By Yash Kanabar
The labor market has started to recognize and feel the impact of the shortage in this segment of skilled labor.
Welders and machine operators are recognized as highly skilled segments of the labor market, with Ontario itself posed to experience exponential growth in the size of the segment. Breaking this profession down to its core, welders play an essential element in various physical and infrastructural projects that support local major and micro-economies. From building major airports and major highways connecting cities to making billboards and oil tanks, welding is a crucial physical aspect that bridges the raw materials and completed intermediate goods.
The major challenge that is being faced in this industry is the ever-growing shortage that is straining resources for major and minor manufacturing companies both in the US and Canada. While welders are highly skilled, they present an anomaly in the trend of automation that much of the manufacturing industry is veering towards. This means that as welders grow over their career, they gain skills that machines might prove costly to imitate to a detailed level. Even though some manufacturing companies are taking this step, the consequence of it is that there is a growing need for welding machine operators – which is in line with the labor demand.
According to Weldtech Training’s blog and the Simcoe Reformer, the average age of welders in Ontario is 59 years old. Now with the welding segment aging rather quickly, there should be a natural flow of new employees to sustain a labor segment. However, with schools discouraging welding as a potential career path and removing welding programs, there is a contracting rate of new welders entering the market; thus, squeezing the funnel tighter. Furthermore, welding as a career is considered to be hot, dirty, oily, and physically demanding job thus, further discouraging people to pursue this path.
The conditions that exist in this labor segment mean that people fail to understand the lucrativeness that is on offer. In addition, with strict guidelines that govern this practice, much of the recent development include safe and humane working environment for welders with air cleaners and vacuumed welding areas to keep the air safe. Thus, the recommendation that can be seen as a sustainable one is for the youth to pursue this role and to attempt it as it presents an opportunity to grow a set of skills that are unique but are transferable across higher industrial leadership roles.