White collar, blue Collar? Try new collar!
When I was a child, I first heard the terms white collar and blue collar workers.
The white collar worker was the office worker, the accountant, the professional who sat behind a desk in their crisp, white, starched shirts and tight collars. It was essentially an indoor job, a job heavily dependent on brain, not brawn.
The blue collar worker was the doer. The term was first recorded in the 1940s in reference to the factory workers of the nation whose work uniform was often a blue shirt because it better camouflaged the dirt from the soot in the air. Over time, it evolved to mean the worker who used his or her hands, who likely worked outdoors, who fixed the cars, plowed the land, logged the forests, and fished the oceans.
It was an interesting way of stereotyping the workforce, and as with all stereotypes, many people didn’t fit well into it, but the myth continued nonetheless. Only recently, the popular reality television show Survivor pitted “brains versus brawn” with a sub-description of white collar versus blue collar.
Today something new and quite fascinating is happening in the workforce.
We are seeing the emergence of the “new collar” worker, a term being used to describe the predominant number of jobs for the future.
What this means is that the line between blue and white has blurred. That has happened because no matter what job you do in the future, you will need an understanding of technology, the “new” collar that goes around every neck.
Sometimes it will fit comfortably: sometimes it will be too tight or too loose or torn off in the heat of the moment, but it will be there.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, in a letter to now US President Donald Trump and in an opinion piece in USA Today, described the “new collar jobs” as ones which do not necessarily require a typical university degree.
Instead, they will focus on whether the applicant has the “relevant skills” needed to do the job. How they get these relevant skills may be through a community college, a university program, a self-taught program on-line or an apprenticeship. All that matters is that the skills and associated depth of knowledge is there.
Rometty reported that IBM in the near future will need to hire 25,000 of these new collar workers.
Monster.com has started posting jobs for new collar workers ranging from ultrasound technicians to diagnostic medical sonographers to service delivery analysts to cybersecurity architects.
What does this mean for your business?
It means that historically we are about to enter a world of change in the labor force that no previous generation could have anticipated. We will be challenged to make things, do things, and think things that didn’t even exist when we came out of high school or university.
As an example, I was recently reading about a U.S. Steel Corp plant in Gary, Indiana where workers make more than 700 different steel compositions, of which less than half existed a decade ago.
Jobs that once required the commitment of a lifetime of labor are now wrapped up in a month. As a result, we will all have to be more able to adapt and constantly learn new skills. It is a safe bet to make that nobody entering the labor force now will exit it doing the same job or likely even using those same skills.
Your company as you now know it will have to constantly reinvent itself over the next few years, regardless of the product or service you offer.
For the first time in history, it will be more important to be able to learn and adapt than to know and practice.
As these changes happen, there will be more and more jobs lost in traditional blue collar and white collar worlds. But the number of jobs for the new collar workers will grow at an amazing pace.
Prepare yourself now for the change to come by keeping your mind open to learning and by looking closely at your own business to see how automation will impact you down the road. Is the service you offer something everyone will soon be able to access from their home computers? Can you get ahead of the trend and innovate before you competitors do and stay on top of the situation?
Most of all, you can set strategic thinking times into your weekly and monthly schedule to keep aware of what is happening and how it will directly impact you.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 25,000 clients, 34 countries, 14 books, former radio personality, 10x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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