17th July - Valencia.
Recent surveys have agreed that the semiconductor industry is in one of the worst crises for shortfalls in high skilled engineering talent for many decades.
This has been laid at the door of not enough graduates wanting to study Engineering: https://semiengineering.com/engineering-talent-shortage-now-top-risk-factor/
Compounding the shortages is a shift toward new technologies and automation. For example, machine learning requires new skills, but there is a shortfall of experts here. In addition, automation in the manufacturing sector is increasing, which means companies either have to retrain workers or replace them.
Head of research group SEMI has identified that companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook have captured the imagination of high school and university students and drawn attention away from the semiconductor industry. They are hiring people left and right. They are also offering great compensation packages.
The IC industry is expected to double in the next 10 years. Without the right workforce in place, the industry will not be able to capture the growth. It’s not going to happen.
However, the problems of skill shortfall are not a global phenomenon. Many countries such as China or India have a healthy line of skilled engineers in their respective pools. There will almost certainly be issues around getting visas and cross border immigration to fill the necessary gaps.
Another issue is the aging semiconductor workforce. Long time workers with deep knowledge in their fields bring tremendous specialized value to the industry across many disciplines. Replacing these highly skilled workers as they retire places even more pressure on the industry to build and maintain its talent pipeline.
Supply and demand are determining the salary rates and availability for deep knowledge engineers. However, as long as they can be harnessed to provide the necessary training for new generations then there is likely to be evened out. But until then, the shortfall will continue.
Whilst efforts are in place to develop training programmes to bring new engineers into the sector Branding and showcasing how our industry enables all this cool technology could (and should) attract new talent to our space and help keep those already here interested and engaged for the long term.