Where Have All the Welders Gone? A Look at Welder Shortage in the US.
A few weeks back, we talked about the idea of machines one day replacing welders and fabricators. If a day is coming where that happens, it’s a ways off. Right now, there’s a very high demand for skilled welders.
In fact, the US is experiencing a serious welding shortage.
Higher Demand. Fewer Welders.
We find ourselves in a strange place where we need more welders, yet there are fewer available. In 1988, there were around 570,000 welders. In 2012, there were only 360,000.
By the year 2020, the American Welding Society estimates there will be a 290,000 job deficit in the industry.
Why is this happening? Because older welders are retiring with no young welders to replace them. This problem isn’t unique to welding, but has been seen rising across many trade jobs in recent years. There are an estimated 3 million trade jobs available across the US right now, from welding to plumbers and beyond.
Money isn’t the Issue.
Some assume that welding and other trade jobs simple don’t pay enough, but that’s far from the truth. A starting job in a skilled trade often starts around $40,000 (plus benefits) with room to grow to more than double that with further training and experience.
While that might be less than an engineer, computer science major, or medical professional, it’s equal to (if not greater than) the starting wages of many professions that take a four-year degree.
Of course, many bachelor’s degree holders aren’t even working in a field relevant to their major. In fact, 34% of college graduates are working jobs that don’t require a college degree at all. For recent graduates ages 22-27, it goes up to 44%.
Yet, they’re taking 4+ years of their life and spending tens of thousands of dollars to earn these degrees.
Meanwhile, a person can complete their initial welding training in a little over half a year for a low cost, and employment is virtually guaranteed.
So Why Don’t Young People Want to Be Welders?
There are different schools of thought, but it usually boils down to the idea that trade jobs aren’t cool. They aren’t fun. They aren’t “sexy”. Personally, we would argue that being underemployed and broke after going to college for a half a decade isn’t cool, fun, or sexy.
Much of the trade job shortage boils down to marketing on one side and stigma on the other. Four-year colleges and grade schools have been pushed as the end-all, be all solution for a successful future. Blue collar jobs, on the other hand, have been labeled as something only the under skilled or poorly educated do.
This, of course, is ridiculous.
Welding takes precision, knowledge, passion, and focus. By learning the trade and growing their skill, fabricators find it to be a very rewarding experience with plenty of room to develop and advance. Plus you get to wield tools so powerful, they can literally melt steel.
If that’s not cool, we don’t know what is.
At Ever-Roll, our staff is passionate about their trade. If you’re looking for a quality future, feel free to reach out to us. And if you’re in need of burner rings, tube bending, and quality welded materials, contact Ever-Roll and get the job done right.
bent on perfection.
bent on perfection.
3988 Lawrenceville Dr.
Springfield, OH 45504
Phone: (937) 964-1302 (Office)