New collar jobs are occupations which focus more on a candidate’s skills during the hiring process, rather than his or her level of education. New collar jobs do not necessarily require a traditional four-year college degree and are mostly found in the information technology (IT), manufacturing and healthcare industries.
Although new collar jobs do not require a four-year degree, they often do require other types of vocational training and certifications. This training is usually completed at community colleges, vocational and technical high schools and other vocational training programs, as well as occasionally through the company itself. These types of programs have become more common, and a new type of six-year vocational high school, known as Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) has started opening across the U.S. and other countries. The first of these schools opened in Brooklyn, New York in 2011.
Many of the new collar jobs that are currently available are in industries that involve data science, coding and cloud administration. This hiring method allows companies to find more qualified workers, as well as staff their technology divisions inexpensively. New collar workers are also increasingly sought after in healthcare, with vocational certifications available for pharmacy and ultrasound technicians. New collar jobs also exist in the manufacturing industry, where low-skill jobs that previously went to blue collar workers are now automated by robots and heavy machinery. As innovative machinery continues to grow rapidly, there is a need for highly trained workers to build, maintain, update and supply parts for this technology. Some of the most sought-after professionals are highly skilled machinists and craft workers.
The term “new collar job” was coined by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, and is a play on “white collar” and “blue collar” jobs, which refer to professional and vocational jobs, respectively. IBM has led the movement for new collar technology jobs, but other companies have also caught on. In June 2017, Microsoft announced that it would give a grant to Skillful, a program which encourages skills-oriented job training.