In the current decade, the global semiconductor industry could nearly double its turnover to $1 trillion. But the U.S.’s attempts to regain its former position as a leading electronics maker risk stumbling into severe staff shortages.
Of a total of 115,000 new jobs created in the U.S. semiconductor industry by 2030, up to 67,000, or about 58 percent, could go unfilled, according to representatives of the SIA association, which covers the majority of U.S. chipmakers and developers.
Today, the U.S. semiconductor industry employs about 345,000 people, but by the end of the decade the industry will need 460,000 people. It will be difficult for companies to fill all the new vacancies at the current training volume in the US, SIA believes.
According to the association’s forecasts, by 2030 the needs of the national industry for technicians will reach 134,300 people, while the labor market will be able to offer no more than 107,900 people with such a profile. The shortage of engineering personnel will be felt even more acutely, since with about 41,700 specialists available, the market will actually need 69,000.
Roughly the same proportion looms large in the U.S. semiconductor industry’s scientific workforce imbalance: There will be only 21,100 scientists on the market, while industry needs will amount to 34,500, according to SIA data.
In American universities, there are now not enough students studying engineering disciplines, basic sciences and mathematics. A significant part of the graduates of these fields simply leave the country – voluntarily or due to difficulties in obtaining a work visa for the USA.
More than half of masters in engineering specialties at the country’s universities are visiting students, and among holders of scientific degrees this share exceeds 60%. With the former, the number of American university graduates leaving the country reaches 80%, with the latter – a rather sensitive 25%.
US universities should do more to attract students to majors in demand in the semiconductor industry, and authorities should consider relaxing immigration laws for those with skills that are useful to the country, the SIA advises.
An example of the industry’s problems is the recent delay in the commissioning of TSMC’s plant in Arizona, which the company was unable to equip technologically as planned due to a huge lack of skilled workers, Bloomberg notes. Personnel were sent from Taiwan, and the authorities interested in the implementation of the project promised to grant them visas under a simplified and accelerated procedure.