Women in Welding

More Women Than Ever Are Breaking into This Once Male-Dominated Industry

If you’re thinking about making a career change or you’re a millennial who’s undecided (or uninspired) about which career path to pursue, maybe you’d be interested in exploring the lucrative, highly-skilled profession of – welding. This high-paying trade offers job security, growth, and a rewarding competitive edge. More millennial women than ever are channeling their inner “Flashdance” and giving their work lives a much-needed spark.

    The traditionally male-dominated industry of welding is expected to grow by 6% by 2026 and there aren’t enough trained welders to meet the increasing demand. In 2010, women made up just 4% of the entire welding workforce in the U. S. and that paltry number has increased by only 1% over the last 9 years, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. However, the industry’s historic gender gap seems to finally be closing as a new generation of girls are willing to get down and dirty on the job.

    Meet Megan. She hadn’t purposefully planned on breaking barriers, smashing through glass ceilings, or defying long-standing stereotypes. She simply wanted to attain a long-term, skilled trade in a high-demand field. Welding? Why not! “My dad was very supportive of me learning a skill that most women don’t know about and ‘back in the day’ wouldn’t even want to learn,” she says. Welcome to 2020. Women now want to weld – and rule the world!

    The beauty of welding is unlike most manufacturing gigs that are often sent overseas, as most welding jobs are done on-site. Women Who Weld is a fairly recent initiative that sets out to provide professional, women-only training programs that make the craft accessible and affordable to the willing and able female workforce. Previous programs attracted ladies to the field by focusing on the craft’s high wages, benefits, and recession-proof job security.

Going Against the Grain

    Now, a professional production welder with the leading manufacturer John Deere, Megan first became enamored with the craft while attending Iowa’s Davenport West High School. “I love working with my hands, especially fabricating works of art and things people could use…When it comes to production welding, I can look at a Motor Grader passing by my house and proudly say, ‘I built that.’” Megan concedes welding isn’t usually the first – or second or third – career choice amongst most women, recalling having to “pay her dues” in the industry, such as proving herself ten times as much as her male counterparts. Hence, her beaming pride. While welding may have appealed to most men in the past, the gender shift is finally taking shape. “I was one out of two women welders for awhile at John Deere Davenport Works and I’m grateful to have helped train many more women welders in the past couple years.”

    If you’re a lady who’s looking to go against the grain and create a flicker in a male-dominated field, don’t be intimidated by all the testosterone that has been brewing in the workplace for decades upon decades. You’d be surprised how receptive and supportive male welders are to the incoming female craftsmen. Besides the obvious – work hard, take initiative, be independent, stay accountable – a little laughter will go a long way. Having a sense of humor without taking yourself too seriously is the best formula for work success. “Ladies are much more welcomed into this trade than most people think, so don’t be afraid to jump in and show the guys how it’s done,” laughs Megan.

These Boots are Made for Working

    Now, a professional production welder with the leading manufacturer John Deere, Megan first became enamored with the craft while attending Iowa’s Davenport West High School. “I love working with my hands, especially fabricating works of art and things people could use…When it comes to production welding, I can look at a Motor Grader passing by my house and proudly say, ‘I built that.’” Megan concedes welding isn’t usually the first – or second or third – career choice amongst most women, recalling having to “pay her dues” in the industry, such as proving herself ten times as much as her male counterparts. Hence, her beaming pride. While welding may have appealed to most men in the past, the gender shift is finally taking shape. “I was one out of two women welders for awhile at John Deere Davenport Works and I’m grateful to have helped train many more women welders in the past couple years.”