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White-collar worker

White-collar workers are employees who perform clerical or knowledge work, such as those in clerical, professional, managerial or administrative positions, in contrast to blue-collar workers, who do manual work.

The name derives from the traditional white, button down shirts worn by workers of such professions. As white shirts are easily soiled, these workers do not do manual labor.

Formerly a minority in the agrarian and early industrial societies, the recent technological revolution has created disproportionatly more Desk jobs while America has experienced a decline in manufacturing. Generally, the pay rate is higher among white-collar workers, although many of the "white- collar" workers are not necessarily upper class as the term once implied.

Related terms

white-collar crime