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World – Rise of the grey-collar worker

16 June 2014

There used to be a clear-cut divide between blue-collar workers and white-collar workers. Originating in the US, blue-collar workers perform manual labour and traditionally wore blue coloured work shirts or uniforms. White-collar workers were traditionally office workers.

According to research from ManpowerGroup, the blurring of boundaries between office workers and labourers has resulted in the creation of new working group; grey-collar workers.

Blue-collar workers are found in manufacturing jobs that combine elements of both blue- and white-collar jobs. For example, programming skills, manufacturing device operating and troubleshooting skills, data interpretation, understanding statistical process control mechanisms, etc.

Industrial Machinery Mechanics is predicted to be the top growing manufacturing technician jobs over the next few years. From 2002 up to 2018, the number of jobs is expected to grow by +23%. Other areas of growth are Avionics Technicians (+23% over the same period), Engineering Technicians (+15%), Civil Engineering Technicians (+7%), and Farm Equipment Mechanics & Service Technicians (+5%).

Of the top five growing jobs, the highest educational requirement is a Foundation degree, or Associate’s degree in the US, for Engineering Technicians and Civil Engineering Technicians offer some of the highest hourly wage, of USD 28.73 per hour and USD 23.36 per hour. Both Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Farm Equipment Mechanics require long-term on the job training, while Avionics Technicians require a postsecondary non-degree award.   

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