The global welding industry is facing a severe shortage of workforce. The supply of welders has not been able to meet the demand for years. The need is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. It is predicted to rise by 3.5 million vacancies before 2024.
The welder shortage is a significant hindrance to the growing industries. This shortage is not just a concern in the United States but all over the world. There are several reasons behind the shortage of welders. However, money is not one of them. Welding is one of the most paid jobs in developed countries.
So, what caused the continued shortfall of welders for years?
The significant reasons for welder shortage might include an aging workforce, declining interest in youngsters pursuing welding as a career, and lacking technical skills.
In this blog, we’ll dive into some of the immediate reasons behind the shortage of welders and possible measures to combat the drought.Apart from this, continue to read several more reasons behind the shortage of fabricators and welders.
- Why Welder Shortage?
- How To Counter The Welder Shortage?
- Ending Notes
Why Welder Shortage?
As we know, welder shortage is not a present problem but has existed for years. As reported by the American welding association, the primary reason for the shortfall is the growing demand for welders in the automotive and construction industries and the lack of new skilled welders. The second most common reason cited is the retirement of the baby boomer generation and a declining interest of the young age in the trades.
Have you ever noticed that out of every ten welders in the U.S, one is above 40? 36% of welders in the U.S. were aged 45 or older in 2020. There are more old-age people in the industry than younger people like us. The American welding society (AWS) states the average age of a welder is 55. Therefore, with each passing year, more welders are retiring from the job than younger ones joining the industry.
Other reasons for the welder shortage include:
- The declining popularity of welding as a career choice.
- A lack of technical skills.
- The absence of welding programs.
Let’s find out why this has been happening for years?
1- Welding profession is unpopular among the youth
The recent generation is growing up in an era where society’s primary concentration is on technology, computers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other mental trades that cause a gap in most skill trades.
Most students are pressured to attend college and universities to get a degree. Today, a four-year degree is considered the ticket to a flourishing future. On the other hand, students who attend tech schools and learn any skill are considered underrated and uneducated.
Moreover, a lot of false beliefs prevail among youngsters about welding careers. When they visualize Welding, they consider it a most outdated and underpaid profession involving no compensation and other health benefits.
Further, people think Welding is all about wearing protective gear and working in blazing and dirty workshops. Of course, this work condition is not appealing to the youth. They see no career growth and opportunities in Welding, which also discourage them from taking up Welding as a career.
On the other hand, Welding is not an underpaid job that must be vocalized to young adults. Many trades jobs, including Welding, start with a $40,000 salary with much room to grow and multiply the figure with experience. Many companies also give health insurance and other incentives to the welders.
Welding requires passion and working in unfavorable conditions. It is a challenging career to adopt and carry on. Unfortunately, most youths find white-collar and desk jobs more attractive. Likewise, many young people take Welding as flunkies, not realizing the knowledge and know-how required to read blueprints and then cut, weld, and fabricate a design. Welding is creative and versatile, which requires technicalities and skills.
2- High demand, short supply
Welding is contributed well to the U.S economy. It is used in a range of industries, from aerospace to military, astrophysics, cosmetology, automotive, medical, and almost everything with us. Our generation has seen massive growth in construction. These also leverage the demand for fabricators.
With the growing number of industries, the demand for skilled welders is also rising. It creates more challenges to meet the surge of skilled welders. Steady increasing demand for welders raises the need for automation in the welding process.
Many companies use robotic machines to cut down costs and compete with the market. Although, automation filled the gap slowly between the market and available supply. However, the complex procedures and competencies are causing more problems in finding skilled welders.
3- The risk Involved In the Welding profession.
Many people associate welding with many risks and health hazards which is not a myth. Welding is a challenging career. It requires an exceptionally skilled and physically fit person.
Welders must stay on foot for hours. They may work in blazing hot environments. Burn, cuts, and minor injuries are part and parcel of the welding process.
Besides this, welders may expose to invisible toxic fume that can cause mild to severe disease. Many welding workshops do not provide a suitable work environment and protection. These risks also discourage emerging talent from going after the welding profession.
How To Counter The Welder Shortage?
Over the last few years, there has been a significant upsurge in demand for welders across the country. The need for skilled and trained welders has increased significantly. However, the number of qualified welders and welding schools has not kept pace with the demand. The ever-growing need for skilled welders might be one of the biggest challenges faced by the United States.
How do industries and the government combat the excessive need for skilled welders?
Well, the country has been facing a welder shortage for many years. The following measure may reduce the shortfall.
Educate the young labor force
American welding society (AWS) and industries must create vocational programs to educate the young masses properly. They should divert their attention toward skilled trades and blue-collar jobs.
They must invest in raising talent by rewarding and providing scholarships to the students admitted to welding education. In addition, they should also grant money to the institutes to improve and expand welding programs and courses.
Furthermore, AWS should provide sponsorship to educate student organizations through skills competitions. To strengthen welding career paths, they should organize workshops through celebrities and well-known trades professionals.
The society also has to play its role in getting the younger generation to focus more on blue-collar jobs despite the constant push for executive trades.
Read our article on how to get certified in Welding without school? To know more about welding certification courses.
Provide a better work environment
By reducing the risk and hazards, industries may encourage more workforce. The industries should conduct regular training sessions to implement security measures.
Likewise, beginners should be adequately trained through virtual machinery and equipment. Through this, they can curtail the risk associated with welding.
Ensuring high levels of safety is essential when undertaking any welding process. All organizations carrying out welding activities must guarantee suitable safety measures to control welding fumes, toxic gases, electric shocks, UV radiation, and other risks. Employers provide welders with sufficient and advanced protective gear.
Regular inspections should be conducted to minimize welding hazards. The organization responsibility is to motivate new welding enthusiasts to enter the field.
Promote skilled welders through advanced training
AWS must initiate training programs to attract and retain younger talent through engaging training and drills. Welder training should alter from boring rote learning to hand-on-feel welding. It will capture the imagination with virtual reality experiences.
It is high time to give multifaceted, advanced technical knowledge to promote skill and proficient welders. Youth need an intense, profound, and handy education to grasp the welding process in a laidback way.
In this way, the newcomer may feel secure if AWS is devoted to preparing the next generation of welding professionals for their productive and fulfilling careers.