The Top 5 Paid Blue Collar Jobs in America

Tess C.Taylor, PHR

Many people are looking for a way out of their white collar careers that are stressing then out or not giving them the satisfaction they expected. A Brookings Institution study released this week indicates that (science, technology, engineering, and math), so called STEM skills, are rapidly increasing in demand by employers. As of 2011, STEM skills account for 20 percent of the workforce, with some 26 million jobs meeting this category–twice as many since the Industrial Revolution.

What’s happening in the blue collar job market?

This trend is moving college graduates into more blue-collar jobs, which is a trend we are likely to see for quite some time while the economy stabilizes. The Brookings infographic , which illustrates this point further, was based on data from the US Department of Labor’s O*NET program, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Community Survey and the Strumsky Patents Database. According to this data, not only are the number of jobs increasing in the blue color sector, but the earnings are exceeding those of white collar jobs. This is due to the high demand and hard to fill assignments that exist.

Taking a look at the top 5 highest paid blue collar jobs in America

A Forbes magazine article recently highlighted 10 of the Top Paying Blue Collar Jobs in the USA, that some may find inspiration from. So, consider the compensation for these top earning blue collar jobs you may be hiring for in your organization or your employees may be tempted to look at:

# 1 – Elevator Installers and Repairers
These are the hard-working men and women you may see around your office complex from time to time. With several years of specialized training and certifications under their belts, elevator installers and repairers make sure elevators are working safely at all times. According to the Forbes article, “On average they earn $74,140 annually, or $35.64 an hour. The top 10% of them draw in $106,450, on average.”

#2 – Electrical/Electronic Repairers and Public Utilities Workers
For those who like working with complex electrical systems, in different working conditions, and don’t mind a little travel; the job of skilled electricians can be lucrative. Average earnings fall at $67,380 annually, with the top 10% in this field earning $88,790.

#3 – Transportation Inspectors
Planes, trains, and automobiles! When it comes to a challenging, yet top earning career in America, transportation inspectors have it made. They generally earn on average $66,470 a year and the top 10% of these transportation and logistics pros earn over six figures.

#4 – Petroleum and Oil Refinery System Operators
The energy industry is in a major growth spurt in many areas around the USA, with some 41 thousand blue collar workers already in the field. The top earners in this area make between $60,730 to $83,040 per year, plus they get to work outdoors and travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world.

#5 – Aerospace and Aircraft Service and Maintenance Techs
The airline industries are demanding a new breed of skilled mechanics and technicians to work on a multitude of sky busses. In recent years, large companies in the aerospace industry have been racing to put the first global space planes in orbit. Blue collar jobs in these areas can pay on average $55,690 and the top earners make $76,660 or more.

The truth is, the world of work has been shifting in some unexpected ways. Your employees may be exploring lucrative blue collar careers as a possible next step in the evolution of their paychecks, so stay abreast of these pay trends.

Attract Top Talent for Your Blue Collar Assignments!

For employers who need to remain competitive, access to PayScale Insight can help to benchmark these top blue collar jobs and any others your company has.

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