How do you look at blue-collar work? The backbone of the city? Those jobs that require hard, manual labour which relies on strength and determination? Maybe even the types of jobs that keep the economy moving forward?
However you may look at blue-collar work, they’re necessary jobs for the foundation of any economy.
A recent study performed in 2020 set out to find the best cities in Europe for blue-collar workers. The Blue-Collar Index 2020 evaluated European cities using 11 factors to decide which city was at the top. The blue-collar study put London at 35 out of 50, with a score of 67.92.
What does that mean for London?
What is blue-collar work?
Before you can breakdown the impact of the study, first, you need an understanding of what blue-collar work is. The term “blue-collar” originates in the early 1920s. Those who worked in manual labour jobs (trade jobs like coal miners and welders) often got dirty. So, they wore dark-coloured clothes to mask the dirt from their daily duties.
These were the tough jobs that received an hourly wage. During this time, it was typically men who worked at blue-collar jobs and were often considered the working class of society. Blue-collar workers often got compared to white-collar workers, those who often held a salaried position in an office setting.
Fast-forward to 2020, blue-collar work still exists. However, it has a much different perspective as many manual labour jobs are some of the highest paying jobs available.
London’s economy during a pandemic
As the novel coronavirus continues to make waves across the world, the United Kingdom’s economy was not immune to the downturn many countries say this past year. Although the UK economy has shown growth since its historical hit in April (a 20 percent contraction), many economists warn that there is still a tough road ahead.
According to the ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan, “the UK economy still has to make up nearly half of the GDP lost since the start of the pandemic.”
Some blue-collar work saw improvements since the pandemic began back in March. However, production and construction levels are still lower than what it was like before.
How can region boost blue-collar appeal and loyalty?
London used to be one of the hub spots for blue-collar work. Now, in 2020, what’s changed?
Roughly one-third of the national income of London was once held by manufacturing labour. In the modern era, however, that hold dropped to around 10 percent as more the London economy shifted to financial services (bankers and hedge fund managers).
Bringing back the vast amount of employment that once dominated London is key to giving blue-collar work a boost. Much of this will come down to the price of the pound. With the pound being high, the employment appeal shifts towards more educated and highly-skilled jobs that only a select few can hold. Those who fall under the blue-collar category end up without job opportunities and go somewhere else.
Providing support for the industries that employ a significant number of citizens will help London creep up the ranks on the Blue-Collar Index and bring it back to the era in which blue-collar work once flourished.