Texas leads the nation in keeping welders working. The Lone Star State is home to 50,000 of the country’s 370,000 employed welders, indicates research from Tulsa Welding School. Unfortunately, many companies in Beaumont, Port Arthur, and other cities with high concentrations of welding jobs cannot find candidates with the adequate skills to fill their positions, resulting in a shortage of skilled welders in the state. Following are statistics about the problem and some considerations to help employers find the talent they need.
How Big Is the Shortage?
Currently, welders are needed to work on multibillion-dollar projects, such as power plants and petrochemical plants, in Sugar Land, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Cedar Bayou, Baytown, Lake Houston, Old Ocean, and Corpus Christi. In response to a shortage of 10,000 to 15,000 welders, companies are resorting to desperate measures—one company even opened its own welding training facility.
The issue is not that employers simply cannot find welders, it’s that applicants lack the skills necessary for the jobs: As many as 40 percent fail their welding employment examinations. This has led some companies to lower their standard of quality, permitting pipeline welders to make 10 percent more repairs today than in 2005.
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Certification Signals Skills
When reviewing resumes, employers should look for individuals who’ve completed welding training at an accredited vocational school. Welding programs tend to provide extensive hands-on instruction with the same equipment students use when working in the field after graduation, so this type of certification can ensure a welder has already learned the fundamentals of the trade and gained some experience in the classroom.
How to Find and Keep Talent
Usually when there is a labor shortage, the workers have somewhat of an upper hand because they have companies vying for them. When this is the case, companies may want to seek the help of recruiting specialists to help them locate talent and to make the best possible impression on these candidates. Just as some companies specialize in oil extraction and others specific types of manufacturing, recruiting firms like The HT Group have honed the hiring process.
Once hired, keeping skilled welders may require offering not just the right compensation but also safe working conditions, fair treatment, and an opportunity to play a fulfilling role in the company—now and in the future.