“I grew tired of standing in eight-hour shifts, assembling steel furnace doors. My knees ached from 25 years on the concrete factory floor”. This statement of Kipp – a worker who was employed by Carrier– is a story of many blue collar workers who leave their jobs due to the everyday struggle of this industry.

Although the US is merrily celebrating its all-time – since 1960 – a low unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, but these numbers are of no relief to the blue collar industry. In the tight labor market, demand for Kipp like workers is going through the roof. And getting hold of them has become harder than ever. Worse, the trend doesn’t seem to fade any time soon.

In such critical situations, there are only two ways for blue-collar companies to sustain. First is to retain the existing workforce. And second yet no less important is to bust the inhibitions of potential blue-collar workers to pace up the influx of new workers.

Understanding Blue Collar Workers Challenges

You simply need to feel the pulse of the blue collar workers and sense their struggles to determine the cause of their high attrition.

To start with, blue collar workers are skilled and unskilled laborers without high formal education for myriads of personal constraints. These workers join the industry to earn enough to make ends meet. But the compensation offered is meager and typically varies from per hour to per day, depending upon the kind of work.

Moreover, these jobs are temporary or contractual. This means workers do not have a steady income throughout the year. Also, the category of work is mostly manual consisting of construction, repair, manufacturing, installation, mining and other on-field work which pose a high threat to their physical and mental health.

Giant wave of automation further adds fuel to the fire and toughens the struggle for them. Now apart from losing money and getting injured, they’re also worried about losing their existence in the economy.

Address Challenges to Reduce Attrition

Once you have comprehended the challenges of blue collar workers, finding a solution is no-rocket science. It starts from building a safe workplace for the workers where they’re respected in tangible and non-tangible ways. Being the building blocks of the economy, the needs and demands of these workers cannot be left in oblivion.

First and foremost, you should peek within – especially in the time of high churn – and ask yourself a few basic questions. These questions should subject to the work culture you nurture inside your organization. To ease the self-evaluation process, we have charted four basic questions for you. Answers to these questions will help you understand what you are doing wrong and how you can correct it.

1. Do You Provide Work Safety and Insurance?

Transportation and material moving workers experienced 184,470 injuries and illnesses in 2018 and 174 firefighters were killed from 2013 to 2017.

These alarming statistics clearly describe why more and more blue collar workers have to leave jobs even if they’re remunerated with justified salaries. No amount of money can compensate for the lost and injured lives. Thus, providing a secure working environment for your workers should be on top of your priority list.

Start from educating workers of all the security measures and instructing them to wear safety equipment and gears on the working site. Provide insurance cover to all the workers and cover their salary if they’re absent due to injuries caused at work.

Many workers are also afraid to lose their jobs once they’re injured. This all pain and no gain style of working is why the new generation of workers are apprehensive to join this industry. You should get rid of this toxic culture and ensure workers of their job security in such critical conditions. The more your company can empathize with the workers, the better will be your relationship with workers.

2. Is Your Salary Competitive in the Market?

Unsurprisingly, a higher paycheck is accounted as the major reason for employees to quit their jobs. And for blue collar workers, it’s of utmost importance. These workers constantly struggle to sustain in the inflating economy with their low and inconsistent wages. Therefore, any increase in their wages is a promising deal for these workers.

In such cases, paying competitive salaries can hugely and rapidly reduce the attrition rate. Although, easier said than done, incrementing wages is largely subjective to the skill in question. For instance, electronic repairers, nuclear power reactor operators, petroleum pump system operators are likely to earn more remuneration than construction workers and manufacturers.

Cross-department hires can prove to be a win-win solution to tackle such critical scenarios. Workers can switch to high-paying jobs without quitting the company. It also helps you to reduce the hiring effort and cost without losing on the ROI or employees.

Apart from cross hiring, encourage employees with experience to go up the ladder to accelerate their growth and salary.

As a matter of fact, the average salary of blue collar workers has experienced an upsurge in recent years. Going by a recently released report, there are 30 million jobs – many of these are blue collar jobs – in the United States paying an average of $55,0000 per year that does not require a bachelor’s degree.

3. Are You Conducting Regular Upskilling & Apprenticeship Programs?

Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report stated that only 20 percent of companies will reduce the number of jobs in their organization, 77 percent will either retrain people to use new technology or will redesign jobs to better take advantage of their human skills.

Like every industry, blue collar workers also need retraining and upskilling to better handle the prolonged wave of automation. Therefore, it is a must for you to upskill your workers as per the new industry trends.

As the new machines make their way into everyday work chores, train your workers to install, operate and monitor these machines. Also, conduct regular apprentice programs to educate workers about relevant industry updates and innovations. Provide skill certification that validates their skills, gives them an edge and makes them feel valued in the market.

The more they’re trained, the quicker they will adapt to the automation changes without risking their jobs. Building upskilling and apprenticeship programs incites their motivation to work and positions them as a worthy part of the growing company and economy.

4. Do You Regularly Reward and Recognize Your Workers?

Reward and recognition programs are commonplace in white collar jobs, but the reality is startling in the blue collar sector. In the name of rewards, they’re generally handed mass-level bonuses on festivals or other important company events.

Akin to white collar employees, you must recognize blue collar workers as well for their work, dedication, and growth. To ensure you meet their expectations, build a culture of recognition in the organization and amongst employees.

The recognition can be personalized to individual workers or awarded to team/ departments depending upon their nature of work. The goal is to acknowledge and commend the efforts of workers and keep their motivation high.

Blue collar workers highly prefer tangible awards especially monetary incentives. But you can also adopt intangible methods of recognition such as vacation trips or a session with C-suite executives to make them feel valued.


Struggling with similar challenges or want to hire more blue collar workforce, we’re here to help. Infojini understands the pulse of blue collar workers and knows what makes them tick.


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