DataPoints: Positive views of blue-collar jobs

Nearly three-fourths (74%) of blue-collar workers in the U.S. say there is a good career path in their line of work, and a similar proportion (73%) believe more young adults should pursue careers in their field, according to a recent survey commissioned by staffing company Express Employment International.

More than 90% of blue-collar workers polled for the survey say they are proud of the work they do. And even though six in 10 workers think society, in general, looks down on their profession, 60% of blue-collar workers and 70% of white-collar workers agree that having a blue-collar job is respected more now than it was 10 years ago. About two-thirds (67%) of blue-collar workers believe Covid changed how people view blue-collar jobs. Three-quarters (75%) of white-collar workers agreed with this.

Still, about two-thirds (67%) of blue-collar workers say they wish they had more exposure to the world of work when they were in school, and 59% say they would have had more opportunities available to them if they went to college.

About 42% of survey participants believe there will be more jobs available in their field in the next 10 years, up from 35% who thought similarly in a 2018 survey. About 26% think there will be fewer jobs.

Although most survey responders say the pandemic has made them feel more appreciated, it has also added new stresses and pressures to their jobs, particularly from the shortage of workers. About 37% of blue-collar workers indicate they have a heavier workload due to staff shortages. Nearly three-quarters (73%) say their work-life balance has been affected by the workforce shortage. That surpasses the 60% of white-collar workers who feel this way.

The survey by the Harris Poll included 2,002 working adults in the U.S. It defined blue-collar workers as employees who perform manual labor and work in agriculture, automotive services, construction, maintenance, manufacturing, transpiration or utilities.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.