Welders: 21st Century Road Warriors

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Welders are a unique breed. Our recruiters report that, among the many skilled trades we work with, welders seem to be the most likely to pick up and move, “following the money.” We were curious to learn more about these 21st century road warriors and why so many choose to hit the road for work. 

Where the jobs are

A scan of the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals one reason welders move for work is the concentration of good jobs in states like Texas, California and Pennsylvania. But it’s also related to the nearly full employment rates for skilled welders across the U.S. Our Aerotek recruiter Stephanie Sanders puts it this way, “If you’re a skilled pipe welder — under water or above — and you’re ready to move, the opportunities can be very lucrative. About one third of our welders are ready to move for work. We work with MIG and TIG welders who can pretty much call their own shots if they’re willing to hit the road for half a year or more.”

Welders stick together

Listening to welders where they connect online reveals a group of skilled trade professionals who stick together, offering each other helpful advice and intel on regional job markets and training opportunities. In one Reddit discussion we found a North Carolina-based welder asking other welders working in Houston “what industry hires the majority of the welding work there” and “what they thought…” of a popular tech school in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. 

One welder posted about his success in finding work there, saying, “I’m living in South East Houston right now. PM me when you need a job. I have worked in three shops in the last five years. My average time between jobs has been five days. One business week. It's that easy. Also every time I get a new job it seems to come with a dollar raise.”

Advice matters

In another online discussion, a Seattle-based welder asked fellow welders whether they thought it would be a good idea moving to North Carolina. “I wanted to get your guys' inputs, specifically from anyone that has been/lived in both states. I'm looking for somewhere with lots of welding work, preferably in the automotive/racing industry. I was told Mooresville is a great place.”  Check their conversation on the Reddit thread here.

This sort of advice seeking and giving was everywhere we found welders getting together online. It’s clear one reason welders feel comfortable moving for work is the helpful, candid career help they offer each other in online communities like Reddit and other discussion forums. 

Career rewards on the road 

From our years of experience working with welding contractors we know the ones willing to hit the road for work are commanding serious paychecks. But even our less nomadic welders are finding rewarding work just down the street in hometowns across the U.S. If you’re a welder on the road or sticking closer to home, we’d love to hear from you. 

Create an Aerotek welder’s career account here if you haven’t already. To explore our current welder opportunities visit here.