Another great piece by The Fabricator’s Editor-in-Chief, Dan Davis. In it, he discusses his belief that more honesty is necessary when talking about career opportunities in manufacturing. Why? It’s apparently a common theme in hiring that as manufacturing employers try and woo new employees, that they may exaggerate the facts about careers, which is, in turn, causing a certain level of skepticism from potential new hires. Read the article in its entirety at The Fabricator.com, or check out the excerpt below:
If you haven’t read Josh Welton, who is the writer of the “Playing With Fire” column in The WELDER, The FABRICATOR’s sister magazine, and a guest contributor on thefabricator.com’s blog, you’re missing out on some great content. He has a passion for welding, those that work with their hands, and the products and structures those craftspeople create. He also brings a point of view that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to discussing some of the industry’s most important issues; he speaks for the shop floor.
In “Enter the trade with both eyes open,” his column in the November/December 2018 issue of The WELDER, he recommends that those considering a career in welding be wary of some of the “facts” thrown out there as reasons why people should join the manufacturing ranks. He expresses doubt about the average age of a manufacturing worker being 55 and what people claim to be starting salaries. All that leads into a bigger question: If a shortage of welding talent exists, why haven’t wages risen in response?
“If there was a legitimate skills gap and the industry and the government were serious about closing it, it could be done in less than five years. U.S. manufacturers just have to be willing to offer more money and better benefits to invest in the American workforce,” he wrote.
Those aren’t the words of a spokesman for the proletariat. They are the thoughts of someone with an understanding of simple supply-and-demand economics. At least it was a simple concept at one time. Today things are not so clear.
It’s no secret that metal fabricators say they struggle to find the right skilled workers. It’s been the No. 1 concern cited in The FABRICATOR’s last three What Keeps You up at Night? surveys over six years, with the 2017 survey suggesting that approximately 35 percent of fabricators indicate that this is their main concern. (The results of the next survey will be published in the September 2019 issue.)
What about unemployed or underemployed welders? Most certainly they are available to fill these openings, right?