Designation of workers by collar color Wikipedia

However, in the current world economy, the distinctions between white collar vs. blue collar are blurring. The terms also don’t accurately classify people working freelance jobs or who take part in the gig economy. Different worker descriptions based on a horizontal organizational structure may be more useful for the 21st century. Because white-collar workers tend to earn an annual salary, on a practical level, the difference is in how a company compensates them for their labor.

Which collar job is best?

The top sectors that offer white collar jobs are media, healthcare, hospitality, and technology. If you want to pursue a career in white collar occupations, know that they are popular accounting for 55.3 percent of US employment.

The blue-collar worker, on the other hand, has their blue overall collar protecting them from dirt as they do manual labor. Most blue-collar work tends to be rough and hands-on, with lots of manual labor. On the other hand, white-collar work tends to be more analytical and mentally taxing. The distinction between these roles blurs as the economy continues to shift. Blue-collar and white-collar work traditionally refers to the unofficial “uniforms” of each job type.

Blue-Collar vs. White-Collar Key Differences

Far more people are earning bachelor’s degrees, and they often expect to earn higher wages. Although most people with college degrees end up in white-collar jobs, there are also highly skilled blue-collar jobs that pay higher salaries than many white-collar positions. In many instances, blue-collar jobs offer an hourly wage and are assigned a certain number of hours or shifts per week. Blue-collar workers tend to receive fewer benefits from employers, and a decrease in hours or shifts can result in financial insecurity. However, both professional categories can earn high wages based on experience, skills, and position. In modern society, the connotation of a blue-collar worker belonging to a lower socio-economic class is, therefore, outdated.

blue collar job vs white collar job

White-collar and blue-collar work describes the different jobs in our society. White-collar professions often refer to office or “work from home” positions. While some of the old assumptions about these jobs have decreased, knowing the distinctions between them are still essential. Some of the most common blue-collar jobs include welders, mechanics, electricians, and construction workers. Some may be more specialized, such as power plant operators, power distributors, and nuclear power plant operators. Some blue-collar workers may have to do physically exhausting tasks.

Education level

For instance, blue-collar workers generally perform manual labor and are either paid by the hour or on a piecework basis. White-collar workers, on the other hand, can be found in office settings in clerical, administrative, or management roles. Because of the nature of their jobs, white-collar workers historically had a higher level of education than their blue-collar counterparts.

  • In the 1960s and 1970s, blue-collar workers and their families became nearly as popular subjects for social scientists as white-collar workers were in the 1950s.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has brought another layer of connotation to the term white-collar worker.
  • This linguistic development followed on the heels of more than a century of changes in the nature of work and clothing.
  • Far more people are earning bachelor’s degrees, and they often expect to earn higher wages.

For example, many assume that blue-collar work requires less education than white-collar work. However, there are plenty of blue-collar professionals out there. Although an undergraduate degree is not a prerequisite, technical training or an apprenticeship are common entrance routes. A white-collar worker, on the other hand, may have obtained their job through a more stringent hiring process and may be more difficult to fire.

What Factors Influence Wage Growth in a Country?

They may work outdoors and/or work with heavy machinery or animals. Skills can be acquired on the job or, more commonly, at a trade school. In the 19th century, working-class men often owned very few shirts that had no collars on them. It appeared in the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 1946 and in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1950, attributed to American origins.

As the differences between blue-collar and white-collar workers narrow due to economic conditions and competition, how workers decide to pursue a career may change. Instead of focusing on markers like compensation, these workers may consider the work environment and job duties more critical. Western countries draw distinctions between blue- and white-collar labor, typically rooted in how societies perceive these jobs.

Designation of workers by collar color

Some of these differences may continue to exist, whereas others may be anecdotal or historical. The line between white- and blue-collar labor continues to blur as economic conditions change and new skills become necessary to develop a career. White-collar jobs can typically work remotely, which adds another layer of complexity to the distinction between what is and is not essential labor. Skilled blue-collar workers can typically find jobs that use their skill set without extra training. Many blue-collar workers also benefit from the ability to leave work at work and enjoy a satisfying personal life.

  • Keep in mind, though, that none of this is necessarily based on fact.
  • Most white-collar jobs traditionally require a higher level of traditional education than blue-collar jobs.
  • These can be side hustles to supplement another job or a main source of income.
  • Workers in white-collar jobs often receive annual salaries over hourly wages.

“White collar” appeared in 1910, and “blue collar” became prevalent in the 1920s and 1930s. “Blue collar” sometimes came with negative connotations, since these jobs traditionally paid less and required less education (usually just a high school diploma). The terms white collar vs. blue collar are traditional shorthand meant to describe differences in work setting, job responsibility, and salary of different workers.

Blue collar

The term white-collar worker was first applied to people who did administrative work. However, the term has now gradually been expanded to include anyone in an office environment whose job requires clerical, administrative, or managerial duties. Stereotypically, a white-collar worker’s job description would not include physical labor.

blue collar job vs white collar job


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