Our team members agree, one of the best things about working at DIY Steel is the people we get to meet. From professionals to crafters, we learn so much from our customers as we help each one with their metal-working projects. Among those are women working in (and studying) the welding field.
Did you know that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), of the nearly 439,000 welding jobs in the U.S., only about five percent are held by women? And, in Oregon, there are approximately 8,400 jobs related to sheet metalwork and welding, alone. There are in fact, more than 80 processes that involve welding across multiple industries.
As it celebrates National Welding Month annually in April, the American Welding Society (AWS) spotlights the integral role welders play in keeping people safe and advancing the quality of life across the globe. AWS projects that for the near-term and foreseeable future, welding jobs for both women and men will continue to be in high demand. The opportunities in welding are vast and much more than just working in a steel mill. To help meet the demand, an increasing number of “women in welding” programs are being offered, such as through the Women Who Weld organization, and here in Oregon, Oregon Tradeswomen.
More women are being drawn to welding as a career because it provides a diversity of employment opportunities, workplace stability and excellent wages. Welders earn a median wage of $20.43 per hour working in industries ranging from auto racing, shipbuilding and aerospace to custom furniture manufacturing and more. However, despite a growing demand for skills-based workers, women are rarely encouraged to pursue careers in welding. Yet, welding/metalwork is one of the many trades that can lead to economic security for women without college degrees.
Building Your Skill
No matter the gender, welding is accessible for everyone. Interest in welding often begins at the craft level, where the skill is needed to make a sculpture and other artwork or create functional pieces like a garden box. Taking a welding class can provide all people with a safe place to explore the field. Using a welding torch can seem intimidating, but with proper instruction, being able to complete a metal-craft project can bring a great deal of personal satisfaction. And, according to the AWS, those who attend a skill-building class or weekend training program often go on to register for comprehensive classes in trade schools or community colleges, earning certifications and pursuing careers in welding.In March 2021, AWS held its first virtual Women in Welding conference. The one-day, mini-conference featured four prominent women across all sectors of the industry who shared