Top tips on how to tap into the grey collar talent pool

The pandemic, the Great Resignation and widespread hiring challenges have combined to re-shape how we talk about the workforce. But, it turns out, that these conversations are selling both sides of the interview table short.


It seems that the recruitment industry has been overlooking a vital sector of the population – so-called ‘grey-collar’ workers. It’s time we tapped into this vital talent pool, argues Fast Company to fill vacancies, address inequality, future-proof the workforce, and benefit from all those years of valuable experience, people networks and knowledge.


Here are Fast Company’s top tips on how to attract grey collar workers:


  1. Give grey-collar jobs the respect and benefits they deserve

An important step in hiring and retaining grey-collar workers is to value and re-brand the critical positions that they occupy. We need to re-think (and personalise) appropriate and relevant benefits like flexibility, autonomy and increased compensation.


  1. Rethink degree requirements

Many organisations ask for four-year degrees for positions that years ago did not require them. This has contributed significantly to today’s current talent shortage, and it’s time for a rethink.


Grey-collar workers are skilled professionals with valuable experiences, networks of contacts and extensive on-the-job training and professional certifications. We must ask ourselves, in this context, how vital is the academic degree?


If the HR industry wants to expand the available pool of candidates and address long-standing biases within the hiring process, removing degrees as a job requirement for grey collar workers could be just the ticket. With just a little investment in training and onboarding, these talented, experienced, high-potential candidates will bring many benefits to the workplace table, with or without a degree.


  1. Invest in re-skilling to grow the talent pool

The shift to remote working has accelerated the digitalisation of many roles, and organisations need to guide their workers through the transition with training and up-skilling programmes. Re-skilling programmes are another way to expand the grey-collar talent pool and prepare current employees for evolving job demands.


In short, says Fast Company, it’s time to address the grey collar blind spot. These workers are a valuable source of talent, experience and know-how. Businesses have much to gain by giving them the respect they deserve, re-thinking who is qualified to fill current vacancies, and making investments to set them up for success.


Do you agree? What strategies do you have in place to attract grey collar workers? If you would like some help tapping into this valuable talent pool, ABL, your trusted recruitment partners, are to help. Please get in touch so we can brainstorm the options.