Welding has traditionally been predominantly a man’s job. But times a’ changing as female welders are on the rise. More and more women are picking up a welder, electrodes and are starting to weld. More so, they are doing a pretty good job of it.
The increase of female welders is a sign of things to come and their numbers will more than likely increase in just a few years from now. It is not a mere trend but something that will be imprinted on the industry and perhaps change it from its roots.
That is why we created this infographic. To help spread the word.
The infographic talks in detail about the current numbers, projections of the future, displays certain innate female-specific advantages for welding work, and provides a good source of inspiration and support for all the women thinking of trying something new and unorthodox for their career.
Women in Welding World Infographic
Women in Trades
If we take a look at the current numbers, there are very few women working in general trades. These fields have been mostly reserved for men. As tradeswomen.org reports, the percentage of female workers is just 3.4% in industries where electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, HVAC technicians, painters, and welders are needed.
The main reason for these low numbers is that women welders have been largely discriminated against. Not a lot of them are even offered an opportunity to start in these trades, let alone land a real job. But, a shift in the attitude of certain employers has made some impact in recent times.
A shortage of workers has been trending in these trades. Not a lot of people actually want to dirty up their hands as these industries. This is where women may look for their opportunities. The main reasons why women are interested in these trades is because of potentially higher financial incentives, and because of the interesting and engaging type of work that females prove themselves in.
Welding is the craft of joining two pieces of metal together into a single cohesive unit. It utilizes various procedures and methods, a lot of tools and machines, and one requires a lot of knowledge and certain skillset to do it.
If you look around you, it is more than noticeable that welding is the cause of the majority of things that surround us. From a small coffee table and chairs that surround it, all the way to vehicles and boats. Welding is the main cause of all of it.
However, we might be facing a shortage of experts that are good at creating all those things.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the welding industry currently employs about 592,000 people. This sounds like a big number, but predictions say that around 400,000 skilled welders are going to retire by the year 2024, leaving a great need for people with experience.
This is where women are looking for their chance in the welding industry. As we will soon be needing replacements for our old-age workforce, many women are joining the trade and are making up for the shortage.
Female Welders on the Rise
The number of female welders has skyrocketed in recent times, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Their numbers indicate that between 2016 and 2019 there has been an increase of a whopping 30% of women in the welding industry.
At this moment, women welders make up only 1% of the entire welding force. However, if trends continue, that figure is going to be bigger in a few years’ time.
Advantages Women Have for Welding
Employers in the welding industry may have some prejudice about employing women in the welding industry. But what they fail to realize is that women hold a lot of advantages as opposed to men.
Great Hand Stability
Physical attributes are very important when it comes to welding. You need to be physically strong to endure the hardships that come with certain welding jobs. People climb high or dig themselves deep in holes to weld.
However, being physically strong is not enough if your hands tremble. Especially when doing precision work. In this case, it has been reported that women are far better at doing precision work simply because their hands don’t shake as much as men’s do.
In fact, overall on average men’s hands tend to shake 1.3 times more than women’s hands do. While when it comes to 10-Hz tremors, men experience this 1.6 times more than women do.
Lower Center of Gravity
We already mentioned that welding requires work in places positioned high up above the ground. In such a case, being able to hold a perfect balance is crucial. It is necessary, as it will allow you to perform the task well but also prevent you from falling down and injuring yourself or even dying.
As things stand, women are actually much better at keeping balance than men. It is due to an innate ability where women possess a lower longitudinal center of gravity. Women have 8% to 15% lower longitudinal center of gravity, while men’s is measured at 8% to 10%.
Some added factors that support posture and stability with women also include finger length, maximal voluntary contraction, and surface electromyography. It also contributes to women being able to hold their balance for longer periods of time.
Women have certain athletic agility that men don’t. This is why female competitors thrive in gymnastic uneven bar competitions. Muscles are not going to do you any good if you can’t balance yourself on a girder or a beam that you might be working on.
Women Take Better Care of Their Health
Women welders are actually of far better health than men are. The main reason for their improved health conditions is that they simply take better care of themselves. While women follow all the protocols when it comes to security and use all the safety equipment handed to them, a lot of men disregard this fact.
It might be because macho men don’t want to look weak and feel that they can do without added protection. But the reality is that you are not weak if you use protection, you are just foolish for not doing it. Girls, on the other hand, are also able to understand and follow all the safety procedures more precisely than men do.
A testament to this was a research that involved 1,001 (447 female; 554 male) welders. The research showed that 54% of women as opposed to 46% of men use respiratory protection. Men were also more susceptible to shoulder pain and asthma or wheezing due to working conditions. All in all, it supported the fact that women are far better at taking care of themselves as opposed to men.
Why Should Women Consider Welding as a Career
Even though there are a lot of reasons for women to consider welding as their primary work, the main reason is still financial gain. Welding is a dangerous type of job, but one that offers really high salaries depending on the type of welding work you are doing.
For example, working in a welder’s garage is paid less as opposed to being sent half-across the world to fix a broken pipeline. Some jobs even require underwater or working in high places which are also paid pretty well. Welders are also employed by the military to help maintain the soldiers’ gear and vehicles.
Here is a breakdown of potential earnings for different types of welding jobs on a yearly basis:
- Industrial Pipeline Welders: $36 000 – $58 000
- Underwater Welders: $60 000 – $125 000
- Military Support Welders: up to $50 000
- Aerospace Welders: $29 000 – $60 000
- Certified Welding Inspector: 50 000$ – $70 000
As you can see, the figures are very attractive. You are probably noticing that the biggest figure is connected to positions that have higher education. Meaning that welders that have a certificate and are employed as inspectors will earn to top salary.
There are a lot of women welders that are actually certified and can step into these positions without problems. Eventually allowing them to earn the highest fee in the welding world.
Can a girl weld a 6G pipe? (Yea and she can teach some of you)
Support Offered for Women Looking to Enter the Welding Trade
Women welders are looking for their place in a man’s world, and for that reason are looking for support. Luckily, there are many organizations that have realized this and are able and willing to offer support to girls that want to become a part of the industry.
Some of the most prominent organizations that support female welders are:
- Tradeswomen, Inc.
- Girls Garage Program
- Women of Gases and Welding Committee – GAWDA
- National Association of Women in Construction
The aim of these organizations is to provide guidance and help to girls who want to get into the trade. Many women are actually skilled enough to do any type of welding work but are not encouraged nor have the support they need. It is the aim of these organizations to encourage thriving talent so they can pursue a career in welding.
These organizations are mainly led by women and they have already gone through the struggle that many are facing right now. It is their sole mission to provide support to women that are struggling in getting a welder’s job. It is actually more than helpful when you have somebody that has your back and who pushes you to achieve so you can make your dreams come true.
- Female Welders’ Spotlight, at American Welding Society AWS.org
- What Women Considering a Career in Welding Should Know, by Oanh Nguyen at Tulsa Welding School
- Misconceptions of Women Welders, at Advanced Career Institute
- A Millennial Woman’s Success In A Man’s World, by Mark C. Perna at Forbes.com
- Women in Welding, at Industrial Metal Supply Company
- Health and Work in Women and Men in the Welding and Electrical Trades: How Do They Differ? by Nicola Cherry, Victoria Arrandale, Jeremy Beach, Jean-Michel F Galarneau, Antonia Mannette, Laura Rodgers at Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Volume 62, Issue 4, May 2018, Pages 393–403
- Gender differences in hand stability of normal young people assessed at low force levels, by Hiroshi Endo, Koichi Kawahara