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

Team 2 - Languages
Published: November 29, 2022

We all know that there are different types of workers, which are usually classified based on several parameters. For example, government workers are classified based on their salary and designation, while private corporates are classified on their roles and skills. However, occupational classification is a new method in which these professionals are classified through a color coding technique. Although it is not followed in all countries, most companies classify their employees based on collar colors.

Blue-Collar vs. White-Collar Jobs


There are primarily two types of jobs – blue-collar and white-collar. They have different working styles, but their roles and responsibilities also differ greatly. Before joining any company in either of the posts, you should learn who is a blue-collar worker and a white-collar worker. The color code and the term “collar” have nothing to do with the employee’s work. Instead, it is a type of occupational classification used in many countries, like Australia, the US, and more. 

In this article, we will discover further what these terms entail and the details about the workers designated as blue-collar and white-collar.

Who are Blue Collar Workers?

Blue-collar workers are associated with manual labor requiring huge physical strength and energy, like manufacturing, agriculture, mining, construction, etc. According to some historical facts, people in these fields used to wear shirts with blue collars, hence the occupational category name. These workers may or may not have the skills required for the job. They often get jobs based on their past work experience or to meet the labor shortage.

Most skilled blue-collar workers are specialized in handling certain departments of their work. For example, a welder has specific skills and is a blue-collar worker in the fabrication and manufacturing industry. Their wages are determined by the type of work and the place of occupation. For instance, plumbers, electricians, labor forces, and mechanics are generally paid hourly. On the other hand, people working in the manufacturing industry, especially in factories, are paid based on the number of units they manufacture per day.

Who are White Collar Workers?

Coming to the white-collar workers, the name itself suggests that these people work in an office setting. For instance, this occupational category belongs to administrative officers, clerks, managers, leaders, and so on. In addition, the term does have a little symbolism with what they wear. People working in a proper office setting usually wear a suit and tie with a white-collared shirt underneath.

These employees aren’t involved with any tiring physical job. Instead, they are mostly associated with desk jobs where they have to use their mind. Also, the payments are based on the number of hours they have worked (for employees working part-time or on a contract basis) or monthly (for salaried and full-time workers). The salary will be fixed even if the employee works less or more. This is where the white-collar occupation is said to have the worst limitation or constraint.

Blue Collar vs White Collar Jobs: A Brief Explanation

1. Industries

As discussed earlier, blue-collar workers are more focused on working in the manual labor industry, like construction, electrical, plumbing, etc. They work in areas that require physical effort more than anything else.

On the other hand, white-collar workers work in a sophisticated and proper work environment. If you compare the dimensions, you can say that the white color occupational class is more elegant and civilized. People won’t have to get their hands and clothes dirty or work under the sun for hours with no break. So, yes, the life of white-collar workers are more laid back and relaxing.

2. Wages and Salaries

Blue-collar workers are mostly paid based on the hours they have worked in a day. Either the wages are given at the day’s end or the weekend. You probably won’t find any job described under this occupational class having a salaried wage form. Sometimes, workers working in manufacturing units rely on the number of units manufactured daily.

On the contrary, most white-collar employees are salaried professionals. They receive the salary by the month’s end based on the total salary and the CTC. Generally, no one will precisely see how many hours they have worked. Although, if they work extra hours, they often get some additional amount for doing overtime.

3. Education

Blue-collar workers don’t have to be highly skilled or educated. They need to know the basics of the industry and how the work is done. If you run a survey, you will realize that most workers couldn’t even complete high school or get into grad school or college.

But white-collar workers are highly educated. They not only complete their graduation but also aim for higher studies like a master’s major, etc. People with doctoral degrees also work in this sector as white-collared employees. They upskill themselves according to the demand of the industry through studies only.

4. Responsibilities

Another major factor on which we can classify professional workers is responsibilities. They are divided into different categories based on the type of work they need to perform, the level of accountability and responsibility they share, and so on. Blue-collar workers are responsible for completing their projects but not as much as that of the white collars employees. In fact, if anything goes wrong with a white-collar employee, he or she will have to answer to a panel of senior employees and might even get an escalation. 

5. Work Time and Flexibility

Most often, blue-collar workers have to work for a specific duration, like 6 or 8 hours, starting from early morning. They do not usually have night shifts or late evening shifts. On the other hand, white-collar employees have to work around the clock and sometimes, be available 24/7 because the corporate industry never sleeps.

Difference Between Blue Collar and White Collar:

ParameterWhite collar ProfessionalBlue collar Professional
IndustriesSoftware Engineers, Accountants, Doctors, Engineers, Professors, etc. Field jobs like construction, technician, repair services, manufacturing, 
fabrication, and more
Salary and wagesFixed salary (generally on monthly basis)Daily or hourly wages
EducationNeed to be highly educated with appropriate skills and degreesCan have a basic degree with or without any domain-specific skill
ResponsibilitiesNeed to take responsibility for every single actionHe doesn’t have to answer for every decision or action taken
Work time and flexibilityWork time is not fixed, and might have to work for more than 9 hoursWork time is generally fixed for 6 to 8 hours, depending on the project


Now that we have established the key differences between blue-collared and white-collared employees, you can easily decide which occupational class you want to work in. Since the world is evolving with fast-paced acceleration, you might want to go for white-collar or blue-collar based on your preferences.

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