Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions
A white-collar worker is a person who performs clerical or administrative work, or other types of work that don’t involve physical or manual labour. White-collar work is often done in an office.
A white-collar worker is any employee of an organisation who performs tasks that don’t involve a large amount of manual labour. This can include many skills, such as bookkeeping and administrative tasks, coding, marketing, and many computer-based tasks. The term white-collar was coined in the early 1930s, inspired by the white shirts that many office workers would wear. White-collar workers can be employees in both the private and public sectors, although a larger percentage of workers are found in the private sector.
As mentioned, the term white-collar worker covers a wide range of roles, mostly held by office workers. Some examples are:
While the term white-collar worker is widely used, other terms can be used interchangeably with it. These include:
It is worth noting that the term skilled worker or professional worker may be used alongside white-collar worker, but this term is considered outdated now as blue-collar workers are also skilled.
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