Hollywood’s Number Of “Blue Collar” Workers Declines

Hollywood has got more demand for knowledge-intensive, “white collar” occupations than it did just 10 years ago amid a drop in the number of manual, “blue collar” jobs in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, according to a new study released Thursday

Per the Otis College Report on the Creative Economy, “‘Die Another Day’ – Hollywood Transformed in the Streaming Era,” “white collar” knowledge workers are defined as those “primarily paid for generating ideas, performing analyses or creating artistic content,” while “blue collar” manual workers have occupations across the entertainment industry in areas including transportation, cleaning and grounds keeping, and construction.

The study found that creatives and managers, who fall into the knowledge worker category, accounted for 59% of total jobs in Greater Entertainment in 2013, which had grown to 66% in 2022. Creatives accounted for 44% of all entertainment workers in 2013, up to 49% by 2022, while management jumped from 14% to 17% of all jobs. Over that period, “specialists” in the industry grew from 10% to 13%.

Combined, the “white collar” class of creatives, managers and specialists accounted for eight out of ten jobs in Hollywood in 2022, up from seven out of ten jobs in 2013.

Additionally, the share of college-educated workers in entertainment increased from 46% in 2000 to 68% in 2022, a radical change for an industry that was once a fertile source of jobs for workers without college degrees.

Amid the shift from blue collar to white collar, the industry has also seen changes in racial diversity, with the study stating that “the share of white workers in the industry fell” fell from 2013-202, “while the share of all other racial groups grew.” Creative workers who are white decreased from 71% in 2013 to 60% in 2022, while the share of Black creative workers rose from 5% to 9%. White managers decreased from 65% in 2013 to 58% 2022, as Hispanic managers jumped 13% to 21%.

The study notes these changes were already on the rise before the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Hollywood union strikes of 2023, speaking to a longer tail shift in the entertainment business.

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