Help Wanted: Welders

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on January 25, 2018

Help Wanted: Welders

I recently had the opportunity to talk with FF Journal about workforce issues impacting the welding profession. Manufacturing is changing…and so is the welding job description. Automation is at the center of the transformation.

New materials, new technology…these changes in the field are opening up career opportunities for welders – whether relative beginners or those with decades of experience looking to expand their knowledge and skills. Today, individuals must know how to lay down a seam and know how to program and problem solve for robotic welding systems.

But with every opportunity, there is a challenge. Here it is: finding qualified workers to do the job. Many of the industry’s most experienced welders are starting to retire. (The average age of welders is 57, as you’ll read in the article.)

In fact, our partners at the American Welding Society (AWS) predict the U.S. will have a shortage of 400,000 welders by 2024.

According to Monica Pfarr, executive director at the American Welding Society Foundation, in the article, “The welding industry alone is expected to produce at least 5,000 new job openings each year in the U.S., at the same time that the talent pool is decreasing.”

What a career opportunity! The article talks about one early-career welder making $150,000.

I think of thirty-something Nyki Robinette who we featured in our “Embracing Millennials” white paper. This inspiring mother of two is determined to be the very best. She said, “I will always try to top myself…what is important to me career-wise is that I feel challenged. I love welding and I want to continue to feel that way…For me, the pride of building something with your own two hands will always win over working at a desk.”

This is the vibrant next generation of manufacturers. Build a plan now to recruit, train and develop this important young talent. And do it before your brain trust hits the retirement circuit.

Don’t let these baby boomers leave the workforce and take their years of tribal knowledge with them before sharing their experience with these up-and-comers. It’s time to invest in learning and development programs now before it’s too late.

Reach out to us at 866.706.8665 to learn how.

Tags: "American Welding Society", AWS, "baby boomers", "FF Journal", manufacturing, "Monica Pfarr", "Nyki Robinette", welding, "workforce development"