The Future For Welders Looks Hot!
The global welding market is set to see an unprecedented expansion that has already started according to labour market forecasters. According to recent surveys, including one undertaken by Zion Market Research last year, the global welding products market is set for a speedy growth spurt that is estimated to reach approximately USD 32.6 billion by the year 2022.
Key Market Drivers
Some factors driving this rapid growth include more oil and gas companies undertaking exploration projects after a plateau due to the price of oil. After recent increases in prices higher oil profits have meant an interest in beginning new endeavours, and this will lead to a need for more pipelines to carry gas and oil.
In the U.S., automotive productivity will also lead to a greater demand for welding products and skills right across the board. One such country is Mexico which has had huge investment ploughed into this particular industry in the last decade, and is being keenly watched by labour market analysts to predict a similar upward trajectory which is also gradually starting to happen in other countries.
Other areas reflecting a growth that will impact positively on the welding sector include new infrastructure in countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. where there has been an upturn in the demand for regenerating and rebuilding transport infrastructures, bridges and new power and energy sources. All of these changes will require significant investment over coming decades meaning that welding and cutting skills will continue to be much sought after.
Other trends that have been picked up on by economic forecasters who have been assessing the future of the welding industry include the large quantities of steel imports coming into America in recent times. This clearly indicates large construction projects which will most likely entail shipbuilding and military replacement, or refits for navy ships and vessels that have become antiquated over time.
The new developments outlined above will require a range of welding abilities from maintenance and repair to assembly production, but at present it is anticipated that there are just not enough experienced or skilled welders to match demand. In the U.S. the American Welding Society predict that there will be a shortage of more than 370,000 welders by 2026.
As with other industries the sector has an ageing population and fewer people wanting to enter the profession. Therefore, those looking to get ahead of the game and train as a welder and gain experience in this kind of work - including modern techniques and equipment - will be one step ahead of the game.
Predictors For Robotics
Although some areas of the welding industry are set to become automated, ironically one of the reasons cited for this new demand is that companies just cannot find enough people to fill jobs! However, experts think that there will always be some areas that are more suitable for the skills a human can provide such as variations in parts.
Although robots will be much more speedy and efficient in some aspects of the welding process, Japanese manufacturers and others have noted that there are many areas and conditions whereby robotic intervention is just not sufficient. For instance, humans will still deployed to undertake many functions that are too difficult or complex for a robot, such as shipyard tasks that require great dexterity, mobility and complex movements and tasks.
Another challenge for welders will be the diversification of manufacturers into new high-strength and state-of-the-art materials which are increasingly lighter and finer than their predecessors. In the car industry new models are made from steels that are becoming thinner and finer than ever before.
These new materials will create a need for new and updated skills, and welders of the future will not just become proficient in new techniques but in the use of a wide spectrum of innovative tools and machines that will assist in welding these more finely tuned metals.