When you hear the terms blue-collar and white-collar, you get different images of the two. There is a popular perception that a blue-collar worker earns less than a white-collar worker. The reason behind this perception is that while a white-collar worker might have the comfort of being in an office job, the blue-collar worker might have an on-field job, either being involved in manual labor or working in a manufacturing division.
Probably, the white-collar worker is more educated than a blue-collar worker. There are several distinguishing characteristics between these two categories. However, no dictionary mentions a concise definition of the two. Have a look at the detailed explanation below to distinguish a blue-collar worker from a white-collar one properly.
Workers involved in hard manual labor like manufacturing, agriculture, mining, construction, and maintenance fall under blue-collar workers. Besides these, every physically exhausting job falls under the purview of a blue-collar job. Blue-collar workers usually have to work outdoors or might have to interact with animals or heavy machinery.
Blue-collar workers could fall under the category of skilled or unskilled labor based on the nature of work. A skilled blue-collar worker receives the skills from a trade school instead of earning a bachelor’s degree from a college or university. Now, the question might arise that from where did the term blue-collar originate? The origin of the term lies in the attire of a manual worker. Every part is blue. Blue is a dark color and can help hide the dirt and other elements that can stick to the clothes while they are at work.
White-collar workers have a desk, wear a tie, suit, or other formal attire to the workplace. They are the ones who abstain from being involved in manual labor. If you compare the earnings, the white-collar workers make more than the blue-collar workers.
The term white-collar generally refers to administrative work. The difference majorly lies in the perception that people have about the service industry in comparison to the agricultural and manufacturing industries.
If a has a much-developed infrastructure, it can offer more desk jobs to their employees. This will help the workers get a safer environment to work in. All they would require is mental attention instead of the manual exertion that blue-collar workers go through. The country then can remove the stress of physical labor that is a medium of earning a wage for many workers.
The Difference in Salary Size
The salary that a person draws is also a good differentiator between the white-collar and the blue-collar jobs. First of all, a blue-collar worker might not be on a salary structure. The pay might either be for each item manufactured or on an hourly basis. Unions exist to protect the interests of blue-collar workers. This includes everything from working conditions, timings, to pay.
A blue-collar worker might feel insecure regarding the stability of their job, irrespective of whether it’s a temporary job or a contract with a third party. A white-collar worker might have to pass through a strict selection process to get the job. This is the reason why it’s not easy for companies to fire them. Most of them earn a salary. If not, their earnings might depend on a client base, like physicians and private practice lawyers. A white-collar job has more stability than a blue-collar job because certain skills are necessary to hold in the case of the former.
Times are Changing
Many a time, the terms blue-collar and white-collar give rise to two different images of two distinct social classes. However, the line between the two categories of workers is gradually fading. The significant increase in technology is moving a few jobs associated with the blue-collar category earlier, increasing the need for education.
This leads to an increase in earnings for blue-collar workers. The market of white-collar jobs is close to getting saturated. White-collar workers are not earning more than their counterparts engaged in blue-collar jobs these days.
Positions are less. Candidates are more. Due to this increased competitiveness, employers are paying less. In other cases, despite having a well-rounded education, workers are taking jobs that don’t require higher education. While the changing market situations, the pandemic, and numerous other factors contribute to this, we can only hope that things change for the better for the labor force.