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Is there a term describe professions that rely on thinking in a broad sense (researcher, software developer, sales person, marketing, HR, etc...) as opposed to jobs that are mostly physical (bouncer, cleaning person, etc...).

I was going for "intellectual" professions, but I don't really like the term as it is offensive to people who I don't include in this category (it implies they are dumb).

81

How about white-collar?

From M-W:

white-collar: of, relating to, or having the kind of jobs that are done in an office instead of a factory, warehouse, etc.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Oct 30 '16 at 15:46
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You can call these people who rely on thinking in their jobs knowledge workers doing knowledge work. They 'think for a living' and need to solve non-routine problems.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Oct 30 '16 at 15:46
13

These are generally referred to in the UK as professional jobs.

professional

  1. engaged in one of the learned professions : A lawyer is a professional person.

The antonym, for physical jobs, is manual jobs.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Oct 30 '16 at 15:46
4

Knowledge work is sometimes found as a back-formation of the much more common "knowledge worker".

1

You could also say a profession that is part of the tertiary industry, meaning everything that's service related.

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    Welcome to English Language & Usage! We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – NVZ Oct 19 '16 at 13:31
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    This might be a term economists or demographers use, but I would not say it is a concept in general use anywhere in the world. I would be surprised to find it even in the AFR or the WSJ. Service sector would be far more common. – choster Oct 19 '16 at 16:04
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    I don't think the term actually covers what I'm looking for. A cleaning person for example, provides a service. – Stilltorik Oct 20 '16 at 19:26
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A more jocular term for a highly technical/scientific person - especially a professor or someone high up in academia - is boffin.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/boffin

boffin

noun, British Slang. 1. a scientist or technical expert.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Oct 30 '16 at 15:46
0

Administrative Jobs.

Jobs places in office settings or those that require less physical or no physical activity but instead require mainly on intellect for administration of businesses.

Mind you, intellect in its true sense is just as common amongst tradesmen, perhaps in more abundance even, than administrative workers. You cannot discriminate against someone's 'intellect' just because of the job they hold.

  • I know, that's why I didn't like "intellectual jobs". You actually phrased much better than I would ever have. I like this one very much. It doesn't quite cover everyone, but I think it makes it very clear what I mean. – Stilltorik Oct 21 '16 at 7:37
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    Administrative jobs are those which support main business functions. For example, in an engineering company the secretaries, project admins, accounts managers etc. have administrative jobs; the engineers do not have administrative jobs. – AndyT Oct 21 '16 at 10:40
  • Do they not? Damn it, I though I had my answer. Thanks for the feedback. – Stilltorik Oct 23 '16 at 18:46

protected by tchrist Oct 21 '16 at 3:55

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