Weld Australia Member Survey highlights skills shortage challenge

A survey of its members taken in June by Weld Australia points to “a severe shortage” of skilled welders leading to fabrication work being turned down, with local content and sustainability also high on the agenda.

Weld Australia – representing welding professionals and companies in the nation – received responses from “approximately 140 companies” to its 2022 Member Survey. 

The top concern cited by 64 per cent of senior managers was a lack of skilled staff in an extremely constrained recruitment market, consistent with estimates that 70,000 additional welders will be needed by the end of the decade.

“With a considerable volume of work being onshored in the wake of international supply chain disruptions, most Australian fabrication companies are so strapped for skilled welders that they are working at anywhere between 30 [per cent] and 50 [per cent] of their full capacity,” said Weld Australia CEO Geoff Crittenden in a statement on Tuesday. 

“They are being forced to turn down jobs because they simply don’t have the manpower to complete the work. This is having a major impact on production and causing delays throughout downstream industries including building and construction, mining, oil and gas, and manufacturing,”

Forty-seven per cent of respondents said they had a pipeline of work extending six months ahead or longer. This is compared to the 2020 survey results, where 28 per cent said their pipeline was shorter than a month, 19 per cent answered one month, and 16 per cent said two months.

The survey also found 

  • all respondents in support of federal and state procurement measures “to increase Australia’s share of fabricated steel product” to at least 75 per cent; 
  • Thirty per cent of respondents supporting a target of zero emissions before 2050 (20 per cent preferred a 35 per cent by 2030 target); and
  • Forty-one per cent had already installed solar panels to supplement power supply, 53 per cent had installed LED or sensor lighting, and 46 per cent had waste reduction programs in place.
  • Picture: Weld Australia

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