Article: Are you skilling up for 'New Collar' Jobs?


Are you skilling up for 'New Collar' Jobs?

With the growing concern of skill gap threatening overall business optimism, check how prepared your organization is to welcome the new collar workers of tomorrow.
Are you skilling up for 'New Collar' Jobs?

Here comes the third variant - ‘the new collar’ workers; all set to redefine the future of work. The ‘Whites’ and the ‘Blues’ have been hovering around since long and will continue to; however the future of work has given birth to a newer one. Let us understand what ‘New collar’ means.

It is historically said that blue-collar workers ‘uses more of their hands’ while white-collar workers ‘uses more of their heads’. To simplistically put into words, the new collar workers ‘will use more of their skills’ that does not rely much on formal degrees. These are jobs that may not require a traditional college degree. Workers or employees under this category will have technical skills but they may not have to necessarily wait to earn a four years degree to get into employment. 

The term has been coined by IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty. She feels that in IBM with a constant urgency to find new breed of talent pool, a huge number of positions take hard time to fill. One of the major reasons behind it is due to the evolving nature of work. Hence the jobs that are being created, demands new skills. And this in turn requires new approaches to hiring, training and skilling the available talent pool. Hence, there is an innate need to re-align the skilling model.

Realign Education - Corporate model 

Fetching the right talent has made some companies so desperate that they have started to invest in job training programs by partnering with schools to equip students with the exact skills they crave for. Let us see some prominent names in the industry that are uniting to train the new collar students of future generation:

  • IBM

IBM has designed a new educational model through its P-TECH initiative. Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, whatever you many want to call it were opened five years ago in Brooklyn. This is an IBM-sponsored six-year high school and associate’s degree that is currently available in several U.S. cities. This combines relevant curriculum with necessary skills from community colleges and real-world job experience that has achieved graduation rates and successful job placement. 

IBM plans to open at least 20 more P-TECH schools in 2018 and there will soon be 100 schools of this kind. Governors and mayors from across the political spectrum have become champions for this new approach.

  • Delta

Delta has partnered with 37 aviation maintenance schools to give thousands of students the technical knowledge needed to be an aviation maintenance technician (AMT). This will ideally get them jobs at Delta in near future. Joe McDermott, managing director of Delta's cabin, training and support services says that “A lot of what is being taught doesn’t quite align with the technical knowledge that is needed.” As per him, even after completing the best training as an AMT which takes around 2 years, there’s requirement of additional training which takes at least a year of working with Delta before an AMT is cleared to sign off on anything. And the current curriculum as regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration is quite generic. Hence, with the new initiatives, Delta plans to teach students the specific skills needed to work at a faster pace.

What are traditional Manufacturing Sectors doing?

It is important to note that the new-collar worker concept is not just associated with the IT industry. Even mature industries like steel, Oil and Gas, and others too are carving out high-tech niches. The growing numbers of new products are paving way for employment opportunities in manufacturing too. This industry already has a significant skills shortage. The baby-boomer generation makes up around 20% of the current workforce and they are fast approaching retirement. This will increase the need for skilled workers even more. Hence, the modern manufacturing will no longer think in terms of white or blue collar; they too are in need of new-collars.

Wrap Up

The demand for new collar workers will continue to grow. One can acquire the requisite skills through various mediums like coding camps, professional short-term certifications, vocation training and many more. As per Dilpreet Singh, VP HR & HR Head, IBM India and South Asia, ‘The emergence of the new collar job community is embracing technology, forging deeper relationships with ecosystem partners and acquiring in-demand skill-sets’. Also, the chief economic adviser for ZipRecruiter, Cathy Barrera says that the number of such jobs posted on the site each month has increased by 45 percent. It’s time to check how your organization is gearing up to address the shortage of highly skilled talent to build a future of growth under ‘new collar’ jobs.

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Topics: Skilling

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