How has the welding industry grown in recent years?

Welding Safety News

How has the welding industry grown in recent years?

The Australian government’s ‘Job Outlook’ initiative documents labour market trends and employment projections. This has in turn produced some promising findings for Structural Steel and Welding Trades workers, as it appears the industry is now trending in a different, more positive direction than seemed to be the case in 2017.[1]

Below are some of the more notable points of comparison between then and now:

Category 2017 2020
  Average Weekly Pay (before tax)   $1,106 $1,541
Future Growth Decline Moderate Growth
Employment Size 72,900 78,900
Skill Level   Medium (Certificate III or IV)     Medium (Certificate III or IV)  
Unemployment Above average Below Average
Male/Female Split 99.6% Male, 0.4% Female 99% Male, 1% Female

So what has changed?

What primarily stands out is that, where once the industry appeared in decline, it is now in a state of consistent growth: this is reflected by a larger and (on average) better compensated workforce, as well as an encouraging shift in unemployment from above to below the national average.

Furthermore, the growth shows no sign of stopping, with estimates stating the employment size may rise to 82,700 by 2023[2]. And as this workforce continues to expand, it’s worth recognizing that the average skill level has remained stable with no apparent falloff, which should play an important role in consolidating growth for the long term.

How do workers in Structural Steel and Welding Trades compare to the overall average?

Alongside examining the industry as a whole, Job Outlook unearthed some interesting stats on how welders and fabricators stack up against workers in other fields. It turns out the professional welding community skews slightly younger than the norm, with a far larger majority occupying full-time positions and working longer shifts:

Category   Structural Steel & Welding Trades Workers     All Workers  
Average Age 37 40
Full-Time Share 91% 66%
  Average Weekly Hours   47 44

What can we take from the government’s findings?

Overall, these figures speak to a resurgence in the welding trades that didn’t seem likely as recently as 3 years ago, which certainly is cause for celebration. This will gain further momentum once the dust settles on the Coronavirus pandemic, as welders are expected to play a crucial role in effectively rebuilding the economy in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The Job Outlook study also arrives in the wake of major strides for welders’ health and wellbeing in the form of the 2020 Welding Fume and Respiratory Protection Survey, which has furthered the conversation and prompted welders and employers alike to reassess their stance on welding safety! So in the grand scheme of things, there should be optimism among those in the welding profession: whether your career is in its infancy or in full swing, the future looks bright!

[2] Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.

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