Are grey-collared workers the way of the future?

Tuesday July 12, 2022

As Australia faces the “Great Resignation”, grey-collared workers could provide the answer to the ever-growing skills shortage.

The Great Resignation is a phenomenon that predicts people will voluntarily leave their jobs in record numbers as the pandemic promotes a rethink of careers, work-life balance and long-term goals.

According to NAB, just over 1 in 5 Australians have changed jobs within the last year and 1 in 4 are considering leaving their current place of employment.

Interestingly, it could be the grey-collared workers who save the day during the Great Resignation.

Who are these grey saviours? Typically, the term “grey-collared workers” refers to those not classified as white or blue-collar. They are highly skilled and possess the perfect combination of technical, physical and transferrable skills.

Unlike their blue-collar counterparts, who can often be trained on the job within a few weeks, grey-collar workers already have a specific skill set and require more specialised knowledge. In terms of recruitment, grey-collared workers may not suit the traditional interview process – instead, a technical skills assessment may be better.

Companies looking to stay ahead of the game should capitalise on these multi-skilled workers, who tend to be:

  • Pilots and flight attendants
  • Farmers
  • Real estate brokers
  • Childcare workers
  • Engineers
  • Lab technicians
  • IT professionals
  • Nurses and emergency services personnel
  • Police officers, military and security workers
  • Professional musicians
  • Teachers

Workers in these industries, who often operate at the intersection between blue-collar and white-collar work, are invaluable. Until now, the grey-collar workers have traditionally been under-appreciated, underpaid and undervalued. This is all about to change.

However, as we approach the Great Resignation, it’s time to place greater value on these workers who possess the ideal combination of physical and technical skills.

In real terms, this means re-evaluating and expanding the recruitment process to attract grey-collared workers. No, they may not tick all the traditional boxes, but with their unique set of physical and technical skills, they could be just what your business needs.

In addition, take a look at the employees you already have. What could be achieved with a little on-the-job training and up-skilling? You might just fill a huge skills gap in your business.

Need help recruiting or up-skilling grey-collared workers? Reach out to the professional team at the HR Dept.



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