What Are Grey-Collar Workers?

September 11, 201410:00 am14394 views
What Are Grey-Collar Workers?
A blue-collar worker

The term “grey-collar worker” refers to the balance of employed people unclassified as white or blue collar. Grey-collar is occasionally used to describe elderly individuals working beyond the age of retirement, as well as those occupations incorporating elements of both blue- and white-collar work. Examples of grey-collar industries are:

  • Agribusiness and agriculture-related
  • Healthcare, child care, and the personal service sector
  • Protective services, military, security and civil defense
  • Food preparation and catering
  • High-technology technicians
  • Skilled trades, technicians, etc.

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Grey-collar workers often have associate degrees/advanced diplomas/polytechnic diplomas in a particular field. Unlike blue-collar workers who can be trained on-the-job within weeks to acquire their technical competencies and operational skills, grey-collar workers require training to acquire their specific skills portfolio, which spans technical and knowledge competencies, in addition to operational skills.

Increasingly, grey-colllar workers are a hybrid between blue-collar and white-collar work, due to incorporating elements of both spheres and the increasing use and deployment of technology across various industries and sectors. As technology results in jobs migrating up the value chain, with automation and new technologies displacing workers and forcing them to retrain, more and more workers will fall into the grey-collar category.

Grey-collar work requires familiarisation with technical expertise, analytical competencies and administrative skills. Many knowledge workers (i.e. white-collar workers) also fall into the same categories, often requiring technical skills in addition to their knowledge competencies, as many will require both hardware and software KSAs (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities), depending on their sector, to perform their work.

Image Credit: Bloomberg

See also: Who Do You Think is Talented…Or Not?

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