White-collar worker


White-collar worker

The term white-collar worker refers to a salaried professional who performs semi-professional office, administrative, and sales coordination tasks, as opposed to a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor. "White-collar work" is an informal term, defined in contrast to "blue-collar work".

Office work

Contents

Etymology

The term refers to the white dress shirts of male office workers common through most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Western countries as opposed to the blue shirts, uniforms or cover-alls of manual or service workers.

The term "white collar" is credited to Upton Sinclair, an American writer, in relation to modern clerical, administrative and management workers during the 1930s,[1] though references to "easy work and a white collar" appear as early as 1911.[2] Examples of its usage in the 1920s include a 1923 Wall Street Journal article that reads, "Movement from high schools to manual labor in steel plants is unusual, as boys formerly sought white collar work."[3]

Demographics

Formerly a minority in the agrarian and early industrial societies, white-collar workers have become a majority in industrialized countries due to modernization and exportation of manufacturing jobs.

The blue collar/white collar descriptors as it pertains to work dress may no longer be an accurate descriptor as office attire has broadened beyond a white shirt and tie. Employees in office environments may wear a variety of colors, may dress business-casual or wear casual clothes all together. In addition work task have blurred. "White-collar" employees may perform "blue-collar" tasks (or vice versa). An example would be a restaurant manager who may wear more formal clothing yet still assist with cooking food or taking customers' orders or a construction worker who also performs desk work.

Receptionists in Stockholm

See also

References

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition. Electronically indexed online document. White collar, usage 1, first example.
  2. ^ "The Job of Getting Jobs," World's Work 23, July 1911: 1454-55.
  3. ^ "Boys in Steel Mills," Wall Street Journal, June 30, 1923.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • white-collar worker — ➔ worker …   Financial and business terms

  • white-collar worker — Any non manual office worker, including clerical, administrative, managerial, and professional personnel. Compare blue collar worker …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • white-collar worker — noun A salaried professional or clerical worker …   Wiktionary

  • white-collar worker —  Clerical or administrative, as distinct from manual, worker …   A concise dictionary of English slang

  • white-collar worker — /waɪt ˌkɒlə wɜ:kə/ noun a worker in an office, not in a factory …   Dictionary of banking and finance

  • white collar worker — official, business people …   English contemporary dictionary

  • white-collar — a white collar worker is someone who works in an office, doing mental rather than physical work. The ratio of white collar workers to production workers in the American manufacturing industry was declining. (always before noun) The earnings of… …   New idioms dictionary

  • white-collar — /hwuyt kol euhr, wuyt /, adj. 1. belonging or pertaining to the ranks of office and professional workers whose jobs generally do not involve manual labor or the wearing of a uniform or work clothes. n. 2. a white collar worker. Cf. blue collar.… …   Universalium

  • white-collar crime — ➔ crime * * * white collar crime UK US noun [C or U] LAW, WORKPLACE ► crime in which an office worker or someone in business illegally takes money from their employer or the people they deal with in their business: »A state employee was charged… …   Financial and business terms

  • White Collar — A working class that is known for earning high average salaries and not performing manual labor at their jobs. White collar workers historically have been the shirt and tie set, defined by office jobs and not getting their hands dirty (or their… …   Investment dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.