Blue collar workers are often associated with unskilled labour. But they are more than that. They are the foundation of industrialisation. From manufacturing to waste removal, blue collar workers are the people doing physical labour, but lately they are also certified electricians, mechanics, technicians, home health aides, nursing assistants and more.
If you are wondering how the post-pandemic hiring and employment landscape will look, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs expected to grow at a faster (or much faster) rate are:
- Computer user support specialists
- Registered nurses
- Construction managers
- Financial managers
- Industrial machinery mechanics
- Nurse practitioners
- Elementary school teachers
The pandemic has exposed the need and importance of various blue collar job roles that will survive the rise of technology. Labour shortages in blue collar jobs might lead to the decline of the nation’s overall standard of living and profits in industries like transportation, warehousing, and manufacturing.
For years, blue collar workers have been marginalized. Even today, many do not value the skills it takes to perform their jobs. An article by Fox Business highlights the severe worker shortage in manufacturing and construction industries due to baby boomers choosing mainstream education to earn higher salaries. We are now witnessing a huge shortage of blue collar workers across industries.
Many employers are willing to pay higher wages for the right talent that can bridge the skills gap they are facing. A report published by Cognizant states that skilled job roles are expected to grow by 3% across all industries over the next five years.
With blue collar skills in demand, here are a few trends to watch out for in 2021:
- Exposure to Advanced Technology: Advanced technologies in 2021 will continue to boost conventional blue collar workers into value-generating roles. These roles will demand high skills and tech-enabled expertise which are important to understand product performance and to improve its efficiency.
- Digital literacy/Electronic-intelligence: Blue collar work is not going to be what it used to be. Latest construction sites have digital hubs to connect and empower construction workers to synchronize tasks and maintain an intelligent workflow. Digital literacy is essential for the blue collar workforce in 2021 to perform specific tasks being fully equipped with technical insights.
- Computerized Equipment Skills: Blue collar workers have to regularly deal with the changing workplace and the introduction of technology. Hence, computer technology skills are important to:
- Track the production quantity and run time of the equipment
- Record their work time and worksite
Additionally, computerized equipment skills in workers at job sites help in communicating with the home office through email and computerized work orders. Workers can easily receive important information on laptops and computers.
- Innovation and creativity: Blue collar workers are moving on from carrying routine physical tasks like they did in the traditionally manual-labour-heavy environments. They are equipped to add value in new and innovative ways. They use human insight and judgment in their procedural work along with the skills to exploit data and analytics.
- Joint participation of man and machine: Over the next five years, blue collar workers are expected to see nearly 26% rise in smart machines to make routine decisions. Hence, machine learning has become an important skill to acquire for blue collar workers along with specific training in artificial intelligence.
- Robotics/ Data Literacy: Smart robots powered by algorithms and automated decision-making quality are more in use now for basic operation jobs like measurement, packaging, bending, casting, and inspection. Data literacy along with analytical insight along with the ability to co-work with robots will enhance machine-handling techniques.
- Traditional skills: The most significant performance skills are still going to be right judgment, creativity, teamwork, and social skills.
2021, post-covid, has bought a renaissance in blue collar and it is really picking up speed. Most workers are making efforts to learn new skills and making the necessary changes to their workforce strategies. They have realized the full value of their new roles in future competitive performance to adapt to the structural changes.
The blue collar workforce is expected to experience continued hiring competition in 2021. This discussion is to divulge and communicate the new-age skills for workers of all age brackets pursuing blue collar work.
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Also read: Using real-world data to fulfil student and recruiter expectations https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/using-real-world-data-to-fulfil-student-and-recruiter-expectations/