Differences between white-collar and blue-collar jobs


When it comes to professions, you mostly hear the terms white-collar and blue-collar. These are not the only colors used to describe jobs. Different colors can be used to describe jobs. Each color has a symbolic meaning. This article will focus on blue-collar and white-collar jobs, what they are, and their differences. Keep reading this narrative blog post to learn more about the two terms.

Blue-collar is used to define those who do manual jobs. The name came as a result of manual laborers wearing dark blue uniforms. The clothes were dark since the workers would get dirty and were unable to wash their clothes due to the low pay.

Some popular blue-collar jobs include the following:

  • Garbage collectors
  • Mechanics
  • Flooring installer
  • Electrician

White-collar is used to define those who work in an office. The name came about since office workers would wear white shirts with collars. This still happens today. People who do white-collar jobs are those who work in banks, administrative assistants among others.

What are the differences?

The noticeable difference between the two jobs is their environment. Blue-collar jobs are usually manual and include jobs in construction, manufacturing, retail, and even the food service industry. White-collar jobs are those done in an office environment. They involve administrative, clerical, consulting and other jobs that are considered “desk jobs”.

To understand the differences more clearly, you need to look at certain factors explained below:


For you to get a white-collar job, you need to get some type of higher education. While there are jobs that will only require you to have a high-school diploma, good paying jobs require a bachelor’s degree or more. The more certifications you get, the higher the chances of getting a better paying job. Some white-collar jobs that have a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree include:

  • Accountants
  • Attorney
  • Physician
  • Market researcher

Blue-collar jobs do not have as many educational requirements as white-collar jobs. Instead, you can get on-job training as an apprentice. You can also get trained in vocational or technical schools. There are some blue-collar jobs that require you to attain some specialized training. These include jobs for the following careers: electrician, HVAC technician, mechanic and plumber. These jobs requiring additional skills or certifications are better paying.

Work environment

When you think of white-collar, you picture a person behind a desk working on a computer. White-collar jobs can be done remotely or from an office.

Blue-collar jobs are mainly done outside the office environment. They take place in different environments including warehouses, workshops and other indoor and outdoor areas. The environment is dependent on the type of job being done.


When it comes to roles, white-collar jobs usually have clerical or administrative responsibilities.

Blue-collar jobs come with different responsibilities. Most of the jobs require some form of physical labor. At times, special tools need to be used. One needs to acquire certain skills for them to be able to do some tasks.


White-collar jobs generally pay better than blue-collar jobs. You get paid depending on your education level. If you want to get the best-paying jobs, you need to get more than a bachelor’s degree depending on the field. Most white-collar jobs are salaried.

Blue-collar jobs used to earn low wages a few years back. However, there is a demand for blue-collar jobs that has seen the earnings increase significantly. Most blue-collar jobs pay per hour and the workers are given certain hours to work.

In both, you can move higher up the payment ladder when you get additional skills, experience and qualifications.

When it comes to jobs, you can succeed if you have a career in the white or blue-collar industry. Looking at the employment industry, there seems to be an increase in the demand of blue-collar workers. Gone are the days when being a blue-collar worker was looked down upon. Now, you can have a successful career being a blue-collar worker. That does not mean there is no demand for white-collar workers. The world is big enough to accommodate both and you can find some people doing both jobs. All you need to do is work on improving your skills and do your best to grow in your career.


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