Blue Collar Workers | Meaning and Definition

What are blue-collar workers?

Blue-collar employees are manual laborers who are often physical, such as construction, automotive repair, welding, or cleaning. The term became popularized throughout the country during the 1940s, when it was commonly used by newspapers. 

The term typically refers to jobs that are manual labor-intensive and do not require a college degree. Examples of blue-collar jobs include roles in manufacturing, construction, maintenance, and operations. Blue-collar workers often perform physically demanding tasks and may work long hours. 

It is believed to have originated in the early 20th century when manual laborers wore blue cotton shirts to distinguish themselves from office workers, who typically wore white collars. 

Blue-collar vs. white-collar jobs

The terms “blue-collar” and “white-collar” are often used to refer to two different types of jobs. Blue-collar jobs are manual labor jobs, while white-collar jobs are office or administrative jobs. 

There are a few differences between these two types of jobs:

  • The pay and benefits for blue-collar jobs are usually less than for white-collar jobs.
  • Blue-collar workers often have less job security than white-collar workers.
  • Blue-collar workers usually have more physical demands than white-collar workers.
  • Blue-collar workers often have more dangerous working conditions than white-collar workers.
  • Blue-collar jobs are often more unionized, while white-collar jobs are not.
  • White-collar jobs have salaries, while blue-collar jobs have hourly wages.
  • White-collar jobs usually involve desk jobs within an office setting, while blue-collar can take place in different settings like outside workshops, offices, and many more.