what is a welder?

A welder is someone whose primary job is to use high heat to fuse materials such as metals or thermoplastics to create strong, durable bonds. As a welder, you'll know the best techniques to use on different materials and how to quickly and efficiently produce secure joins. 

You'll also be familiar with the practices and equipment needed to make working with high temperatures safe for you and others. You'll master a variety of techniques and work together with engineers and other professionals to create finished products. 

Welding combines the mental satisfaction of adhering to exacting technical standards with the physical rewards of precise handcrafting. If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, a job as a welder might prove the perfect career path.

welders in different industries

Any industry that requires durable joins between metals needs welders. If you want to work in a busy indoor environment, consider manufacturing industries. Welders in these roles work on everything from tools and containers to cars, ships and aircraft. 

If you prefer changing job sites and working outdoors, welding in the construction industry might be more suitable. Construction welders help to create the steel skeletons of modern buildings. And welding skills are in demand in some industries that might surprise you, such as the manufacturing of computer parts. 

Would becoming a welder suit your enjoyment of precision work? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in the role.

welder roles

how much do welders make in the UK?

According to the Office for National Statistics, an average welder's salary at entry level is around £20,000 per year, while a more experienced welder earns up to £34,000. The median or average welder's salary is £27,416 per year. 

what factors can affect the average welder's salary?

Your pay as a welder reflects your familiarity with different welding processes. The greater scope of skills you can bring to bear, the higher the salary you'll command for your services. 

In addition, your working hours can influence your pay. Welders often work longer days or less sociable hours. Schedules like these aren't for everyone, but it can improve your earnings if you can work these shifts.


what are the different types of welder?

Welders can be divided into different categories based on the techniques they commonly use. For example:

  • welders who have mastered tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding use this slower, more complex process to carry out specialised jobs. 
  • those who employ the simpler but faster metal inert gas (MIG) process often find themselves working on a variety of different tasks involving thicker metal panels. 
  • other welding specialisations include pipe welding, which uses processes including TIG welding but has its own specific requirements. 

The number of different specialisations makes a welding job a great starting point for finding the career that fits you.


what does a welder do?

A welder's job description typically involves the fusing of metals and other materials under high temperatures. But it is a very varied field – one that could encompass a wide range of techniques and lead to opportunities to work in several different environments. Read on to find out more about the day-to-day realities of being a welder.

a welder's job description: core duties and responsibilities

The job doesn't begin when you turn on your welding equipment or end when you put it down. To be an effective welder, it's important to master the process from start to finish.

  • your work begins with the engineering instructions for the job; after understanding those, you proceed to the materials. 
  • after evaluating and preparing the sections and calibrating your equipment, you undertake the actual welding. 
  • once the weld is complete, inspection and testing ensure that it is finished to the required standard and that the resulting join will be safe.   

Command of this entire process is the hallmark of a good welder and gives you the satisfaction of a job well done. 

welding in other industries

Most welders are employed in the manufacturing or construction industries or work on machines with production workersCNC operatorsCNC turners and pipefitters. But there are other applications for a welder's skills.

One of the most common alternative roles for a welder is in demolitions. This allows you to put your knowledge of materials and welding techniques to use, dismantling structures so they can be removed safely. In some cases, demolition and construction happen on the same job, such as a site where an older structure has to be taken down before a new one can be erected in its place. 

where does a welder work?

A career as a welder offers a range of different working environments. Some have a regular workplace in a workshop or factory. A welder in construction or demolition, by contrast, will operate on a number of busy job sites.

Due to the nature of the job, the environment is often hot, crowded and noisy. It may also be in an enclosed underground space or at a high elevation. The greater ability you have to work quickly and safely in these environments, the more success you are likely to enjoy.

who does a welder work with?

Who your colleagues are may depend on the type of welder you are. But if you're employed on an all-encompassing construction project, you can typically expect to work alongside the likes of:

what is a welder's typical work schedule?

When something breaks that requires a welder's skill to fix, it doesn't matter what time of day it is. Similarly, in construction, late deadlines mean overrunning costs, which employers will always be desperate to avoid. Both of these factors can mean more work for you as a welder. 

Whether in busy manufacturing environments or on construction sites, welders often work long hours that can include evenings and weekends. While the schedule of a welding career can be demanding, the different shifts and hours available mean you can find the timetable that's right for you. 

what are the career opportunities for a welder?

Continuing professional development is the key to advancing your career as a welder. Building familiarity with new techniques and equipment means expanding the opportunities available to you. And experience as a welder can be a good entry point for a number of other related careers. 

  • if you want to move out of welding and into other roles, you could consider management. As a supervisor or workshop manager, you'll oversee the work of other welders as well as the processes that support them. 
  • another option is to move from welding into testing or quality control, inspecting the output of welding processes on a larger scale. 
  • if you want the satisfaction of passing on your skills to a new generation, consider teaching in a professional or further education environment. 

advantages of finding a welder role through Randstad

Finding your job through Randstad provides important advantages such as:

Want a permanent contract? A temporary job as a welder is often a stepping stone to a full-time role. Every year, thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad. What's more, many companies recruit their permanent employees through us too!  


how to become a welder

No matter where you're starting from, there are many paths to developing the technical capabilities needed to be a welder. You can build your skills by: 

  • applying for a welding apprenticeship, which combines classroom teaching with practical workplace experience.
  • pursuing a further education course leading towards a qualification such as the Level 2 Award in Welding Techniques and Skills. 
  • studying a subject like Materials Science at university. 
  • taking a course from The Welding Institute if you already have experience in other areas of engineering.

In addition to the necessary welding skills, you'll also need to prove that you can handle the equipment safely. Requirements vary, but many employers demand a certificate like a Client Contractor National Safety Group (CCNSG) Safety Passport

continuing development

Learning doesn't stop when you start your career as a welder. Professional bodies like The Welding Institute offer professional development courses to help you broaden your familiarity with different techniques and equipment. Skills to develop include welding inspection and other supervisory capabilities, as well as specialist techniques such as underwater welding. 

skills and competencies for a welder

Your formal qualifications won't be the only things that distinguish you as a welder:

  • you work alone much of the time, relying on your initiative and time management. 
  • your dexterity and hand-eye coordination help make your welds clean and precise. 
  • attention to detail is key; only thoroughly checked welding work will be safe enough to pass inspection. 
  • although you don't have the same level of training as an engineer, a background knowledge of engineering and technology is important to help you understand the projects you're working on. 
  • similarly, your job involves familiarity with a range of different devices and computer applications. 

interpersonal skills

Although welders often work independently, personal skills still matter on the job site. Your ability to communicate clearly with people working in other areas helps you all operate more efficiently. These colleagues might include fabricators, product assembly teams or millwrights. 

Clear communication also helps keep the workplace safe, and if you're interested in making the transition to a supervisor or manager position, your personal skills will help you manage a team more effectively.



FAQs about working as a welder.


why choose us to find your welder job

We're here to help you find the welding role that suits you. Here are just some of the reasons why you're in safe hands with Randstad:

  • over a long, storied history of more than 60 years, we've built up the experience that helps us match the right people to the right roles.
  • to do that, we take the time to get to know you and understand what you're looking for. That's one of our key business principles.
  • Recent technological developments mean we've had to continually adapt our services to suit the modern candidate. You can read more about that in our brand story.
  • We collaborate with the likes of mental health charity Mind – just one example of some of the strong partnerships we've formed.
  • We're targeting a 10% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030 as part of our social responsibility and sustainability promise.


apply for a welder vacancy with Randstad today

Applying for a welder job is easy – all you have to do is create a Randstad profile and search our job offers for vacancies in your area. Then simply send us your CV and cover letter. Need help with your application? Check out all our job search tips here!

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