What is the Difference Between Blue Collar and White Collar

The main difference between blue collar and white collar is that they refer to two different categories of workers. The term blue collar refers to workers who are traditionally associated with manual work, while the term white collar refers to workers in office environments and professional employment.

The term blue collar has originated as a result of the hard-wearing blue clothing workers who engage in manufacturing, trade-focused tasks, or construction wear. They usually wear denim clothing hard enough to hold out against physical work. Meanwhile, white collar jobs  are associated with businesspeople and office employees who represent the desk-based forms of employment.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Blue Collar 
     – Definition, Features, Jobs
2. What is White Collar
     – Definition, Features, Jobs
3. Similarities – Blue Collar and White Collar
     – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Blue Collar and White Collar
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Blue Collar, White Collar, Jobs, Professions Difference Between Blue Collar and White Collar - Comparison Summary

What is Blue Collar

Blue collar mainly refers to workers who are engaged in manual labour. Blue collar job market is even more diverse than white collar as it includes a range of workers extending from unskilled manual labourers to extremely qualified technicians and skilled businessmen.

Blue Collar and White Collar

Furthermore, blue collar jobs happen in a wide range of environments, including factories, public spaces, workshops, offices, outdoor areas, and even homes. Most significantly, in blue collar jobs, workers are often offered on-the-job training, and these workers often work on shifts. Moreover, they often receive an hourly rate, not a monthly salary. Such workers usually engage in contract work. Some common blue collar jobs include electricians, mechanics, warehouse operatives, construction workers, telecoms engineers, unskilled or skilled labourers, etc.

What is White Collar

Traditionally, the term white collar jobs refer to professionally qualified people engaged in office-related work. Although white collar jobs are frequently linked to office work, they are sometimes associated with home environments as well.

Blue Collar vs White Collar

Clerical duties such as accounting, communication, and information technology are ordinary for many white collar jobs such as data analysts, software engineers, marketing executives, accountants, secretaries, financial advisers, administrators, company managers, and market researchers. Most white collar jobs share similar working environments and offer opportunities for training and professional development for workers. Unlike blue collar workers, white collar workers often serve a standard 40-hour week and obtain an annual salary. Generally, companies offer bonuses and increments for white collar workers as an incentive for employee success and development.

Similarities Between Blue Collar and White Collar

  • The job market of any country is a combination of both blue collar and white collar workers.
  • Both types of workers provide a service and earn their wages.

Difference Between Blue Collar and White Collar


Blue collar workers are traditionally associated with manual labor, while white collar workers are linked to office environments and professional employments.


White collar positions demand some form of higher education, while blue collar positions usually offer on-the-job training through apprenticeships or vocational education.

Work Environment

White collar jobs typically happen in an office setting in front of a desk and a computer. Furthermore,  white collar workers also can work long distances. However, blue collar jobs take place in a wide variety of settings, including homes, warehouses, workshops, offices, outdoor areas and many more.


White collar workers receive an annual salary while blue collar workers receive an hourly wage.


The main difference between blue collar and white collar is that the white collar employees typically engage in duties at a clerical level such as developing, communicating and implementing ideas while blue collar employees offer physical labour with machinery, equipment or vehicles, etc. Blue collar workers often use tools or equipment, while white collar jobs demand expertise and highly specialized skills from workers.


1. Fortney, Ken. “Top 10 Blue Collar Jobs.” Career Tool Belt, 21 July 2020.
2. Hayes, Adam. “White Collar.” Investopedia, 21 July 2021.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Worker-employee-security-work” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Photo of Man Holding a Book” (CC0) via Pexels

About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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