WHAT ARE BLUE COLLAR JOBS, ANYWAY?
We’re often asked, who are ‘blue collar workers’ and we wanted to do our best to answer that question. Our stance is that a blue collar worker is anyone who traditionally works with their hands and gets things done outside the office. Would ‘tradesmen’ be a better term? Craftsmen in some cases? It doesn’t matter to us. We use skilled trades and blue collar interchangeably.
Ultimately, we’re proud of our blue collar backgrounds, and we think most workers in these industries share this feeling.
That said, we wanted to go straight to the source and see what the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Here are the top blue collar positions by number of workers according to their research:
Top 10 Blue-Collar Jobs Ordered by number of workers employed in the U.S.
- Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
- Maintenance and Repair Workers, General
- Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
- Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers
- Construction Laborers
- Packers and Packagers, Hand
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
- First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
All told, there’s about 16M blue collar workers in this country and given the work they do, we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s even more that are unaccounted for.
Training, Education, and Salary of Skilled Trades
While less than 5% of skilled trade jobs require a bachelor’s degree, the skilled trades do reward education. Compared to most other jobs, there’s LOTS of on-the-job training, partly to make up for the loss of technical education in this country, and partly because each job is incredibly specific.
You don’t need a typical bachelors degree for most blue collar jobs, but some sort of degree or training can really help you. In fact, skilled wages are generally slightly higher for blue collar workers with these credentials than other jobs.
Hopefully, that gives you an idea of who the blue-collar workers are in the US. We’ll analyze jobs in these industries in greater detail in the next series of blog posts, which we hope gives you a greater understanding of the importance of these jobs for this country’s future.
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