By Dwayne Monteiro produced for online by Jessica Sier

White collar workers no longer rule the roost financially, with a new report indicating Australian trades people earn more than office workers.

An ABS report released has indicated blue-collar workers earn an average of $1,229 per week whereas their white-collar counterparts earn $144 less.

These figures are supported by another report released by Suncorp bank, which shows six of the top 10 highest paying industries come from the blue-collar sector.

Apprenticeships Queensland business development officer Anita Dwyer is not surprised by the findings.

“A trade is not a second choice of a job, it’s a very conscious first choice for a lot of young people,” she said.

Ms Dwyer says the labour skill shortage in Queensland has prompted a fluctuation in those seeking apprenticeships.

“People have started to see there is opportunity in the trades and we worked really hard in the vocational educational area to promote the trades as an initial step to move forward into a career.”

Ms Dwyer also says trades people can further their studies.

“There always has been an opportunity to improve and use your trade as a stepping stone to higher qualifications and many, many people have done that,” she said.

Electrical Trades Union state secretary Peter Simpson says higher wages are an indication of a labour skills shortage  and he blames employers for the lack of apprentices.

“There’s been no influx, everything has been a downturn and that’s mainly because employers beyond the GFC cut apprentice numbers drastically and we’ll all pay the price for it, because no kids have been trained in the last couple of years,” he said.

Mr Simpson also says the mining boom would have strongly affected the ABS figures.

“Some of the guys working on major projects are earning some very good money, as they should, it’s a highly specialised field,” said Mr Simpson.

With blue-collar workers earning more than office workers, some believe tertiary education may no longer be necessary.

University of Queensland Professor of Economics John Mangan says people still prefer office work to seeking a trade.

“In the short run people don’t like hard work and prefer office work,” he said.

Professor Mangan says the trend of higher wages in the trades will continue for the next few years.

I study Journalism at QUT. I have a soft spot for clothes and the stock market.