Historically, the United States workforce has fallen in to either a white collar or blue collar category. White collar work was typically considered administrative, taking place in an office setting, while blue collar careers surrounded manual labor and were heavily focused on an industrial setting. In recent years, however, a new category has emerged called new collar.
IBM: Defining New Collar Jobs
In December of last year, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty described new collar jobs as those that typically don’t require a traditional college degree and are heavily rooted in vocational training. Rometty went on to urge employers to look beyond the traditional degree and blue/white collar stereotypes and instead focus on an individual’s skill set to get the job done. As industries are being reshaped by technology, it is believed that over the next five years there will be 75,000 jobs in IT alone that fall under the ‘new collar’ umbrella.
Recently USA Today reported that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are currently 500,000 jobs open in technology-related sectors with that number expected to double this year. Industries from healthcare to manufacturing are being reshaped to include data science, which in turn, is only furthering the need for new collar workers. This accelerated growth rate is leading companies to steer away from focusing on traditional degrees towards a much more specific skill set training, helping them to keep up with meeting new demands.
Partnerships And Training
In the December article written by Ginni Rometty, she discusses IBM’s creation of a six-year public high school that mixed traditional education styles with the best of community colleges. The result was a system made up of mentoring and real-world experiences. According to Rometty, this approach will become the “new-norm” in the next five years. While she recognizes the importance of education as a whole, for many workers, traditional schooling has kept them from reaching their fullest potential.
One example of a popular new collar job that is currently experiencing a shortage is Cloud Computing Technicians. Google, Microsoft and Amazon are just a few of the companies offering certifications and training for their own cloud products. This approach not only fills the immediate need but also allows the employer to train new employees specifically according to their style and programs.
Look To The Future
As we move away from the traditional blue collar vs. white collar career classifications, IT-specific jobs will continue to be in high demand. Let us know the new collar jobs that you are most excited about in the comments section below!