Definition of White-collar Worker
(noun) An individual who works in an office or has a professional career such as banker or lawyer.
White-collar Worker Pronunciation
Syllabification: white col·lar work·er
- American English – /wIEt-kAHl-uhr wUHR-kuhr/
- British English – /wiet-kOl-uh wUHR-kuh/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /waɪt-ˈkɑlər ˈwɜrkər/
- British English – /ˈwaɪtˈkɒlə ˈwɜːkə/
- Plural: white-collar workers
- White-collar refers to the dress shirts worn by white-collar workers in office environments.
- Blue-collar work is contrasted to white-collar worker.
- “Some bureaucracies perpetuate inequalities of race, class, and gender because this form of organizational structure creates a specific type of work or learning environment. This structure was typically created for middle- and upper-middle-class white men, who for many years were the predominant organizational participants” (Kendall 2011:194).
- “The ‘credential inflation‘ that occurred over the last third of the twentieth century was a product of the tremendous expansion in postsecondary education that occurred in many of the more developed industrial or ‘postindustrial’ societies in the post–World War II (1939–1945) era. Jobs previously filled by people possessing only high-school diplomas (for example, insurance salespeople) were increasingly filled by those with college diplomas or undergraduate university degrees. The proliferation of employment opportunities in the ‘service sector‘ combined with the contraction of the manufacturing labor force increased labor market competition for ‘white-collar’ jobs requiring reasonably high levels of literacy or numeracy” (Smith 2008:166).
- Politics and Policy Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “white-collar” and “worker” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Smith, Murray. 2008. “credentialism.” Pp. 166–67 in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2nd ed., edited by W. Darity. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.
Bilton, Tony, Kevin Bonnett, Pip Jones, David Skinner, Michelle Stanworth, and Andrew Webster. 1996. Introductory Sociology. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan.
Cite the Definition of White-collar Worker
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “white-collar worker.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 25, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/white-collar-worker/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
white-collar worker. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/white-collar-worker/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “white-collar worker.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 25, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/white-collar-worker/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“white-collar worker.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/white-collar-worker/>.