Women are underrepresented in various professions, but especially in (STEM) science, technology, engineering, and math. Although women often outperform men when tested in STEM fields, they are discouraged from entering these professions.
Like STEM fields, working-class, blue-collar employment is an area where women are severely underrepresented.
Women are underrepresented by up to 80 percent in blue-collar employment.
The simple reality is that these jobs can pay significantly more than some traditional women's occupations, and they come with perks. It's time we developed additional strategies to allow female workers access to blue-collar industries so, at a minimum, they can benefit from the health care and financial advantages.
What Jobs are Considered Blue Collar?
The phrase "blue-collar" refers to an occupational category that distinguishes manual labor from administrative occupations (white-collar). Blue-collar workers who worked in trade occupations used to, traditionally, wear darker colors like blue; meanwhile, white-collar workers formerly wore white.
The Department of Labor classifies blue-collar employment related to manual work and skilled trades. Blue-collar workers, by definition, work in both the public and private sectors and do manual labor or advanced trades for an hourly rate rather than a salary. Some blue-collar jobs include truck drivers, welders, plumbers, and construction. Regarding pay, it varies, but some jobs can have higher salaries than their white-collar counterparts.
Why are Women Underrepresented?
The number of women in the blue-collar labor force is low. Especially in high-paying blue-collar jobs. Why is that?
We can't overlook that sexism, starting from the baby boomer era, has created a self-fulfilling cycle of women entering other fields.
Historically, women have donned "pink-collar jobs," while men occupy blue-collar employment.
Pink-collar jobs include teachers, retail workers, secretarial workers, and nannies, to name a few. These roles are primarily made up of duties that involve caring for and looking over others.
When female workers enter a blue-collar occupation, they are usually greeted by a team full of men. Blue-collar occupations are associated with a laddish culture and macho attitudes.
Women frequently face isolation and sexual harassment problems, and there are few mentorship options. As a result, many female employees don't enter the industry, adopt a more masculine appearance, or leave the business entirely.
Blue Collar Jobs Interview Tips
Congratulations! You've been invited to an interview. Now the hard part begins, acing the interview. Below we have included some tips you can implement to impress future employers.
Know your industry inside and out before going to an interview. You should perform research on the firm and the position ahead of time in order to prepare for the interview. This will allow you to anticipate the sorts of questions you may be asked.
Visit the business's website and learn about its initiatives, objectives, and principles. Furthermore, have a clear picture in your mind of the job description and how it connects to your skill set and work experience.
The interviewers will want to learn more about your qualifications, abilities, and expertise. Having a polished resume is a must if you're going to stick out among applicants.
There is no need to worry if you don't have past a high school degree. Many blue-collar professions don't require a higher degree and instead are looking for hard workers and good people.
When responding to questions, make a direct connection between your abilities and experience and the position you're applying to. Offer detailed explanations of how you've used these talents in the past, as well as how they will benefit the firm in the future.
It's critical to be genuine throughout the interview. Employers appreciate an honest and genuine candidate, just like most people. If you're not sure how to reply to a specific question, don't worry. Respond candidly and let the cards fall where they may.
At an interview, body language is crucial. Make direct eye contact, offer a pleasant smile, and grasp their hand firmly when you meet them. Keep your arms open at your side when you sit down and maintain a straight-backed posture. Crossed arms or slouching give the impression of being bored or defensive.
If you're applying for an administrative position or a high-level role, a suit is a right choice for your blue-collar work interview. However, if the job does not require any special attire, a more casual appearance may be acceptable. In all cases, clean shoes and a buttoned shirt are required.
An interview is a two-way street. Asking questions at the end of an interview shows attention and confidence as well as interest in the job. Furthermore, it demonstrates that you have done your homework. Prepare three or four questions ahead of time, in case the interviewer addresses a question earlier in the interview.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Although the format and content of interview questions will differ based on each position, it is crucial to rehearse before an actual interview. Research common questions people are asked in the role you are interviewing for and then get to work! You will be surprised how much you will improve with just one hour of practice.
Keys for a Successful Career
When it comes to breaking into blue-collar work sectors, one of the most common challenges women face is self-doubt and anxiety. Because these jobs have long been male dominated, many women do not view them when planning their future or looking for employment.
However, it's critical not to be sheepish and allow traditional opinions to limit your career potential. Do whatever you want. Although women may not make up the majority of blue-collar workers, that does not imply that they lack the abilities or qualifications to thrive.
2. Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor to assist you is one of the most effective methods for success. Finding a mentor with years of knowledge will be far more instructive than anything you could acquire in classes or training.
Even if you land a position in a blue-collar occupation, you should take advantage of any chance to continue developing your craft and practicing your skills. Unfortunately, many people will expect you to be less competent than male coworkers due to gender biases.
As unfair as it may be, going above and beyond to improve your skills will help establish yourself as an equally competent employee.
We wish you the best of luck pursuing a blue-collar profession!