The Current State of the Semiconductor Industry’s Employee Shortage

The Current State of the Semiconductor Industry’s Employee Shortage

The semiconductor industry is currently facing a shortage of workers, especially in the United States. This shortage is expected to reach as high as one million workers by the year 2030. The industry is highly competitive for talent, and with the enactment of the CHIPS and Science Act, funding is being dispersed to spur domestic production. However, this funding alone may not be enough to fully address the labor shortage.

A study conducted by the Semiconductor Industry Association has projected a shortfall of 67,000 technicians, computer scientists, and engineers in the U.S. chips industry by 2030. This shortage is expected to have a significant impact on the broader U.S. economy, which is projected to have a gap of 1.4 million workers in these fields. The global economic environment and ongoing supply chain issues are further exacerbating the talent crunch in the semiconductor space.

GlobalFoundries, the third-largest chipmaker globally, has been actively recruiting talent to address the industry’s workforce shortage. The company has implemented various initiatives to attract candidates, including targeting veterans, promoting workforce reentry programs, and focusing on advancing women in construction. GlobalFoundries produces chips for a range of products, including electronics, phones, autos, and components for space and defense. Major clients of the company include General Motors and Lockheed Martin.

In 2021, GlobalFoundries launched the semiconductor sector’s first registered apprenticeship program. This full-time program is paid with benefits, requires no cost for training, and can be completed in two years or less with only a high school diploma or equivalent. The company has recruited graduates with technical associate degrees from community colleges and veterans transitioning out of the military for the program. GlobalFoundries is committed to filling hundreds of roles globally and hires thousands of employees annually.

GlobalFoundries prioritizes training and retaining existing workers to address the competitive environment in the semiconductor industry. Employees like Morgan Woods, who started as a technician and advanced to a training and development analyst role, exemplify the opportunities for growth within the company. Woods emphasizes the importance of compliance as GlobalFoundries expands into the automotive space, working with companies like GM. The company also offers benefits like a tax-free student debt repayment program to help employees achieve financial stability.

Impact of CHIPS and Science Act Funding

Funding from the CHIPS and Science Act will play a crucial role in bolstering the growth of GlobalFoundries’ manufacturing fabs in New York and Vermont. The company announced $1.5 billion in planned CHIPS funding to expand manufacturing capacity, which is projected to create 1,500 manufacturing jobs and 9,000 construction jobs over the lifetime of planned projects. By creating roles in engineering and computer science, this funding aims to address the worker shortages faced by the manufacturing and construction industries as well.

The semiconductor industry is currently grappling with a significant shortage of workers, with projections indicating a shortfall of up to one million employees by 2030. GlobalFoundries and other companies are implementing recruitment strategies, apprenticeship programs, and employee development initiatives to address this shortage. Funding from the CHIPS and Science Act is expected to further support the growth of the industry and create new job opportunities. As the demand for semiconductor products continues to rise, attracting and retaining talent will be critical for the future success of the industry.

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