One of President-elect Donald Trump’s many campaign promises was to bring businesses back to American soil. In the last decades, many businesses have begun outsourcing labour to foreign countries to lower production costs, and the new administration will be looking for ways to reverse this trend. One person offering assistance to this cause is IBM’s Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rommety, who recently announced IBM is prepared to help the American job market by creating more high-tech jobs in health care and other sectors.
She refers to these new jobs as the “new collar” jobs.
New collar is a play on the terms blue collar and white collar. Blue collar jobs are occupations that require manual labour such as construction and factory work. In contrast, white collar jobs are more professional positions, such as doctors, office jobs or most non-manual labour. The new collar jobs, on the other hand, include more computer knowledgeable, IT-based jobs. Rommety calls for creating programs to teach young people more about IT and technology-based programs as many large businesses are looking for skilled workers in these fields.
These jobs will not necessarily need a college or university degree but vocational training to understand the specific IT needs and skills that are in demand. Rommetty says that these jobs are more skills based and proposed an investment, not necessarily for college or university programs, but training initiatives—even within high schools, to teach young people about information technology.
There are various positions within various technology based industries that constitute as new collar jobs. These include Cybersecurity Architect, Service delivery analyst, coders, computer technicians, Cloud Administrators and positions in fields such as pharmaceuticals and medical assistance.
Of course, there are pros and cons to these suddenly heavily in demand jobs.
It is a fairly new field, so there is a high demand now; however, this field of work naturally leads to a less human workspace. As IBM’s CEO said, with more skilled workers trained in information technology more programs and intelligent software can be made to no longer need human labour at all. The work lends itself to temporality and eventual extinction. Also, there is potential for these jobs, much like blue collar jobs, to become outsourced to places in the world where labour is cheaper and there may already be more workers skilled in these areas.
The pros, however, are that more people will have a marketable skill that won’t require a university education to make a liveable salary. It also means that there will be a creation and development in new and more efficient technologies which will be beneficial not only to big business like IBM, but eventually everyone.
Without a doubt, the future of job creation is new collar. The industry is new and full of promise, but its growth and development will be greatly dependant on the collaboration between businesses, government and civil society.
By Leah Symmone