Welding is the most ubiquitous process on the planet. It is fundamental to the construction of bridges, high-rise buildings, mining equipment, ships, and even household appliances, such as fridges and washing machines.
Next time you’re driving down the road, take a look around you: crash barriers, light poles, road signs, the re-bar in the concrete bridge, even the very car you’re driving. All of these elements rely on welding.
Welding played an enormous role in the second industrial revolution. Without welding, we wouldn’t have the modern motor car, high-speed trains, or jet planes. We wouldn’t be able to generate power. We wouldn’t have advanced manufacturing facilities. Our world today simply wouldn’t look the same.
Welders build the very world in which we live.
However, it’s not just the pervasive nature of the welding process that makes it so essential—welding is also vital to the strength of Australia’s economy.
Essential to Employment
Australia’s welding and fabrication industry is responsible for the employment of over 78,900 people, 91% of whom are employed on a full-time basis.
While not an absolute, part-time and casual roles are more likely to be more insecure than full-time roles, and do not always afford employees with the same types of benefits. Generally, full-time, high-quality roles reflect a stronger industry and greater competition for employees. With an overwhelming percentage of Australian welders employed on a full-time basis, it clear the industry is strong, and an essential provider of secure employment opportunities.
Essential to Innovation
Australia’s welding and fabrication industry is highly diverse, with a large number of businesses that boast a total output capacity of over 1.6 million tonnes per annum. Over 2,000 businesses operate in the fabrication of structural steel – contributing to an overall market size of $7 billion.
Approximately 94% of businesses operating within Australia’s welding and fabrication industry are small enterprises with less than 20 employees.
Small businesses are an important source of innovation in Australia’s economy. With a proven ability, capacity and agility to respond to changes in today’s competitive global marketplace—particularly when compared to their larger competitors—the role of small businesses in boosting innovation, productivity and efficiency is vital. Through innovation and expansion, small businesses are a solid source of employment and competitive edge for Australia’s economy on the world stage.
Essential to Downstream Industries
With its highly diverse profile, welding is critical to myriad aspects of Australia’s economy. It is a key player in various economically significant downstream and related industries.
In Australia, three industries are the main consumers of steel fabricated products, comprising almost 90% of all demand. These industries are:
- Construction at 50.3%
- Manufacturing at 20.5%
- Mining at 17.2%
Combined, these three industries purchased over $11.6 billion of steel fabricated products in 2013-2014.
Since 2007, the construction has grown at 3.8% per annum. Based on ABS data, employment in the industry has grown from 933,100 people to nearly 1,098,500, making construction the single largest employing industry in Australia. The construction industry generates over $360 billion in revenue, making it responsible for around 9% of Australia’s GDP. And, welding is an essential input.
Manufacturing directly and indirectly employs over 10% of the Australian population. With manufacturing industry output amounting to over $110 billion annually, this is equivalent to approximately 6% of Australia’s GDP. And, welding is an essential input.
Historically, the mining industry has been important to Australia’s wealth and prosperity—a trend that continues today. Mining contributes approximately $248 billion per annum and employs over 350,000 people. And, welding is an essential input.