/grey-col·lar/ – adjective

Workers who are at the intersection of blue-collar & white-collar work. Typically found in technology, healthcare, and service positions. These workers are experienced, but usually through real-world experiences or trade schools; not typical 4-year degrees.


In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving job market, businesses are facing new challenges in terms of hiring and retaining the right talent. “Grey-collar” workers are a relatively new concept in the workforce but are leading a big change. 


If you’re wondering what “grey-collar” even means, we’ve got answers! Our HR experts here at Vested HR will break down the concept of grey-collar workers; from explaining what they are to laying out the strengths of hiring them. 

Man looking at Computer 

What Are Grey-Collar Workers?

Grey-collar workers are often semi-skilled or skilled workers who perform hands-on tasks that require some level of technical knowledge and expertise but are not necessarily manual labor.  


Grey-collar workers can be found in industries such as:  


Why We Should Be Looking at Grey-Collar Workers 


Despite the need for more employees and “good workers” that many businesses yearn for these days, many companies will overlook grey-collar workers and focus only on blue-collar and white-collar employees. This not only limits the pool of potential talent but also undermines the value of critical positions that are essential to the company’s success. 

To address this issue, companies need to rebrand critical positions and value the contributions that grey-collar workers can make.  


This could involve: 

  • Offering competitive compensation and benefits packages. 
  • Providing opportunities for growth and development. 
  • Recognizing the skills and expertise that grey-collar workers bring to the table. 

By building a grey-collar workforce companies can attract and retain the best talent, build a strong and diverse workforce, and drive their businesses forward. 


Here are just some of the reasons that grey-collar workers can make all the difference: 


Real World Experience


The modern job market is demanding specific, technical skills; and many four-year degrees do not always provide the right training for these in-demand jobs. Grey-collar workers have often acquired these skills through trade schools, certification programs, or on-the-job experience, closing the skills gap for businesses and making them more competitive. 


Plus, grey-collar workers have often gained extensive experience through their work, allowing them to bring practical solutions and expertise to the table. 




The cost of higher education has skyrocketed in recent years, making it increasingly difficult for young people to obtain a traditional college degree. Hiring grey-collar workers can be more cost effective for businesses as they do not come with the same educational expenses and often require lower salaries than their degreed counterparts. 


Greater Flexibility

Grey-collar workers have a wide range of skills, making them ideal for companies that require a diverse range of expertise. They are often more flexible and adaptable, as they have typically been in different types of real-world situations, and had to able to switch between different roles and tasks. This makes them valuable assets to any business. 



Grey-collar workers have often worked their way up through the ranks, starting in entry-level positions and working their way to more technical roles. This work ethic and determination are valuable qualities in any employee, making them an asset to businesses. 


Grey-collar workers have often gained extensive experience through their work, allowing them to bring real-world solutions to the table. 


Reconsider the Need for a College Degree 


Rethinking the traditional four-year degree requirement for certain roles can greatly benefit the workforce. The conventional wisdom that a college degree is necessary for all high-paying, skilled jobs is being challenged as the job market evolves.  


By rethinking the degree requirement, businesses can expand their pool of potential hires and access a wider range of talent. This can lead to increased diversity and inclusion in the workplace and create new opportunities for individuals who may not have been able to pursue traditional college paths. 


Businesses have the power to provide a pathway for individuals to enter in-demand fields without incurring the high costs of a four-year degree. 

Asian Woman Grey Collar Worker-Vested HR

Grey-Collar Employees May Make the Difference Your Business Needs 


Now in the job market, technical skills are increasingly valued over a traditional college degree. By embracing the grey-collar workforce, businesses can find the talent they need to succeed and drive growth, while also offering new opportunities to those who may have been previously excluded from certain career paths.  


It’s time for businesses to rethink the traditional degree requirement and tap into the potential of the grey-collar workforce!  


If you need a revamped workforce; Vested HR can help you get on the right path. We’re In(Vested) in your team! Reach out to our nationally recognized HR professionals for an evaluation today.