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The terms blue-collar and white-collar are often used to describe different types of jobs and workers in the labor market. The question is, what exactly do they mean, and how do they differ? In this blog, we will explore the origin, meaning, and characteristics of these two categories of jobs, as well as some of the challenges recruiters face while hiring for the respective job roles.
We will also discuss the ultimate solution to hire candidates mindfully in the form of visual-based blue-collar assessment and skill-based test tools for you to hire objectively and make informed decisions.
Blue-Collar Job Role vs. White-Collar Role: An Overview
Blue-collar refers to workers who perform manual or physical labor, such as manufacturing, construction, maintenance, mining, or agriculture. These workers typically wear uniforms or protective clothing that are often blue in color, hence the name. Blue-collar workers usually have less formal education and training than white-collar workers, and their wages are often lower.
According to a report by Indeed, there are more than 170 million blue-collar workers in India, who contribute to the growth and development of the economy. However, there is a shortage of skilled blue-collar workers in many sectors, such as logistics, hospitality, retail, and healthcare.
In contrast, White-Collar refers to workers who perform non-manual or mental labor, such as office work, management, sales, or professional services. These workers typically wear suits or formal clothing that are often white in color, hence the name.
White-collar workers usually have more formal education and training than blue-collar workers, and their wages are often higher. There is also a high demand for white-collar workers in industries such as tech, accounting, marketing, and consulting. However, there is a mismatch between the skills required by employers and the skills possessed by candidates.
As per the context above, there exist two main concerns of hiring in the respective categories:
- Shortage of skilled candidates:
In recruiting, a shortage of skilled candidates means there aren’t many people with the right abilities and experience for the job openings. It can be frustrating when you exactly know what you are looking for, but there are not many options available.
- Skill mismatch:
Think of skill mismatches like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It happens when the skills of job seekers don’t quite match what the job requires. Recruiters face this challenge when they have candidates who may have talents, but they don’t quite fit the specific needs of the job. In this case, you are just stuck with ‘almost’ the right fit.
Why Are Jobs Defined by Collar Color?
The origin of the terms blue-collar and white-collar can be traced back to the early 20th century when industrialization and urbanization transformed the economy and society. As more people moved from rural areas to urban areas to work in factories or offices, they adopted different styles of clothing that reflected their occupations.
Workers who performed manual labor wore durable and practical clothing that could withstand dirt and wear. These clothing were often made of denim or cotton fabrics that were dyed blue to hide stains. Workers who performed non-manual labor wore formal and elegant clothing that could convey professionalism and authority. These clothing were often made of silk or wool fabrics that were bleached white to show cleanliness.
Over time, these clothing styles became symbols of social class and status that differentiated the working class from the middle class. The terms blue-collar and white-collar were coined to describe these two groups of workers based on their collar colors.
What’s the Difference Between Blue- and White-Collar Jobs?
There are many differences between blue- and white-collar jobs in terms of skills, responsibilities, benefits, and career prospects. Some of the main differences are:
The ability to do physical tasks with strength, endurance, coordination, and dexterity
Mental skills, such as creativity, problem-solving, communication, and analysis
Involve more routine and standardized tasks that follow specific procedures and instructions.
Involve more complex and varied tasks that require independent judgment and decision-making.
Gets tangible benefits, such as health insurance, pension plans, or overtime pay.
Get intangible benefits, such as prestige, autonomy, or flexibility.
Fewer opportunities for advancement and promotion to authority level
Have more opportunities for learning and development at the management level
Skill Requirements in Blue Collar Job
As mentioned earlier, the skills required for blue-collar job profiles are related to manual functions. It also requires patience and consistency through the daily activities in order to be able to efficiently meet the deadlines. Below are some particular skills that recruiters generally assess:
- Empathetic Outlook: This is the ability to understand and share the feelings and perspectives of others. It means being sensitive to the emotions, needs, and concerns of different people and groups. An empathetic outlook helps to build trust, rapport, and collaboration with others. It also enables one to respond appropriately and compassionately to various situations and challenges.
- Self-Management: This is the ability to regulate one’s own emotions, impulses, and behaviors. It means being able to control one’s impulses, adapt to changing circumstances, and cope with stress and frustration. Self-management helps to maintain focus, motivation, and resilience. It also enables one to act ethically and responsibly in different contexts.
- Achievement Orientation: This is the ability to strive for excellence and set challenging goals. It means being able to pursue one’s objectives with determination, optimism, and creativity. Achievement orientation helps to improve one’s performance, learn from feedback, and overcome obstacles. It also enables one to contribute to the success of the organization and the society.
- Accountability: This is the ability to take responsibility for one’s actions and outcomes. It means being able to acknowledge one’s mistakes, learn from them, and make amends. Accountability helps to build credibility, trust, and respect for others. It also enables one to align one’s actions with the values and expectations of the organization and society.
Core Competencies in White-Collar Jobs
White-collar jobs demand target orientation as it has higher career prospects than blue-collar jobs. The hiring for a white collar job role is based upon assessment of cognitive abilities, industry knowledge, and personality compatibility. You can explore more about white-collar jobs on our previous blog. Here are a few must-assess competencies for white-collar recruiters:
- Analytical Skills: Professionals in white-collar roles often deal with data analysis, financial modeling, or market research. Analytical skills are essential to interpret data and make informed decisions.
- Communication: Effective communication is paramount, as white-collar workers interact with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders regularly. Clear and persuasive communication is vital for conveying ideas and information.
- Adaptability: The rapidly evolving business landscape necessitates adaptability. White-collar workers must stay abreast of industry trends, technology advancements, and changing regulations.
- Leadership: Many white-collar positions involve leadership and managerial responsibilities. The ability to lead teams, set strategic goals, and inspire others is a valued skill.
What’s the Difference Between Blue- and White-Collar Jobs in terms of hiring practices?
As the skill requirements vary in blue and white-collar jobs, the process of application, assessment, selection, orientation, and further evaluations varies greatly. Some of the main differences are:
- Blue-collar jobs usually require candidates to submit a resume or an application form that highlights their work experience and skills.
- White-collar jobs usually require candidates to submit a resume or a CV that showcases their education and qualifications.
- Blue-collar jobs usually use practical tests or visual blue-collar assessments to evaluate candidates’ abilities to perform on-the-job roles and deliver efficiently.
- White-collar jobs usually use skill-based assessments, cognitive tests, personality assessments, and cultural fitment assessments to measure candidates’ aptitude and fitment for a specific job role.
- Blue-collar jobs usually conduct structured interviews to verify candidates’ information and assess their communication skills.
- White-collar jobs usually conduct multiple rounds of behavioral interviews to assess candidates’ knowledge and competencies.
- Blue-collar jobs usually select candidates based on their performance in the tests or assessments and their availability to start work.
- White-collar jobs usually select candidates based on their overall fit with the company culture and values.
PMaps Assessment: Tools to Assess Blue Collar and White Collars
Talent shortage and skill mismatch are two prominent statements of problem in this scenario. They can have negative impacts on the productivity, performance, and profitability of an organization. Therefore, it is essential to conduct an in-depth analysis of the candidate profiles to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement.
This can help the HR professionals to arrange appropriate and effective training for the new hires and employees, as well as to make informed hiring decisions.
Some PMaps Assessment Tools for Blue Collar and White Collar Job roles include:
PMaps Blue Collar Assessment is a language-agnostic and visual-based assessment that measures the empathetic outlook, emotional management, achievement orientation, and accountability of blue-collar workers. These are the skills that are very essential for performing various tasks in blue-collar jobs.
This assessment can help the HR professionals to screen and select candidates who have the potential to excel in blue-collar roles, as well as to identify their training needs.
PMaps Skill Assessments offers varied domain-specific skills assessments that measure the technical skills and knowledge of candidates required to excel at work. It covers a wide range of topics and domains, such as sales, customer service, programming, accounting, etc.
It evaluates the candidates’ proficiency and expertise in their respective fields, as well as their ability to apply their skills in real-world scenarios. This assessment can help the HR professionals to assess the skill level and competency of candidates for different job roles, as well as to design and deliver relevant training programs.
To understand which assessments can help you make quicker and more precise hiring decisions, connect with us today!
- Culture Fit Assessment:
PMaps offers a customized assessment solution that evaluates the candidates’ fit with the organization’s culture based on unique and core company values. It uses a combination of multiple-choice questions, situational judgment tests, and rating scales to measure the candidates’ alignment with the organization’s culture.
This assessment can help the HR professionals select candidates who share the same vision and values as the organization, as well as provide them with feedback and coaching on how to improve their cultural fit.
- Behavioral Assessments and Interview Questions:
PMaps Behavioral Assessments evaluates the behavioral competencies and personality traits of candidates for various job roles. It uses behavioral questions and scenarios to elicit examples of how candidates have handled situations in the past or how they would handle them in the future. It evaluates the candidates’ behavioral attributes, such as rapport-building skills, teamwork skills, leadership skills, adaptability skills, etc., which are crucial for working effectively in an organization.
These assessments can help HR professionals to understand the behavioral and cultural fit of candidates for different blue and white-collar job roles, as well as to provide feedback and coaching.
Blue-collar and white-collar are two broad categories of jobs that differ in many aspects but also share some commonalities. Both types of jobs contribute to the economy and society in valuable ways and require different sets of skills and competencies. However, hiring for both types of jobs may be hindered by several human biases and a lack of objective clarity.
To find potentially fit candidates with transferable skills and trainability might serve as the best solution.
PMaps Assessment helps you know your candidates better be it in the category of blue collar or white collar. We ensure that you are informed about the areas of improvement, strengths, and weaknesses of your potential candidates as well as of your existing employees.
To explore more about Blue and White Collar Assessments for your organization, to make quicker and more efficient hiring decisions, you can connect with us at (+917709196077), or email us at (firstname.lastname@example.org), or reach out to our experts on a quick demo through our website.
What do you mean by white collar job?
White-collar job roles are those that involve mental or clerical work. It is a job with work that requires education, training, and experience, usually in an office. The term comes from the typical dress code followed by corporate professionals, the white shirts and ties. These job roles are filled with severe talent scrutiny through various skill-based psychometric tests.
What are five examples of white-collar jobs?
- Accountant: A person who records, analyzes, and reports financial transactions and information for individuals or organizations.
- Telecom Service Representative: A professional who assists customers with their telecommunications needs, such as setting up and troubleshooting phone or internet services.
- Customer Service: Individuals or teams dedicated to helping customers with their inquiries, concerns, or issues related to a product or service, ensuring a positive customer experience.
- Sales Representative: A person who promotes and sells products or services to potential customers, often by understanding their needs and presenting solutions that meet those needs.
- Software developer: A person who creates software applications and systems using various programming languages and tools.
Is BPO a white collar job?
BPO can be considered a white-collar job, as it involves performing tasks that require specialized knowledge or skills, such as customer service, data entry, accounting, human resources, etc. BPO stands for business process outsourcing, which is a practice of contracting out certain business functions or operations to a third-party service provider.