16 Fastest Growing Blue-Collar Jobs

In this article, we will look at 16 fastest-growing blue-collar jobs. We have also covered some interesting insights on remote work for these jobs and companies that have recently increased their hourly wages. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, head straight to 5 Fastest-Growing Blue-Collar Jobs.

Remote Work for Blue Collar Jobs

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend of remote work. However, it was not just for white-collar professionals but also for lower-paid service workers, including blue-collar employees in different industries. Remote work for blue-collar workers like desk receptionists was largely facilitated by programs like Zoom Video Communications, Inc (NASDAQ:ZM)’s video conferring, which allowed them to connect with customers across states and even across the country and provided a sense of being in the same room.

The ability to work remotely has significantly impacted the labor force participation rate, which increased from 62.2% to 62.6% in June 2023, with more workers seeking remote roles. About 20% of active job seekers are now looking exclusively for remote work. The option to work from home has particularly benefited women aged 25 to 54, with their participation rate reaching a record 77.8%.

Blue-collar industries, such as restaurants and retail, have also embraced remote work as a solution to severe labor shortages. For instance, the restaurant chain Baby Jack’s implemented remote drive-thru workers and saw a surge in job applications. In addition, Bite Ninja, a sister company that employs remote gig workers and serves multiple fast-food chains across several states, provides new job opportunities for stay-at-home mothers, the disabled, and college students.

What are the Highest-Paying Blue-Collar Jobs?

Power plant operators, aircraft technicians, and petroleum pump system operators are a few of the highest-paying blue-collar jobs. However, if we are speaking numbers here, Air Traffic Controller is one of the high-paying blue-collar jobs with a six-figure salary. Moreover, one of the best blue-collar jobs is an Electrician. This is because the role offers job stability and steady demand as electrical systems are integral to modern life.

Electricians have opportunities for career advancement and can earn competitive wages with relatively short training periods. However, with the current job market in the US, blue-collar workers have been demanding higher wages for their survival in the face of rising inflation. To address the issue, some companies have proven to provide relief to these workers by increasing minimum hourly wages. Speaking of minimum wages, you should also check out our article on countries with the highest minimum wage in the world.

Companies Providing Relief to the Blue-Collar Jobs

In 2022, Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) announced plans to increase its team members’ pay and benefits, investing up to $300 million more in the year 2023. They set a new starting wage range from $15 to $24 per hour for Target Corp (NYSE:TGT)’s hourly team members and expanded access to health care benefits. About 20% of the team was made to be eligible for comprehensive health care, and enrollment waiting periods were reduced, providing faster access to coverage. Target Corp (NYSE:TGT)’s investments build upon its efforts to create rewarding careers, including debt-free education assistance, mental health support, and family-focused benefits.

Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) is one of the US’s biggest private employers with about 475,000 workers. Majority of its employees are hourly workers at its approximately 2,300 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), despite forecasting flat sales and lower profits for 2023, implemented a $1 billion pay hike for its frontline workers. This strategic move was aimed at maintaining Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD)’s industry-leading position and attracting high-quality workers.

Recently, Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) announced to invest over $700 million to increase their hourly wages for their frontline workers. Over the past several years, Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) has also made remarkable investments in its frontline retail staff, with an allocation of $1.9 billion towards benefits and salaries since 2018. They raised their average hourly rate to $18 or $23.50 per hour with benefits four years ago. Moreover, Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) has also offered an educational program providing up to $21,000 for continuing education opportunities, free financial coaching, and access to counseling services.

Is AI threatening Blue Collar Jobs?

Despite some promising blue collar jobs, there are concerns that the rapid growth of AI, exemplified by language models like ChatGPT, poses both opportunities and challenges for the blue-collar job market as automation may lead to the displacement of 85 million jobs in the next 2 years.

AI chatbots and virtual assistants can decrease the demand for manual labor in industries like manufacturing and customer service. Between 400 million and 800 million individuals worldwide may face unemployment due to automation by 2030. To read more about the displacement of jobs by AI, do check out our article on Jobs that will Disappear in the Future Due to AI.

16 Fastest Growing Blue-Collar Jobs

Our Methodology

For the fastest-growing blue-collar jobs, we made a list of 30 blue-collar jobs in the US and checked their occupational outlook to acquire the growth rates of these jobs between 2021 and 2031. The 16 jobs with the highest growth rates were selected and ranked in ascending order of high growth rate. We have relied on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for all jobs to ensure authenticity and accuracy.

For any jobs with similar growth rates, the one with a higher median salary was ranked higher.

Here is a list of the Fastest Growing Blue-Collar Jobs

16. Construction Equipment Operators

Growth Rate: 5%

Construction equipment officers oversee the management, maintenance, and utilization of construction equipment on job sites. They ensure the equipment is in proper working condition, coordinate equipment allocation, and maintain records of equipment usage and maintenance to support construction operations efficiently. According to BLS, their median salary is $48,290 per year. It is also considered one of the happiest blue-collar jobs.

15. Fire Inspectors

Growth Rate: 6%

The median salary of a fire inspector in the US is $63,080. Their job is to conduct inspections of buildings and properties to ensure compliance with fire safety codes and regulations. They identify potential fire hazards, check fire protection systems, review emergency plans, and educate the public on fire safety measures to prevent and respond to fire incidents effectively. It is one of the high-paying entry-level blue-collar jobs.

14. Material Moving Machine Operators

Growth Rate: 7%

Material moving machine operators operate machinery such as forklifts, cranes, and conveyor systems to move materials in warehouses, construction sites, and factories. They load, unload, and transport goods while ensuring smooth and efficient material handling processes. The median salary for material moving machine operator in the US is $18.45 per hour and $38,380 per year.

13. Electricians

Growth Rate: 7%

Electricians install, repair, and maintain electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. BLS predicts the addition of 50,200 job openings for electrician between 2021 and 2031, making it one of the fastest growing blue-collar jobs. With a median salary of $60,040, it is also one of the top part-time retirement jobs that pay well.

12. Funeral Service Workers

Growth Rate: 8%

Funeral service workers assist in funeral preparations, ceremonies, and burials, providing support and guidance to grieving families during difficult times. They have an annual median salary of $58,900 per year. It is one of the blue-collar jobs with no experience required.  

11. Telecommunication Equipment Installers and Repairers

Growth Rate: 8%

These blue-collar workers repairers install and maintain communication systems, such as phone lines, internet connections, and networking equipment. They troubleshoot and fix issues to enable hassle-free communication services for businesses and individuals. They have an annual median salary of $59,960 in the US.

10. Phlebotomists

Growth Rate: 10%

A phlebotomist is a medical professional who is trained to perform blood draws on children and adults. They collect and prepare blood for testing so it can be analyzed in a medical laboratory. They also collect blood for donation. The mean annual wage for these workers is $40,580.

9. Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Millwrights

Growth Rate: 14%

These workers repair, maintain, and install industrial machinery and equipment in factories and production facilities. BLS expects a total of 69,700 job openings in the future and records the median salary of these workers at $59,380 per year.

8. Animal Trainers

Growth Rate: 27%

Animal trainers teach animals specific behaviors for entertainment, performances, work, or therapy purposes using positive reinforcement techniques. The job may involve physical work and hands-on interactions with animals. The median salary for animal trainers is $35,620 per year.

7. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Growth Rate: 27%

They are responsible for installing solar panels and related equipment, which often requires physical labor and technical skills. It is one of the most in-demand jobs for the future. With a median salary of $47,670 per year, it is one of the fastest growing blue-collar jobs.

6. Taxi Drivers

Growth Rate: 28%

Driving taxis involves physical work and long hours spent on the road. It is one of the fastest growing blue-collar jobs. Taxi drivers have a mean annual wage of $32,900 in the US.

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Disclosure: None. 16 Fastest-Growing Blue Collar Jobs is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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