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?
Jennifer Rayner knows a thing or two about blue-collar blokes. Her brother, her dad and her grandfather all make a living with their hands. But 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.
Drawing on extensive research and dozens of interviews, Rayner argues that there can be blue-collar jobs in our future economy; in fact, we can’t keep building a fair and prosperous Australia without them. Humane and clear-eyed, Blue Collar Frayed is a vital contribution to our national conversation.