Abhijit blogs at the OD collective blog as to how HR people turn up their noses to working for the blue collar workforce. As he says:
Every HR person wants to begin and end their career in the corporate office. That's where the action is. Wrong. The action is really at the bottom of the pyramid. With the blue collar employees. There is new and path breaking work waiting to be done for workmen/ operators or whoever makes up the bottom of the pyramid for your employees. Even research done in this area is inadequate compared to the attention middle and senior level employees get. If the people who are fresh out of colleges and MBA programs do not actively try to put into practice what they have learnt, how will anything change?
He then thinks of a radical new strategy for HR departmental structures to address why the best HR people don't do ER/IR roles:
If the factory jobs or jobs that addressed HR issues of the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOTP) employee population, went almost as high in the org chart as the HR jobs in the Corporate Office, we would be able to attract the freshly minted HR folks to build a career that focused on the largest chunks of the organization. While I know that this argument pans out differently in different sectors and in different organizations, yet I cannot help saying that the principles seem to be universally applicable.
The question is will conservative and traditional HR folks ever do this? Most HR folks are not radical questioners of the status quo as Abhijit. Then there is the question of business. The blue-collared workforce's contribution to the bottom line is viewed as minuscule compared to the management's role. That is the reason why the ratio of HR people to number of employees is different and why the compensation is different too.