This last year the semiconductor industry has faced major challenges from logistics delays, to supply chain shortages, to natural and man-made disasters. The latest challenge to the industry is being able to staff the open positions for thousands of skilled roles. Taiwan, a global semiconductor manufacturing hub, had thirty-four thousand industry vacancies in the month of December 2021 alone. The multi-billion-dollar industry investments to expand production and solve chip shortages have only exacerbated challenges to fill the skilled engineering workforce that is required to operate a fab or an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) facility.
Amidst this hiring frenzy to gain experienced and skilled staff, talent poaching within competing companies is becoming a bigger issue as companies are offering up to 70% more than their current salaries for skilled workers. Not only are semiconductor companies competing against each other, but they are also competing against companies like TESLA, SpaceX, and AMAZON who are creating an increasing talent war for skilled technicians and engineers.
So how does the industry plan to face these issues? Some places like Taiwan are leading the industry as they are racing to set up many specialized chip schools that are in session year-round. These academic institutions are collaborating with many of the fabs and OEMs to not only get the knowledge but also the hands-on training that one needs to work on semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Currently, some countries are evaluating and amending their immigration policies allowing people from other countries with proper education and experience to enter the country under special work visas. And lastly, some countries and manufacturers are ramping up investment in and partnerships with academic institutions as they plan for a sustainable future in the industry. As the industry looks for solutions to this talent shortage, we can look toward Taiwan to set a standard to help further sustain the talent pool for the semiconductor industry.