October 14, 2022

The Rise Of New Collar Workers? Here’s What You Need To Know

In the past generations, workers used to be separated into two – blue-collar and white-collar workers. White-collar workers are referred to as those office-related jobs, while blue-collar workers are more in the industrial sector, such as construction. But presently, things are becoming different. New “classes” of employees are emerging, including those who freelance full-time or work as contract workers. But did you know about the new-collar worker?

A new-collar worker is defined as someone who pursues unconventional education and training to gain the technical and soft skills required to thrive in particular occupations. Rather than having a four-year degree, they pursue education through nontraditional channels such as vocational schools, certification programs, apprenticeships, or internships. As organizations vie for potential talents, overcome skill gaps, and remain competitive, the new-collar worker is widely sought after.

What comprises the new-collar worker?

The terminology “new-collar worker” was used by Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, to describe IBM employees who work in increasingly technical positions.

Though the concept was originally connected with the technology sector, it now includes technical occupations in healthcare and manufacturing. Technicians, consultants, and programmers are examples of new-collar professionals in healthcare. They are the people in manufacturing who manage automation, data analysis, and deal with computer-aided files and applications. Aside from these businesses, new-collar workers will come from professions involving cloud technology, data mining, security analysis, and advanced computer maintenance and operation.

Why “New-Collar Jobs” are emerging?

The technological advancements and the workforce required to push companies forward are changing rapidly, and nearly impossible to forecast what competencies in manpower supply will be most valuable in 10 years. The conventional approach of studying for a degree in college and retaining that skill set throughout one’s professional career does not meet the evolving labor market expectations. Education in new-collar jobs is much more adaptable, offering in-demand competencies that can be applied to today’s technological era.

The expertise of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and data science are among these capabilities. To compare formal schooling, most companies are more interested in the value of actual application and versatility of these skills. And obtaining these competencies is way faster, more efficient, and less expensive than completing a four-year degree, making entry into the sectors of new-collar occupations much more accessible.

Strategies for hiring new-collar workers?

Identifying the ideal new-collar worker necessitates a considerable shift in employment practices. Traditionally, hiring managers valued college degrees, GPAs, and previous employment experience. Today, evaluating potential versus experience means going beyond the bullet points on a resume.

Hiring managers should prepare a list of characteristics and competencies required for work success and technical interview questions to evaluate these qualities and capabilities. Aside from the usual interview, hiring managers should examine prior education and work experience in which these skills are used in specific functions. For example, work experience that requires learning a new software system or technical talent is desirable. Selection of applicants who display the ability to acquire and process brand-new information, a growth attitude, technical aptitude, enthusiasm, and creative thinking abilities are also essential considerations.

What Lies Ahead For The Labor Supply

Several blue-collar and white-collar jobs that have been prevalent for many years will be largely replaced by automation. Rather than waiting for that restructuring, acquiring the most relevant and valued technical skills now will better equip people for sustainable job opportunities in the future.

Even as we strive to rebuild conventional industries, long-term job creation will necessitate an understanding of crucial emerging global labor market dynamics. It’s not about white-collar vs. blue-collar employment; it now focuses on the ‘new collar positions’ that companies in various industries demand yet go generally unfulfilled.

The demand for new-collar jobs will only increase as more industries adopt the technology propelling the business industry forward. Invest in your current workforce by assisting them in developing skills that will benefit them in their respective roles and offer them opportunities for advancement. It will not only make current staff satisfied but also make your team more productive, adaptive, and efficient.