The Minimalist Guide to サラリーマン and OL
There’s absolutely no doubt that white-collar workers who are called “サラリーマン” which most Japanese think this word should be English because they think サラリーマン means “salary-man”. So I’d say a bunch of Japanese may often use both words of サラリーマン and OL for you guys as the words in English. So some people may be complicated about them, first of all, and you might want to know them because we often talk about our job after being friends, don’t we? I hope that after reading this article, you could easily figure it out even if natives say サラリーマン and OL.
サラリーマン (sarari-man) / OL (o-eru)
White-collar worker / Office worker / Nine-to-fiver / Businessperson / Businessman (only for サラリーマン) / Businesswoman (only for OL)
Refers to employees whose job entails, largely or entirely, mental or clerical work, such as in an office. Most employees in the workforce are either considered blue who are basically called 肉体労働者 or 土木作業員 or white collar workers who are called サラリーマン for men and OL for women. While blue-collar workers typically perform manual labor for an hourly wage, white collar workers are typically paid a salary and are almost always college educated or highly skilled in their fields. White collar workers often wear dress shirts or suits and work at offices or schools in managerial or professional positions.