The last two years have been difficult for the semiconductor industry, but chipmakers are facing one of their biggest challenges yet: a skilled labor shortage.
Chipmakers the world over have been struggling to keep up with demand since the outset of the global pandemic. Lockdowns in regions of China responsible for much of the industry’s manufacturing took their toll, as did general, pandemic-fueled supply chain issues.
Eager to avoid the kind of issues that arose at the outset of the pandemic — and with cybersecurity increasingly becoming a national security issue — many governments are wanting to promote local semiconductor production. Unfortunately, because the industry has been focused in China and Asia for decades, there is a shortage of skilled workers outside that region. The WSJ estimates 70,000 to 90,000 silicon workers will be needed by 2025 in the US alone.
To make matters worse, the labor shortage comes at a time when demand for workers is at a high across many different industries. As a result, employees are becoming far more selective about the jobs they take and are leaving undesirable jobs. This trend has been so widespread it has been called the “Great Resignation.”
The WSJ says chipmakers are “stepping up [their] game” in an effort to attract more talent, increasing wages, improving recruitment, and developing closer ties with universities. With software and services getting all the limelight, however, it remains to be seen if these measures will be effective.