Are You Recruiting for ‘New Collar’ Jobs?

Technical skills are now required for a wide range of positions. Even many jobs that were once known as “blue collar” have been dubbed “new collar,” because the skills requirements have changed.

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Nevertheless, not all job descriptions—and recruiters and hiring managers—are up to speed on the change. Make that “changes,” plural.

Technology Has Taken Off

There have been many changes in recent years. Increased automation, robotics, integrated technologies, artificial intelligent (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and more have impacted a wide range of industries, including the automotive, aerospace, health care, and manufacturing sectors, among others.
Last month, Ali Velshi of MSNBC reported that many jobs previously available in factories and production plants have been replaced by computers—but that people are still needed … to program and run those computers.
In general, Velshi says, new collar jobs don’t require a college degree but require some training, usually in coding or computing. To meet the demand for new collar workers, a number of top companies, such as Toyota, Boeing, GM, and Dow Chemical, have started or expanded skills training programs.
Delta Airlines, which needs maintenance workers for its planes – jobs that require mechanical knowledge, as well as knowledge of electronics and technology – has partnered with a community college in Michigan to develop a program specifically aimed at providing would-be employees with the right combination of skills.
Aircraft mechanics today are tech workers, Velshi points out.
A significant number of other jobs also require tech workers. And therein lies the challenge.

Recruiting with Attention to Tech

But, for recruiters and hiring managers, therein lies the potential as well.
Many of today’s workers – Millennials and members of Generation Y especially – are tech savvy. Positioning new collar jobs to appeal to members of the workforce is part of what’s required.
This is where job titles, job descriptions, and job postings have to be carefully considered, and carefully crafted.
One of the terms frequently associated with new collar jobs, “technician,” is indeed accurate today. However, as early as the 1960s, a civil service aircraft mechanic was known as a “jet aircraft technician.” Therefore, it’s important to highlight the differences between an aircraft mechanic of yesteryear and today’s aircraft technician.

A New Mindset

In order to recruit for new collar jobs, a shift in mindset on the part of recruiters and hiring managers may also be required. New collar jobs are not entry-level jobs, that almost anyone can be trained to do. These are often highly skilled positions, with significant responsibility.
If you have any doubt, consider the work of an aircraft technician the next time you’re soaring through the clouds.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.