What is a White Collar Worker?

Definition: A white-collar worker is an employee who is not required to do physical labor such as an office worker. White-collar worker is usually an upper level employee, like managers, executives, and professionals, who is paid on a monthly salary and does not receive and hourly wage.

What Does White Collar Worker Mean?

The term white-collar comes from the stereotypical upper level employee of the 20th century. Most upper level employees wore white dress shirts with white collars where as the lower level employees doing manual labor on the factory floor often had to wear traditionally blue uniforms. That’s where the white-collar, blue-collar terms came from.


The concept of the white-collar worker has also been transferred to construction jobs as well. Engineers, architects, and other professionals wear white hard hats on the job sites where as the manual labors workers often wear yellow hard hats.

Over the years, the term white-collar worker, although stereotypical, has stuck for most high-level jobs that don’t require manual labor.

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