25 September 2023

Blue Collar Frayed: Working Men in Tomorrow’s Economy

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Jennifer Rayner, Redback, $22.99.

Making a thought-provoking case, Rayner argues there can be blue-collar jobs in our future economy. To make her case, she draws on extensive research and dozens of interviews.

She makes a point that we can’t build a fair and prosperous Australia without them.

Jennifer has first-hand knowledge about blue-collar blokes: her brother, her dad and her grandfather all make a living with their hands. However, blue-collar jobs for Australian men are disappearing at a rapid rate, and this is not just a product of unstoppable economic forces – it’s also the result of our failure to acknowledge the importance of those jobs and the people who do them.

The men now losing their jobs in heavy industry or trades will not easily find new work in Australia’s growing service industries; the evidence shows they are disengaging from the workforce instead.

‘I remember with incredible clarity the question that rang through his words and hung in the air between us, the query that hurt my head and heart as his baggy eyes held mine: where does someone like me fit, now?’

Compassionate and clear-eyed, Blue Collar Frayed is essential contribution to our national conversation.

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