Gold-Collar Jobs: What Are They?

gold rockMost job seekers are fairly familiar with the terms “blue-collar” and “white-collar” (but if you aren’t, we’ve got a great blog post on it!) However, especially when it comes to manufacturing, determining a specific job as blue collar or white collar ends up being fairly reductive.

This is damaging to the image of jobs that are supposed to be blue-collar, or manual labor done in a factory for hourly pay. Thus, changes in the nature of work (i.e, we aren’t in the Industrial Revolution toiling in Manchester factories anymore) and the workplace have created new types of workers and jobs, including more specific terms to delineate certain careers.

Hence, the designation “gold-collar” worker was created. The gold-collar worker is a “middle-skilled” worker, a trade worker who can navigate not only electrical and mechanical systems of traditionally designated blue-collar jobs, but also the advanced information technology components of these jobs. According to Metropolitan Community College, gold collar jobs pay $30-$70k per year, have a 10+% projected job growth, require an associate’s degree or less for entry, require high skill, and have strong local demand. So if you hear a job you’re looking at described as a “gold-collar” job, that may be what it means.

Other signal phrases that may indicate that a job is a gold collar job include jobs with technician or technologist in the title. Especially in manufacturing, where advanced technology is continually more imperative for companies to maintain, open positions can require a blend of skilled labor and other niche technical skill sets.

For example, Electromechanical Engineering Technologists are responsible for developing, building, and maintaining automated production lines. This includes the hands-on work of literally fabricating and assembling the components and lines, as well as working with robotics, programmable logic controllers, instrumentation, automated process design, and even analyzing engineering designs. That’s a pretty wide variety of responsibilities that comprise the comprehensive position. An Industrial Automation Technician follows a similar trajectory: The technicians both designs electromechanical systems for manufacturing specifications, and performs the preventative or corrective maintenance on them.

Gold-collar jobs pay well because they require workers who are good at problem-solving and have creativity, talent, and intelligence. In addition, gold-collar workers often perform nonrepetitive and complex work that is difficult to evaluate. They must be able to perform both ends of a project: Technical and theoretical. This applies to careers that aren’t just in manufacturing, too: Designers, researchers, analysts, engineers, and lawyers have always been considered gold-collar.

Check out the huge amount of information on gold-collar jobs here if you think this fits the type of position you may be looking for! Questions? Comments? Want to learn more? Leave a comment in the section below!

photo credit: Gold-bornite-quartz hydrothermal vein (Field’s Vein, Dahlonega Mining District, Dahlonega Gold Belt, Lumpkin County, Georgia, USA) via photopin (license)