Wilfred Otieno

High class jobs in a company that seem to be easy are in most cases better paying than the low class jobs which appear to be difficult. At a glance, this fact is apparently ironical and discriminative. Could this be true! Let us find out as follows.

First, note that companies are not the only employment sectors as government ministries offer employment opportunities in the name of the civil service and parastatal bodies which are firms managed by governments in countries where privatization of certain businesses have not been effected.  Other big employment sectors are non-governmental organizations. Micro employments also exist in the family and in the individually owned businesses. Such have the potential to grow into large companies and corporations the way Colgate-Palmolive, Coca Cola, Lonrho and Barclays Bank multinational companies did. This means that family businesses and self employments which remain small do so because they have been structured to remain at that level for the purpose of being under close scrutiny and control of the owners.

These aside, the civil service and parastatals as government employers are usually referred to as the public sector. On the other hand, non-governmental organizations, companies, corporations, incorporations, family and individually owned businesses are collectively referred to as the private sector. So, by comparison it is apparently correct to say that the private sector is a many times bigger than the public sector due to its multiple base of composition. Since among these are to be found individuals and families who have gone out of their way to create more employment opportunities, the private sector is naturally prone to extension than the public sector as more investors join its bandwagon as time progresses.

On the other hand, a state’s government is the one which yields political power and the will unto economic growth of any given country. So it is of essence for it to create conducive business atmosphere for the participation and expansion of the private sector in both trade and industry.

Jobs that are on offer in both the private and in the public sectors are usually of various types which have been categorized. Originally, the categories were two but apparently one has developed and subdivided itself into two. So, they may be referred to in three categories as follows. The first one is the better known white collar jobs followed by the often misunderstood blue collar jobs then the often neglected subordinate or manual jobs. This categorization helps in the identification of the multitude of jobs on offer in each of them.

Payments to employees in the above referred three categories of jobs are either done in the form of wages or salaries which are collectively called remuneration. Wages are usually paid to casual workers for work done on daily, weekly or on fortnightly basis while salaries are paid to permanent employees on monthly basis. Normally, salaries being consolidations of thirty day’s work with the inclusion of allowances are definitely more in total sums than wages per employee.

On the other hand, in certain developed countries, most remuneration are paid either on weekly or on fortnightly basis to permanent employees who are supposed to earn salaries on monthly basis. The reason for this is because most domestic bills are forwarded to the consumers on weekly or on fortnightly basis. In such cases, the policies on salary break down differ from one employer to another and from one country to another. For these types of payment arrangements to be effected, employees must earn reasonably high salaries.

Though the above explained payment arrangements are applied in such countries, most employees usually work in one, two or three more shift jobs so as to make ends meet because the standards of living in the developed world are high. This makes a joke of the handful salaries which they earn in their official jobs. On the other hand, shifting from one job to another overworks an employee resulting in much stress. This is because one has to work for an average of fourteen hours and a maximum of eighteen hours per day. Such a calculation is arrived at this way. If the official job lasts for 8 hours and the first shift job lasts for 6 hours then the total will add to fourteen hours. If a second shift job which also lasts for 6 hours is on offer then the grand total of the working hours will be 18 hours. Alternatively, this means that a worker who has no official permanent job yet is employed on part time basis or in shift jobs will still work for a maximum of 18 hours and an average of 14 hours but differ with a permanent employee who works for 8 hours on the minimum working hours as his or hers will be 6 hours.

These aside, let us have insight into the three categories of jobs mentioned above as follows:


Subordinate or auxiliary jobs like gardening, the cutting of grass, hedge trimming, baby-sitting, house care, office errands, security services and catering in low class restaurants or hotels have for a long time been associated with low payments often as wages. Those which have been up-graded to salary levels especially in the under-developed and in the developing world are mere pittance more or so as accrued or consolidated wages. Such are offered to baby sitters, house helps, office messengers, security officers, waiters and waitresses without the option of belonging to trade unions in most cases. However, the opposite is the case in most developed countries for, say, gardeners, grass cutters and hedge trimmers in cases where machines are not used in totality but in combination with human hands or the latter only.

The above reference to developed countries on better payment of certain auxiliary employees clarifies the fact that associating subordinate jobs often with low remuneration is a misconception. This is because with better planning, high profit turnovers by employers or companies and a positive will, higher remuneration of the subordinate staff deservedly is possible thus the reason for the above reference that this category of jobs is often misunderstood. It is only in this way that employees can be motivated to work effectively unto the production of high quality goods and services.

The above deliberation on better remuneration for the sub ordinate staff is contrary to the belief by most pay masters and pay mistresses that if paid well then employees would prefer to quit their jobs in order to start their own businesses. A surprise answer is that they will hardly do so except in a few cases. However, since it is naturally a desire by most people to own private businesses, they may start the same and employ caretakers while they continue to work at their high paying jobs since these are significant income sources. Otherwise, how else do employers expect to reap high returns without watering the seedlings and roots of their plants that are their auxiliary staff! When their employees start their own businesses and create employment opportunities for other people, such success is theirs too as their indirect economic grandchildren for their nation and the world at large. So, they should be proud of such development.

Besides remunerating the subordinate staff lucratively on their basic incomes, it will be of value if they are offered additional benefits like credit facilities and annual bonuses while they are still in employment plus handsome gratuities and pensions when they retire the way it is done to the middle class and the upper class employees. This will help bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. However, despite great disparities in the implementation of the above recommendations in many countries of the world, it is encouraging to note that certain employers in some developing countries have applied them with regard to their subordinate staff. The reason for this is that they have realized it is the best way for their firms to improve on quality, increase on productivity and maximize on profits.


Blue collar jobs are occupations that require technical, scientific and to some extent artistic skills contrary to pure unskilled labour or the use of only physical strength as it was known to be in the past. This has apparently made subordinate jobs to be a category in their own right today. Therefore, contemporary examples of blue collar jobs include engineering, the practice of medicine, teaching, architecture, farming, hotel and industry, design, art and craft. People often refer to them as middle-class jobs in relation to the presence of white-collar job posts at the top level of blue-collar job companies. This is a misconception because blue-collar is a job category in its own right and the presence of white collar jobs within its structure is for managerial, organizational and record keeping purposes. Moreover, employees who get elevated to work in white collar job positions within blue collar job companies are usually the highly qualified blue collar job officers except in certain special cases where services of experts with experiences in pure white collar job companies may be required. This means that the three job categories depend on each other in relation to the prevailing circumstances.

On the other hand, an employment post like the making of tea for, say, a blue collar job company’s staff    is often classified as subordinate by most employers because they understand it to be part and parcel of the helping staff yet it requires certain professional catering skills. This is all the more a reason of advocating for better remuneration of the subordinate job category employees as was indicated in the previous section. Otherwise, besides the making of tea, it is worth to learn that other types of subordinate jobs which may require certain special skills or not also exist within the blue collar job category. In other words, blue collar job category has its own upper, middle and low class employees.


White collar jobs are usually associated with managerial, administrative and clerical duties. Since these are conducted from office buildings, they are understood in relation to the wearing of neck-ties thus the name white collar. However, the collars of the shirts of employees do not have to be white in colour but they are referred to that way because during the development of this job category in the past multiple of decades at the turn of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century, white shirts were the most frequently worn top clothes by male workers in offices. As for trousers, they were usually black or dark as the best match to the white top wear and in certain cases a coat of similar colour was worn if one desired to put on a suit.

It follows therefore that in blue collar jobs, neck-ties do not have to be worn. This is not because employees there-in work in a non white collar job category but due to the nature of the work that they do which is in most cases practical. This includes regular field work, for example, carrying out research and or out door experiments, construction of bridges, roads, houses, the drilling of oil, farming, processing and manufacturing goods in factories and carrying out experiments in laboratories.

On the other hand, as was indicated above, elements of white collar job practices are often found within the blue collar job category but they are limited to the managerial, administrative and clerical duties which deal in leadership, organization, record keeping and supervision  respectively within office buildings thus the wearing on of neck-ties. As for supervision, it usually doubles in blue collar job category when it is applied in field operations also.

Therefore the presence of white collar jobs within the blue collar job set up is evidence that the three main job categories depend on each other as was indicated in the preceding section.  Besides this, in other blue collar jobs, it is either optional or compulsory for employees to wear neck-ties because they double as both blue collar and white collar jobs. Of late, this practice is catching up fast in the teaching profession in certain countries while in others it is already in place. On the other hand, this means that the boss who is usually a white collar job employee even in a blue collar job company does not have to work from the office permanently but do MBWA which is an abbreviation for Management by Walking Around. This should be both within the office premises and out door or in the field

The name blue collar was given to the second category of jobs introduced earlier on so as to differentiate them from the white collar job category. On the other hand, it is most probable that since other colour brand names like yellow, green and orange would have been used to name the blue collar job category, blue was preferred to them because in most of such jobs, workers often wore blue or dark blue overalls as is still the case today. The reason being that a dark colour is resistant to dust and tends to hide oil stains thus it is fit for practical and technical jobs which form the back bone of blue collar job category. Another reason was that workers who did not wear overall outfits put on blue shirts for the same reasons indicated above. A certain story relates that at one time dust fell on the shirt collar of one store employee. As it did not appear to be too bad because of the blue colour of his shirt though it was conspicuous, the name blue collar job was instantly given to such types of work.


Otherwise, it happens in most cases that jobs which do not need physical strength unto sweating are better paying than those that do. They are the ones which were referred to at the beginning of this article as belonging to a company’s high class jobs while those which require physical strength belong to a company’s low class jobs.  In other words, the former ones seem to be easy due to lack of application of physical strength while the latter ones appear to be difficult due to the application of the same factor.

In reality, no job is easy. Certain jobs may seem to be easy but that is not the case because each has its own hidden difficulties. The high class jobs in companies and other employment sectors appear to be easy because they involve more of mental work in terms of managerial, administrative, supervisory and clerical roles instead of physical strength. So, in order to understand their type of difficulties, one has to get involved in them or else it is easy to misunderstand them thus the assumption that they are easy.

 Some of the difficulties that the high class jobs entail include the initiation and the maintenance of a working staff’s cohesion-allocation of relevant duties-coordination of the same-leading from the front towards the target-ensuring that deadlines are met within a specified time limit-controlling allocated finance without any error-ensuring that all the workers are paid their wages and salaries in good time-writing apt reports-bearing all the consequences that might result from unsatisfactory results. So, to be credited for a job done well, all the above factors must be conducted in an orderly manner. Notably, performance of duties at such levels by being dictatorial will not give positive results. So, the application of intelligence, wisdom, skills and being accommodative will do the trick. If one fails to deliver at such high positions then it means the gradual collapse of the company and the loss of many jobs down the line thus their importance and high remuneration.

Therefore, to succeed in a high class job, one must be trained in skills which produce the desired results at, say, a relevant college or a training institute. For the gifted or the talented employees, experience coupled with promotions and perhaps in-service courses do make them deliver. This is contrary to certain low class jobs which need the use of physical strength at the expense of mental skills and promotions that give opportunity for implementing certain relevant issues. However, a top employee like a manager should be an all rounder such that when a worker is absent or workers have gone on strike and there is no stand-in or replacements respectively, he or she should step in their shoes and handle their work efficiently. All the same, these facts should not be used to pay low class workers poorly.

On the other hand, comparative examples of trained or skilled workers employed in the same company or institution, one at a higher job level with apparently easy tasks and the other at a lower job level with difficult tasks functions as follows:-


In the teaching profession, teachers of the upper primary schools, high schools and colleges apparently have an easy time when teaching than those of the nursery and the lower primary schools. This is because handling students at these higher levels of academic education is rather easy than doing the same to pupils in nursery and in lower primary schools. The main reason for this difference is that students in nursery and in lower primary schools are biologically at the stage of much play in comparison to the older ones in higher institutions of learning who are mature enough to control themselves during lessons. This makes teachers in the former institutions to lower themselves down to the pupils’ level of understanding in order for them to understand the topics that are taught in class. Doing this frequently is not easy thus tiresome. In addition, teachers who work at such institutions are also supposed to lay down foundation of academic education in the young pupils’ minds in contrast to the upper categories of learners. Combination of these two factors is a daunting task such that some critics do question why these teachers stick to this time consuming and overworking profession. Though there may be several answers to this question, the outstanding one is that some teachers do this job until retirement because it is a calling thus they enjoy it.

Arguably therefore, teachers of nursery and lower primary schools should be better paid than those of the upper academic institutions. Instead, the reverse carries the day. The reason for this is that the higher academic qualifications and the tackling of advanced education curriculums play a great part in the high remuneration of teachers of the upper academic institutions. However, certain employers particularly those of the nursery and the lower primary schools have realized the magnitude of work that teachers in such institutions do and offer them attractive salaries as a result. In some cases these are equal to or even higher than those of their colleagues who work in higher academic institutions. This move ought to be copied by other educational employers. Though this may be recommendable, it might attract a big debate on reasons why the salaries of the teachers of the lower learning institutions are equal to or have by-passed those of some teachers in the higher learning institutions thus arguments for and against the same will be the norm of the moment.


It follows therefore that though employees in the high class jobs in the civil service, government parastatal bodies, companies and non-governmental organizations are paid high salaries in line with the laid down employment guidelines, remuneration of the low class employees especially the auxiliary staff ought to be re-adjusted for the better as has been deliberated above.

The up-grading of the remuneration of the low class employees should be done in recognition of the difficult conditions in which they labour tirelessly for the employers, companies or institutions that they work for as direct or indirect contributors to the profits which are raked in. In this way, they too would lead comfortable lives, be motivated to work hard, better and even touch lives of other people by creating employment opportunities for them too.

On the other hand, the re-adjustments of their pay packages do not have to be equal to or by-pass those of the upper level employees as this will go against labour laws and even cause strife within their employment units. All the same, in consideration of the reasons that have been advanced above, they ought to be paid better remuneration than is the case in many places of work. The result will be a better world to work and to live in.                                                

                                                                    THE END

                                           COPYRIGHT: WILFRED OTIENO 2012