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Grey-collar refers to the balance of employed people not classified as white- or blue collar. It is occasionally used to describe elderly individuals working beyond the age of retirement, as well as those occupations that incorporate some of the elements of both blue- and white-collar, and generally are in between the two categories in terms of income-earning capability.

Grey-collar work is a career advancement transitional or intermediary phase between blue-collar and white-collar work, where grey-collar workers often have licenses, associate degrees, certificates or diplomas from a trade school or technical school in a particular field and perform managerial duties supervising others that perform manual labor and/or skilled trades. They are unlike blue-collar workers, who can often be trained on the job within several weeks, whereas grey-collar workers already have a specific skill set and require more specialized knowledge than their blue-collar counterparts.

The fields that most recognize the differences between these two groups are human resources and the insurance industry. These different groups must be insured differently for liability, as the potential for injury is different.


Example occupations:

Other definitions

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that another definition for grey collar could be the underemployed white collar worker.[3]

Charles Brecher of the Citizens Budget Commission and the Partnership for New York City defined it as sub-blue-collar jobs: "maintenance and custodial".[4]

See also


  1. ^ "What Are Grey-Collar Workers?". HR in Asia. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  2. ^ "China strives to cultivate grey collar workers". People's Daily. 21 December 2004. Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  3. ^ Sostek, Anya (11 August 2006). "It's not just blue or white collar anymore as consultants labels for new jobs to the pallette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018. The least defined term of all seems to be grey collar, which can refer to those working well into their 60s, because they can't afford to retire, or to an underemployed white collar worker, such as someone with a bachelor's degree in English literature working as a customer service representative.
  4. ^ "Business Groups Attack New York City's 'Lavish' Health Benefits". Workforce Management. 18 December 2009. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011.