In 1951, a Gallup poll asked "Which of these two jobs would you personally prefer a son of yours to take--assuming he is equally qualified: a skilled laborer's job at $100 a week or a white-collar desk job at $75 a week?" 66% chose the laborer, and 30% chose the desk job, with the rest undecided.
Of course, "desk job" might be regarded as a bit derogatory--what if they had asked about a specific white-collar job that offered social prestige and non-monetary benefits? They did, also asking about a choice between "a college professor's job at $4,000 a year or a factory foreman's job at $6,000 a year?" 39% chose the professor and 56% chose the foreman.
In 2010 dollars, the hypothetical pay comes to $44,000 for the laborer, $33,000 for the desk job, $34,000 for the professor, $50,000 for the foreman.