The US needs to generate, retain more chip workers

The US needs to generate, retain more chip workers

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The US will have a shortfall of 67,000 workers for the semiconductor industry by 2030 according to a report from Oxford Economics released by the Semiconductor Industry Association.

There will be jobs for technicians, computer scientists, and engineers unfilled in semiconductors the report predicts unless steps are taken, as well as a gap of 1.4 million technology jobs across the broader US economy.

The report, titled ‘Chipping Away: Assessing and Addressing the Labor Market Gap Facing the US Semiconductor Industry’ also makes a set of policy recommendations to help close the talent gap and complement the workforce development initiatives that are already being carried out by semiconductor companies across the US.

“Effective government-industry collaboration can overcome the talent shortage facing our industry, build the strongest American tech workforce possible, and unleash the full potential of semiconductor innovation,” said Matt Johnson, CEO of Silicon Labs and SIA board chair.

CHIPS act fall-out

The US is facing ramping demand partly due to the success of its CHIPS and Science Act in 2022. However, TSMC, one of the inward investors it has attracted has opted to delay the opening of its Arizona wafer fab due to a lack of sufficiently well-trained workers.

The study projects the semiconductor industry’s workforce in the US will grow by nearly 115,000 jobs by 2030, from approximately 345,000 jobs today to approximately 460,000 jobs by the end of the decade. As noted, an estimated 67,000 of these jobs risk going unfilled in the absence of action to close the gap.

To meet this challenge and address the talent gap, the SIA-Oxford Economics study presents three recommendations to strengthen the U.S. technical workforce:

  1. Strengthen support for regional partnerships and programs aimed at growing the pipeline for skilled technicians for semiconductor manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing sectors.
  2. Grow the domestic STEM pipeline for engineers and computer scientists vital to the semiconductor industry and other sectors that are critical to the future economy.
  3. Retain and attract more international advanced degree students within the U.S. economy.

Out of the estimated shortfall of 67,000 positions the report reckons 39 percent will be for

John Neuffer, CEO of the SIA, said: “We look forward to working with government leaders to advance policies that build on our industry’s longstanding workforce development efforts, expand the pipeline of STEM graduates in America, and retain and attract more of the top engineering students from around the world.”

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