financial support for the jobless and £3m for a vocational centre for teenagers in the Longbridge area.
Taxpayers may face a £250m bill for public intervention to help ex-workers and the local economy.
When MG Rover went into administration, it was owned by Phoenix Venture Holdings, which had bought it from BMW in 2000 for a token £10.