While translating some text at work, I want to point out the difference between employees working in the same company, but over different schedules.

White collar workers

Work mostly from an office

Blue collar workers

Work mostly in labor-intensive activities (we are talking about the Oil & Gas industry)

Shift workers

Work over three 8-hour shifts, on rotation, and are usually blue-collar workers.

How do I point out the difference between a shift worker and someone who only works during the day, but is not necessarily a white-collar employee?

Day laborer

is not appropriate, as it reminds me of someone hired on a short term contract.

Feel free to suggest improvements to my original options.


Although the phrase shift worker has the meaning you ascribe to it, the use of the word shift still applies to regular office work when a company has people working during the day and at night.

For example, an executive at a 24-hour company can be considered to be working the night shift when they are there at 11:00 p.m.—and scheduled to be there at that time, rather than just working late.

Therefore, you can have day-shift workers and night-shift workers.

However, it is not used as an habitual term. At any given time, you will have day-shift workers and night-shift workers, but people aren't described as being a day-shift worker or a night-shift worker. Instead, they are people who are working a day shift or a night shift.

It's a different type of noun category, because both white-collar works and blue-collar workers can be working on a day shift or a night shift. In other words, the description is additive, not exclusive. Somebody can belong to both groups at the same time.

So, you can add it as a qualifier to your existing categories, but it's not a separate category in its own right.

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You could just state their occupation. For most jobs, it is assumed that they would work during the day. This is the case with labourer as you have used in your example.

It would only be for certain occupations that you might associate evening work or other work. It probably also depends on the context and the country too.

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  • Thank you, but we need to present the categories. We need to differentiate shift workers (e.g. operators in a production plant that work day, evening or night) from those who are not on rotation – laureapresa Oct 30 '18 at 11:59

If you want to create your own category, you can do so:

Non-shift blue-collar workers.

or use a relative clause:

Blue-collar workers who only work the day shift.

If that seems long winded you can define your own term:

I will refer to blue-collar workers who only work the day shift as "daytime workers". The daytime workers earn less than shift workers but ...

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