Are blue-collar jobs in demand?

Yes, vacancies for blue-collar jobs are not only growing, but the market for manual labor jobs is experiencing a high shortage of talent.

With an increasing number of college-educated job seekers unwilling to take up blue-collar jobs even though they are paid fairly well, the disparity between job openings and job seekers is at its all-time high.

Studies show that there are 7.6 million vacancies, but only 6.5 million people are looking for work.

This has led to a 10% increase in pay for blue-collar jobs which is higher than the 7.5% pay increase for white-collar jobs.

So if you are considering a career in a blue-collar job market, now is a great time to start.

Read on to learn more about blue-collar jobs and get clarity on related queries like the following:

Blue-collar Worker Definition

Blue-collar jobs are positions that require manual labor and are very often in a non-office setting.

Some typical blue-collar job examples include truck drivers, construction workers, cashiers, assemblers, machine operators, etc.

Blue-collar workers need to perform physical tasks and usually require a specialized skill that can be acquired through hands-on training as opposed to a formal college education.

Although the distinction between blue-collar, white-collar, and grey-collar jobs can get blurry, blue-collar jobs can be considered manual working-class jobs which account for over 60% of the labor force in the US.

Blue-collar jobs can be divided into 5 main categories:

  • Skilled Workers (Electricians, plumbers, and carpenters)
  • Technicians (Plant technicians, car mechanics, and electronics repair technicians)
  • Operators (Plant operators, subway operators, and machine operators)
  • Laborers (Janitors, construction and warehouse workers)
  • Public Service (Firefighters, police officers, and detectives)

Also read: How to write a stellar electrician resume in 2022?

High Paying Blue-collar Jobs

While blue-collar jobs are looked down upon because they are physically demanding, these jobs pay relatively well and offer a higher ratio of job satisfaction when compared to their counterparts.

Given below are some of the highest-paid blue-collar jobs:

Power Plant Operator

Power plant operators are tasked with supervising the power generating equipment, carrying out regular checks, and regulating transmission loads in a power station.

Depending on the type of plant, the generating equipment can be fueled by natural gas, nuclear power reactor, or coal.

While you don’t need a college degree to land this position, employers prefer candidates who have some vocational training and exceptional mathematical skills.

The average annual salary for power plant operators in the US is $81,990.

Police Officers Supervisors and Detectives

Although this line of work is not everyone’s cup of tea, if you are passionate about safeguarding your community and helping others, the position of a police officer/detective is a high-paying blue-collar job.

Aspiring candidates must at least have a high school diploma, be 21 years of age or older, and be physically fit to qualify.

If you get shortlisted for the job, you will undergo mandatory training in the police academy or a training institute.

And since this job profile comes with quite serious risks, they are paid well.

The supervisors of police officers and detectives in the US make a median salary of $89,030 per annum.

Also read: How to write a brilliant police officer resume?

Elevator Installers and Repairers

To land a blue-collar job like an elevator installer and repairer, you must complete a 4-year apprenticeship course that requires candidates to have a high school diploma.

These professionals are also known as elevator mechanics and are responsible for reading elevator blueprints, assembling, installing, maintaining, and replacing elevators, escalators, and similar equipment in buildings.

On average, elevator installers and repair technicians make an annual salary of $79,780.

Aircraft Mechanics

If you are interested in working in the aviation industry with a blue-collar job, this is a suitable role for you.

Aircraft mechanics carry out scheduled maintenance, system inspections, and repairs on aircraft, jets, and choppers.

While some of them specialize in working with a single type of aircraft, others may be trained to work on multiple aircraft variants.

To qualify for this job, you must attend an FAA-approved AMT school or have at least 2+ years of work experience in the field and pass the FAA exam to get certified.

Depending on the level of work experience, expertise, location, employer, and other factors, the average salary of an aircraft mechanic can range between $51,057 and $86,030.

Also read: A guide for drafting a compelling aircraft mechanic resume

Petroleum Pump System Operator

Petroleum pump operators are responsible for setting up, maintaining, and overseeing the refining units at oil refineries and ship pumping stations.

A considerable amount of physical labor is required in this role as pump operators install, move, and operate different equipment.

The requirements for this role vary based on the employer. Aspiring candidates may be required to have a high school diploma and a year of on-the-job training or an associate degree in Process Technology.

The median annual wage of a petroleum pump system operator is $53,830 in the US.

First-line Supervisors of Firefighting & Prevention Workers

First-line firefighter supervisors manage & coordinate tasks among workers, and assign firefighters to required locations for rescue operations.

They are also responsible for assessing the nature and extent of the fire, building condition, risk to adjacent buildings, and water supply status.

Needless to say, this job comes with a degree of risk, so you must possess exceptional teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Apart from that, you will be required to have a high school diploma or GED and at least 5-6 years of experience in firefighting to become a supervisor.

These professionals earn an average salary of $68,210 per year.

Also read: How to become a firefighter in 2022?

Pile Driver Operators

As the name suggests, pile-driver operators are tasked with operating heavy machinery that drives piles into the ground that provides foundation support for bridges, buildings, and other structures.

Although you don't need a formal degree to get a job as a pile driver operator, you must have training or an apprenticeship in operating heavy equipment.

These professionals are also responsible for maintaining the machinery, keeping records, and performing inspections.

They earn an average annual income of $43,778 in the US.

Electrical Power-line Installers and Repairers

If you don't mind working outside and are comfortable with heights, one of the blue-collar jobs that you can get is electrical installers.

From installing electrical power lines and telecommunications cables to making occasional repairs, electrical installers are responsible for reading technical diagrams and blueprints to carry out their work.

A 3-year apprenticeship and relevant experience in the field are some of the requirements that aspiring candidates must meet.

However, it is to be noted that this job comes with a degree of risk as you will be working with high voltages at great heights.

Due to this risk factor, electrical installers earn a high average salary of
$79,060 per annum.

Construction and Building Inspectors

As a construction and building inspector, you will review residential and commercial buildings that are under construction and ensure compliance with building safety codes.

For this blue-collar job, you will need a diploma in engineering, architecture, or any other related field.

Construction and building inspectors can be employed by the government or private agencies and individual clients as well.

The median salary of these professionals in the US is $55082 per year.

Powerhouse Electrical Repairer

If you enjoy solving problems and have critical thinking skills coupled with a diploma from a technical college, you can land this blue-collar job as a powerhouse electrical repairer.

You will be responsible for repairing & maintaining generators, service relay equipment, and maintaining records of the same at a powerhouse.

Most employers look for candidates who have specialized training or have completed a certificate course in powerhouse electrical handling.

Powerhouse electrical repairers make a comfortable annual income of $87,640 per annum.

Also read: How to draft a great quality control resume in 2022?


Blue-collar Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree

Given the shortage of talent, many high-scale companies are now dropping their college education requirements to fill blue-collar job vacancies.

The following is a list of blue-collar jobs that don’t require a 4-year college degree:

Job Title Average Salary
Electrical Technician $52,650
Telecommunications Technician $57,667
Derrick Hand $65,478
Construction Manager $76,205
Plumber/Pipefitter $59,087
Criminal Investigator $57,995
Divers $53,535
Boilermaker $80,027
Manufacturing Technician $39295
Cosmetologist $42,900

Also read: What are the highest paying entry-level jobs in 2022?

White Collar vs Blue Collar Jobs

The biggest difference between white-collar jobs and blue-collar jobs is the work that entails these jobs.

As stated earlier, blue-collar jobs include manual labor while white-collar jobs include desk work in office settings, including management and administrative roles.

Furthermore, the educational background, skills, and qualification requirements for white-collar jobs mostly include a bachelor's degree whereas, it having a degree is not a must for blue-collar jobs.

Another differentiating factor between the two is the method in which they get paid.

While professionals working white-collar jobs get paid on a fixed salary basis, those working blue-collar jobs get paid based on specific projects or hourly basis.

Also read: What are the best white-collar jobs to get in 2022?

Key Points from the Blog

  • The demand for blue-collar workers is on the rise an increasing number of job seekers hold a college degree and don’t want to work working-class jobs.
  • Blue-collar workers perform physical tasks and usually require a specialized skill that can be acquired through hands-on training as opposed to a formal college education.
  • Power plant operators, police officers, firefighter supervisors, aircraft technicians, elevator installers, and petroleum pump system operators are some of the highest-paying blue-collar jobs.
  • The average blue-collar jobs salary in the US can range from $27,503 to $41,576.
  • Electrical technicians, construction managers, criminal investigators, and divers are some of the blue-collar jobs that don’t require a 4-college degree to qualify.

Visit Hiration’s Career Activator Platform with 24x7 chat support to get expert guidance on landing blue-collar jobs. You can also write to us at

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