The origins of white collar vs blue collar

The origins of white collar vs blue collar

Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting effects, you should consult appropriate professionals. Information is from sources deemed reliable on the date of publication, but Robinhood does not guarantee its accuracy. This expression refers to our tendency to judge someone based on how they are dressed. The terms white collar vs. blue collar are a great example of this.

White-collar work happens in offices, co-working spaces and even in people’s homes as more and more professionals and companies adopt hybrid work policies. Many people still seek white-collar jobs more than blue-collar ones because those office jobs have a loftier perception. This can be due to the relative physical ease of the labor and the higher salaries some jobs can command. The differences between the terms blue- and white-collar have much more to say about how they’re perceived. This includes how we view various industries, the extent to which individuals are educated, their appearances, and social classes.

Other Collar Colors to Know

Blue-collar jobs are those that involve a greater degree of physically-taxing or manual labor. Blue-collar jobs include farmers, mechanics, power plant operators, and electricians. White-collar jobs, on the other hand, typically work in office settings in clerical, administrative, and management roles.

Are engineers white or blue-collar?

A white-collar worker is a salaried professional, typically referring to general office workers and management. Some examples of white-collar jobs include: corporate executives, advertising and public relation professionals, architects, engineers, stockbrokers, doctors, dentists and dietitians.

White-collar jobs have a reputation for being higher-paying than blue-collar jobs. However, a skilled blue-collar worker can often make more in wages than a mid-level white-collar job. But many of these aren’t nearly as common as blue- and white-collar. Gold collar signifies white-collar workers who come with higher skills and are in higher demand.

What is Blue Collar

There may also be differences in their education and income levels. The name comes from the early 20th century when these workers wore resistant fabrics of darker colors (e.g. blue denim or blue uniforms). They preferred these clothes because they usually got them dirty at work and often couldn’t afford to wash them frequently because of low wages. Workers in white-collar jobs often receive annual salaries over hourly wages.

Blue-collar workers may be paid hourly wages while their white-collar counterparts typically command annual salaries. There are other perceived differences, as well, including educational backgrounds, appearances, and social classes. The terms “blue collar” and “white collar” first appeared in the early 20th century to describe workers based on the color of the shirts they wore.

Why Purpose-Driven Jobs Pay Less

Generally, companies offer bonuses and increments for white collar workers as an incentive for employee success and development. “Blue collar” and “white collar” are terms people use to describe different types of workers in the economy. Examples include factory workers, welders, construction workers, and truck drivers. These include attorneys, accountants, architects, and secretaries. Blue collar workers often use tools or equipment, while white collar jobs demand expertise and highly specialized skills from workers. Furthermore, blue collar jobs happen in a wide range of environments, including factories, public spaces, workshops, offices, outdoor areas, and even homes.

  • Navy’s need for more civilian workers to fill a variety of positions.
  • Prior to industrialization, monarchs and the nobility distinguished themselves with elaborate starched, ruffled collars.
  • Many people start working in construction without having much formal training.
  • Many factors, such as the skill level required to perform the work, experience level, and working hours, play a role.
  • Workers were historically divided into categories based on the type of attire they wore.

Finally, the advanced level covers auditing, risk analysis, and valuation. Earnings per share (EPS) is one way to help measure a company’s profitability, by dividing how much money a company earns by the total number of shares. “White-collar” and “blue-collar” are terms that have strong connotations – partly because they bring vivid images to our minds. White-collar clothing describes the suits, ties and even business casual styles of the modern office workplace. Various other “collar” descriptions exist as well, although none have received the kind of broad use in American English as the traditional white-collar/blue-collar distinction. Others saw a dynamic new economy where commoners could rise from rags to riches.


But the same company might also have a white-collar human resources director who deals with the employment contracts of the blue-collar bricklayers. The distinction between the types of responsibilities also blurs. A construction site foreman has a blue-collar job, but their responsibilities require leadership and managerial skills – responsibilities traditionally ascribed to white-collar professions. In the 21st century, however, these distinctions blur and are perhaps not as important as they once were. Great innovation is being done in integrated workspaces, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, where the physicists, engineers, and manufacturers all work on the same factory floor.

blue collar job vs white collar job

This information is educational, and is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. This information is not a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell an investment or financial product, or take any action. This information is neither individualized nor a research report, and must not serve as the basis for any investment decision. All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of capital.

White Collar vs. Blue Collar: What’s the Difference?

There is often certain job security that goes along with a white-collar job. A useful distinction might be that the blue-collar job definition doesn’t specify the skill level or the type of pay workers receive. Blue-collar workers can be skilled or unskilled, waged or salaried. More unskilled workers do blue-collar work, so a blue-collar job has a connotation of requiring fewer skills.

blue collar job vs white collar job

So, for example, if you’re applying for an accountant job, you must have a formal education. However, on-the-job training is expected for a blue-collar profession. This article clears up the misconceptions surrounding collar careers. Read on to broaden your knowledge of both white- and blue-collar jobs. There are many misconceptions about what qualifies someone as a blue-collar worker.

Roles and Responsibilities

So, even though the work setting differs, the organization doesn’t necessarily. A blue-collar job would traditionally focus on physical exertion, rather than mental attention. Historically, blue-collar jobs were so poorly paid that workers could not afford multiple work outfits, or to have these outfits washed daily. Hence, they wore dark, hard-wearing materials like denim and chambray which were often blue to help with concealing dirt or grease due to the nature of their work. The main thing, however, is that a healthy society needs plenty of blue-collar and white-collar workers to function. Understanding that these positions have value and deserve appropriate compensation will go a long way toward removing some of the old class distinctions and connotations from work.

  • Individuals who work in blue-collar industries are often paid on an hourly basis, such as mechanics.
  • The perception is that white-collar workers have a higher status because they may earn more and may be more educated.
  • The distinction between the types of responsibilities also blurs.
  • White-collar jobs, on the other hand, typically work in office settings in clerical, administrative, and management roles.
  • Blue-collar workers are those who work in skilled or unskilled manual labor jobs.

More people are now acknowledging the skill and mental work that goes into traditionally blue-collar industries, like manufacturing and agriculture. They instead make their living by doing manual or trade-related labor. These can be side hustles to supplement another job or a main source of income. Furthermore, the next wave of innovation in the office was led by a motley crew of hippies and college dropouts. In Microsoft’s now iconic 1978 employee photo, Paul Allen wore the only white collar, but he also sported a big beard and long hair.