Several factors, both climactic and economic, have converged over the last couple of years to create a situation where semiconductor demand is outstripping supply. The slowdown during the pandemic, disruptive weather events in Taiwan and the US, and volatile economic and trading conditions have increased pressure on semiconductor supply and led to a large-scale shortage.
To overcome these challenges, major semiconductor companies have invested more than $120 billion in capital spending to increase their lab footprints. But then the other major challenge facing the industry comes to the fore - who is going to work in them?
The current semiconductor talent shortage
While businesses can have little impact on industry challenges such as climate change and government intervention, one area you do have control over is your talent. However, even that has become problematic in recent years.
Many companies are struggling to find and recruit qualified semiconductor candidates, particularly in areas such as chip design, validation and testing, and systems development. Even when you identify suitable candidates, attracting them in this highly competitive market is a major challenge in itself.
Developing a semiconductor talent pipeline
Diverse talent with relevant skills across semiconductor manufacturing, R&D, sales operations and other planning functions can help businesses build new relationships in the supply chain and overcome the semiconductor shortage. But while many organisations have identified the critical role talent has to play, there’s no single solution to bridge the gap. Instead, organisations must take a broad and proactive approach that encompasses talent management, succession planning and talent acquisition.
First, businesses must look beyond the semiconductor sector and start to bring in talent from elsewhere. Recent graduates are one area of focus, with efforts being made to engage this younger audience and communicate the extraordinary role semiconductors play in a range of industrial and consumer applications.
As well as bringing in new talent, electronics businesses should think about how they can upskill their existing talent base. As well as being a cost-effective way to supplement your talent-building activities, upskilling can also help to boost employee satisfaction and act as a powerful retention tool.
This new approach to talent acquisition and management should be met with a commitment from leadership to develop their skills. They must be empowered to embrace these new talent solutions to help them successfully navigate the semiconductor shortage and the other challenges that lay ahead.
The solution starts with people
To be successful in this uncertain context, the solution starts with people, and the businesses that forge ahead will be those that focus on hiring, retaining and nurturing the best talent.
These are undoubtedly challenging times for the semiconductor industry. However, with unrivalled demand and new opportunities on the horizon, including the $40 billion in value that could be added to the industry by the implementation of AI and machine learning, there are plenty of reasons for optimism.
Ready to fill your semiconductor skills gaps?
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