A report released today by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) states: Shortage of 67,000 workers Key roles difficult for US-based chip makers to fill include technicians, computer scientists and engineers. So SIA developed his three-point action plan to address the talent shortage.
The US has big ambitions for its domestic semiconductor industry, even encouraging foreign investment from the likes of Samsung and TSMC. Her landmark CHIPS and Science Act enactment in 2022 means the United States will be responsible for a large share of the world’s semiconductor production going forward. But the problem we already face, a shortage of qualified and interested staff, is likely to get worse.
SIA expects the semiconductor industry workforce to grow by nearly 115,000 by 2030. That means the current total workforce is about 345,000, but he should grow to 460,000 by the end of 2010 to keep up. But the labor market will struggle to sustain it. The SIA lays out the core problem, saying that current degree rates could fill some 67,000 jobs, or 58% of the expected new jobs.
This qualified labor shortage problem is not unique to the US semiconductor industry. Looking at the broader job market, the SIA says it will create an estimated 3.85 million more US jobs requiring technical skills by the end of 2010. About 1.4 million of these are at risk of non-fulfilment. These are huge numbers, and for an industry such as semiconductors judged to be of strategic importance to the country, the issue is of utmost concern.
So how do we address the gap between the number of chip industry skilled workers expected to be needed and the number expected to be available?
- Strengthening support for regional collaboration A program designed to expand the pipeline of skilled technicians for semiconductor manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing sectors.
- Grow the domestic STEM pipeline It is aimed at engineers and computer scientists who are essential to the semiconductor industry and other fields important to the economy of the future.
- Retain and attract more foreign higher degree students in the US economy.
Hopefully, the above will be heeded by national and local governments and key industry players, and will prove to be sufficient to fill talent shortages, or if not, at least make things more manageable.
Some of the news coming out of TSMC’s massive U.S. operations pushed under the CHIPS Act isn’t too encouraging for those interested in working in the industry. For example, in June it was reported that TSMC Chairman Mark Liu said industry workers should be prepared to work long hours and that their passion for the industry should be tested by the working environment. This came after news that TSMC was struggling to hire local workers in Arizona and was seeking more Taiwanese immigrants to fill the shortage.