Construction Industry Pushes Back Against Misrepresentation of Welders’ Income
Average income underestimated
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 13 – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Construction Labor Market Analyzer (CLMA) and NCCER today pushed back against media reports this week that have misrepresented the income of welders in commercial and industrial construction.
“The media’s mischaracterization of the incomes earned by welders, particularly in the construction industry, is not based in fact,” said ABC Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety and Workforce Development Greg Sizemore. “By using Bureau of Labor Statistics data out of context, several media reports have woefully underestimated the average income earned by welders. Lumping welders in with other classifications and only including base salary paints an incomplete picture of welders’ average earnings.
“Annual wages earned by welders in several fields, including specialty and heavy industrial welders, are more than double the BLS’ figures widely reported this week,” said Sizemore. “In addition, welders enter their field without the burden of student loan debt and, along with other skilled craft professionals, typically continue their education through employer-provided training and industry-recognized credentials without paying for expensive advanced degrees.”
Daniel Groves, CEO of Construction Industry Resources noted today, “Despite uninformed reporting by the media sophistry, welders who excel at their trade often earn compensation ranging from a start of around $35,000 to more than $150,000 depending on the project type and location. In fact, some companies in the Gulf Coast region report now that their welders make a base of $89,000 and up to $200,000 with overtime. For their training and quality hard work, welders are paid well, yet too many young people are unaware of the opportunity and as a result, over the past decade there has been a 65 percent decrease in the number of 16-24 year olds entering the skilled trades. This trend is contributing to a skilled worker shortage that is escalating wages 2-4 percent annually and providing an excellent living for those who choose the trades, and welding in particular, as a career option.”
Don Whyte, president of NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) stated, “we think the data on craft professional demand and compensation speaks for itself. For the fourth consecutive year, ManpowerGroup has ranked skilled trades as the hardest jobs to fill globally. In addition, the Construction Industry Institute recently finished a research project that estimates an additional 181,390 welders will be needed by 2018. In fact, the need is even greater when looking across all craft areas. The Construction Labor Market Analyzer estimates that 1.3 million new craft professionals are needed by 2019. Unfortunately, most parents and educators are unaware of the high paying, high skilled, rewarding career opportunities available to young people in our industry.”
According to analysis of BLS data completed by CLMA, annual median compensation for a 40 hour work week for Heavy Industrial Welder Crafts exceeds $75,000 ($75,516.38), compared to BLS’ figure for Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code 51-4121 (Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers of $37,420. When adding per diem at the federal minimum, this average annual compensation expands to $86,556.38 and when overtime is factored in for welders who exceed a 40 hour work week, the median wage exceeds six figures. Additionally, annual median compensation for Specialty Welder Crafts, based on a 40 hour work week, is $68,632.73 and increases to nearly $80,000 after federal minimum per diem is added. When overtime is factored in for welders who exceed a 40 hour work week, the median wage is $98,150.77.
For the entire set of welder income data compiled by CLMA, click here.