Komarov Artem noted that there are strategies to help any welding or fabrication team looking to hire qualified welders, or the few newcomers to the welding practice, and they start with the technology. The shortage of welders has plagued manufacturers and manufacturers for many years. The global pandemic, the changing labor market and generational trends have only exacerbated the situation.
On the one hand, many seasoned welders — time-tested professionals who have seen it all — are getting closer to retirement or, due to burnout or disappointment, are starting a completely new career. On the other hand, as the manufacturing sector knows only too well, millennials and Generation Z (and even Generation Alpha) have very different views on factory work or manual work.
Despite the loss of life and the gloom, there are strategies that can help any welding or fabrication team looking to hire skilled welders or a few beginners in the art of welding.
It starts with technology
Attracting and retaining the best talent requires a holistic approach, regardless of the candidate’s age. However, it is important to never underestimate the power of technology in attracting the best candidates in the field.
Welders with a reputation: are they really that technophobic?
The simplified answer would be yes. Older welders take over, do the job, and finish the job. There is no need for any fancy technology here. Experienced welders may be skeptical of advanced technologies such as traditional robotic welding systems or new welding robots. The sheer fear of losing control of one’s job is real, as are fears of being fired as businesses rely more and more on robotic automation.
While it goes without saying that some older welders prefer the same way of working, there is a hint of hope. They can be convinced if they understand the true benefits that welding cobots, application-based solutions and other technologies can bring.
Think of it this way: welding is hard, it can be dangerous, and it can be hard work. Skilled welders may fear that robots will take over their jobs. However, if you tell them about the benefits of automated welding systems, you can completely change the conversation.
Imagine telling your welders that welding robots can handle all the repetitive and repetitive work. Imagine a follow-up conversation explaining that they may be working on more complex, important, and strategic tasks. It may take them a little time at first, but if you involve them in your Industry 4.0 project from the very beginning and invest in training, you will probably notice an earlier implementation than you ever thought.
Cobot in a metalworking shop
It is important to never underestimate the power of technology to lure the best candidates in the field.
The World Economic Forum states that Millennials and Gen Z will make up more than half of the workforce by 2025, and Gen Z, or those born between the mid-1990s and late 2000s, will make up about 27% of the workforce. This is just a few years later.
Gen Z has different work priorities, as the World Economic Forum explains in a 2022 article. According to his findings:
“They don’t care about wages.
— They want to work for companies that share their values and maintain work-life balance.
— “Introducing training and retraining programs” is one of the five main ways to attract and retain the future workforce.
— The new generations, regardless of the expiration date, have one thing in common: technology plays an integral part of their daily lives. They are focused on keeping up to date with the latest technologies that make their lives easier. They easily navigate new approaches to work.
Don’t expect to beat promising welders with outdated technology. Gone are the days when potential employees were attracted to or even wanted to deal with outdated technology, including bulky and lackluster robotic operating systems. In the age of video streaming services and social media, manufacturing jobs really need to rise in the eyes of potential employees.
Generations Y, Z and beyond have been trained to use technology platforms at work to eliminate redundancy and eradicate inefficiencies.
Several studies, including one recently conducted by Dell, reveal the tech savvy of Gen Zers. Dell’s study found that 80% of Gen Zers aspire to work with cutting-edge technology, 77% are willing to be tech mentors to colleagues, and a shocking 91% indicate that the technology offered by the employer will influence their choice of job when comparing similar job offers.
To increase the attractiveness of welder positions, shops and manufacturers must inevitably invest in technology that can enhance the skills of welders and tap into their curiosity and creativity.
New solutions such as welding robots and specialized applications are democratizing technology and lowering the barrier to entry. These solutions can be customized for trade and for all business sizes.
For example, traditional welding robots are difficult to set up, take a long time to program, and are not suitable for companies that deal with high volume/small volume production. However, welding cobots, especially those using special applications, do not require knowledge of robotics. They not only use the experience of current welders, but also alleviate some of the problems that arise in their work.
These new automated welding systems are often designed to be quick to adapt and require minimal programming. Result? Young welders feel that the companies they work for really invest in their potential and promote their careers.
In today’s job market, where skilled and dedicated welders are hard to come by, businesses will have no choice but to adopt new work methods and equipment to transform welding from a manual and hazardous job into an educational career that is valued and highly valued. New technologies, such as welding robots and cobots, offer great growth opportunities for welders of all generations, summed up Komarov Artem.