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Blue Collar vs White Collar Worker (Full Comparision)

blue collar vs white collar worker

With the rise of online jobs and remote working, it’s becoming harder to categorize employment. In the past, it was easy. We had jobs you do with your hands and jobs that take place in an office. But that is no longer always the case.

However, many jobs do fall into distinct groups. And two commonly-used terms are blue collar and white collar. So, what’s the difference? Well, let’s find out as I compare blue collar vs white collar worker.

Blue collar vs white collar

From the names alone, it would be easy to think that these job terms only refer to the clothes the workers wear. But it’s far more complicated than that. Many factors go into classifying a job as blue collar or white collar.

Such as…

Well, for a start, there’s social class. Then we need to factor in income. The location also plays a part, as does the type of work taking place, and education level.

As you can see, it’s not as straightforward as many people think. And not everyone thinks the same way. The lines can be blurred these days as more people from different backgrounds are integrating more freely.

What is a blue collar worker?

Generally speaking, blue collar workers do physical labor. They tend to work with their hands. This could include construction, landscape gardening, factory work, or other similar industries.

But that doesn’t mean blue collar workers are unskilled. Many have a high level of education. And some blue collar roles require the workers to have special certifications, especially if it involves heavy machinery.

Why do we say blue collar worker?

This term to describe manual workers comes from a long time ago. In the past, American laborers dressed a certain way. They tended to wear either blue jeans or overalls, which were usually dark blue.

The reason they were this color is simple: dark colors hide dirt more easily. Blue collar jobs are often dirty work, so dark clothes helped to prevent the worker from looking unkempt. 

Different types of blue collar jobs

Different types of blue collar jobs

As mentioned, blue-collar jobs tend to be quite physical. Examples include working in manufacturing, construction, maintenance, fulfillment, and consignment. They generally take place either outdoors, or in a factory or warehouse.

Fancy giving it a shot?

If you’re interested in a blue collar job, there are plenty of places to apply online. Constructionjobs.com has the option to search for jobs, as well as a place to upload your resume for employers to find. If you’re green-fingered, check out simplyhired.com for a whole host of landscape gardening positions.

Blue collar education

Many blue collar jobs don’t require a college degree. There are even some that don’t care about a high school certificate. But that’s not the case for all positions.

School’s out…

For many blue collar roles, workers go to trade school to receive their education. Others might get certifications from a local training center if they need to learn to drive a forklift truck, for example. So, while blue collar workers often take a different study path, they are by no means unintelligent or uneducated.

How much do blue collar workers earn?

That depends. For blue-collar positions that need little to no education, the pay is generally pretty low. Sure, it’ll meet minimum wage, but unfortunately, you can’t expect much more than that.

Got the skills to pay the bills?

However, it is possible to get a highly paid blue collar job. Workers with special skills and expert knowledge can make big bucks! Similarly, if you work your way up into a management or foreman position, you could be looking at a lot more money.

It’s worth remembering, though, that blue collar workers often don’t receive a salary. Instead, they usually get an hourly rate. There are both positive and negative aspects to this fact.

Such as…

Well, you’re not guaranteed a certain amount every month. If work is slow, you might find your paycheck suffering a bit. It works both ways, though; if you’re in need of cash, it’s generally easy to pick up a few extra hours to make more dough.

To protect their wages, blue collar workers often join unions. A union can make a world of difference when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. It keeps companies in line, ensuring that workers are well looked after and fairly paid.

What is a white collar worker?

What is a white collar worker?

White-collar jobs are often assigned a higher social class than blue-collar workers. However, that does not mean they are more important. It’s unhelpful to pit blue collar vs white collar workers’ jobs against each other, as both play an important role in society.

Why do we use the phrase white collar worker?

White collar workers don’t need to hide the dirt on their clothes. That’s because they do nothing to get dirty! Wearing white shows that they work in indoor environments where they can stay clean.

White collar workers commonly work in offices or behind desks. They often have administrative positions. These jobs involve very little physical strength and rarely involve any kind of manual labor.

Different white collar jobs

Examples of white-collar jobs include management, governmental, and organizational roles. While they are not physically demanding, they can be mentally taxing. Working in an office requires a very different set of skills than working outdoors. 


If this sounds like your bag, then there are plenty of roles out there to choose from. Indeed.com is the obvious place to start applying, with thousands of positions listed. LinkedIn is also a fantastic resource for networking with other white collar folk.

White collar education

The level of education you’ll need as a white-collar worker depends on the position. Many roles require a college degree in a field related to the area of employment. This is particularly true for those working in marketing, business, and I.T.

But wait!

There are plenty of opportunities for those with degrees not in that specific industry. Often a degree in a different field is enough, or even just a high school diploma. In this case, though, you may have to take a lower-level position and work your way up.

How much money does a white collar worker make?

How much money does a white collar worker make?

There’s no denying it; there’s good money to be made in white collar industries. With the right qualifications, you can start earning some serious cash quickly. And even entry-level jobs come with a decent salary.

Safety and security…

And the best part is that salary is guaranteed. It is easier to budget when you know exactly how much you’ll be taking home each month. And who knows? If you’re lucky, your boss will be pretty generous when it comes it Christmas bonuses!

Thinking of a Change of Career?

Then check out the Best Jobs for Introverts, the Best Remote Jobs That Pay Well, the Best Jobs for High School Dropouts, the Best Jobs For Helping People20 Part Time Jobs that Pay more than 20 per Hour, or even 15 Part Time Jobs that Pay more than 40 per Hour in 2023.

Or, if you would prefer something more white collar, how about the Best Jobs for College Students, the Best Jobs for Political Science Majors, the Best Paying Jobs in Energy, the Best Jobs for Economics Majors, and the Best 6 Figure Jobs to earn you some serious bucks!

However, if you have a criminal record, you might be interested in the Best Part Time Jobs for Felons, the Best Jobs for Felons, and the Best Medical Jobs for Felons.

Blue Collar vs White Collar Worker – Final Thoughts

Whether a white collar or blue collar worker, both groups play an important part in the American workforce. They just have different strengths. White collar jobs usually rely on mental skills and are traditional office jobs, whereas blue collar jobs take care of those physical tasks needed to keep the world turning.

And these days, many roles cross over between the two categories. Some don’t completely fit into either grouping. The lines are being blurred more and more as different social classes are now far more blended than in the past.

Whichever group you are part of, just make sure you play to your skills and do something you enjoy. After all, it isn’t work if you love it!

Enjoy your working day!

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