“We have a shortage of skills that are needed in the manufacturing sector and the construction sector, because we’ve trained our children that the only way to get a good job is to go to a four-year university,” said David Landon, president of the American Welding Society.These statistics always irritate me. If there is a shortage of welders, why aren't wages for welders rising? Because they are pretty much stagnant just like everybody else's wages. As to why more people don't aspire to learn trades like this, I already covered that: because American companies treat skilled workers as expendable and lay them off at the drop of a hat. The Times has a different number for average annual wage of a welder than the one I cited before, $40,040, but that is still well under the average wage of a college graduate, and that lower wage comes with constant worry about being laid off or discarded.
Mr. Landon estimates that the United States currently faces a shortage of more than 200,000 professional welders and that there is, indeed, good money to be made by learning the trade. He claims that a stigma against learning such skills has developed over the years, but that welding is needed in sectors that touch most parts of the economy.
When Americans can earn middle class salaries as welders, with some job security, they will start getting trained as welders. As a businessman I know likes to say, "I find that what really motivates people is money."