5 Persistent Myths About Welding
In one form or another welders have had to deal with some pretty interesting attitudes towards the welding profession.
Some people think welding is a low-paying job. Others think there isn’t much diversity to being a welder. Even more interesting for women welders is this common remark: “Really? You’re a welder?” It seems no matter how much the profession has progressed, there are (at the very least) 5 persistent myths about welding.
Picture Credit: Jay Mann via Flickr
Welding is a low-paying profession
This myth suffers from the stigma surrounding all blue-collar jobs. Despite evidence to the contrary (see the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Careers in Welding) there is still the idea that working with your hands earns less money than working with your head (although trade work requires working with both your hands and your head). Why is this stigma still around? As Joe Lamacchia, author of Blue Collar & Proud of It, stated in an interview with USA Today:
I think it was from the roaring '90s, the roaring lights of Wall Street, the computers, the cellphones — it was such an economic boom, it was unbelievable. It created all these jobs. I think we need to get back to basics. If you go to school, it doesn't mean you're going to make $150,000 a year. It's almost like we're producing too much of what we don't need and not enough of what we do need. I don't get it. I don't have a stigma toward my accountant. I need him and he needs me to pave and plow his parking lot.
Welding is a man’s job
Jobs that require more manual labor are typically thought of as “men’s work.” With approximately 6% of the welders’ population made up of women, that perception is slowly but surely changing.
Though 6% is still a significantly low number, the percentage of women welders continues to grow from the World War II era – when women began filling welding positions as the men went off to war.
Today, more women are looking to welding and other blue collar jobs as a means of work and play. Nearly every week the Weekly Roundup features at least one female welding artist and many welding programs that showcase their increase in female enrollment.
Welding jobs are scarce/Welding jobs are plentiful
The problem here is that the demand for welders can not be measured on a universal scale. Heavy manufacturing areas – such as places in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – will typically need more welders than areas where manufacturing doesn’t play a major role in their economy.
The myth is further muddled because even if the jobs are plentiful, employers are often looking for a specific type of welder: those with experience. This leaves those new to the trade and fresh out of welding school still looking for work.
Welding is a one-note profession
“Welder” brings up the image of someone wielding a machine with sparks coming out of it – that’s it. People fail to see the versatility of being a welder, not just in the act of welding but also in what welding can produce and the many different areas of the welding profession there are to explore. Explosion welding, underwater welding, even robotic welding operation are just drops in the bucket of welding diversity.
There’s little/no advancement in the welding field
Advancement in any industry is dependent on the employers as well as how much effort the employee puts in. Ken Yost began his welding career at Wince Welding Supplies in 1954, but by 1968 he took control of the business.
Welders who work independently have more leeway in charting their own destiny. Whether you’re working on welding art or getting into business of disaster preparedness, welding offers many opportunities for advancement.
What other myths about welding do you constantly have to debunk?