The Scope Of The Skills Shortage In Semiconductors

5 minutes

We’ve been discussing the semiconductor skills shortage since 2019. This last post dis...

We’ve been discussing the semiconductor skills shortage since 2019. This last post discussed the current rate of students applying for courses being far too low, more competition for workers with the same skills luring candidates away from the semiconductor sector and more. 

We also advised on how to tackle the problem of not enough people entering the industry. While this won’t solve the situation today, it will help in the near future.

Unfortunately, the problem still exists and goes deeper than encouraging candidates into the market. 

The skills labour shortage is most profound at the higher-end of the sector. Therefore, if the only solution is to train fresh workers into the field, the shortage will continue for far longer than necessary as we wait for graduates to train up to these higher-level positions. 

Therefore, in addition to continuing efforts to entice more students to study topics that are relevant to the semiconductor industry, plans must be made to upskill current workers and, most importantly, attract employees to stay with their brands.

Are workers leaving the semiconductor industry?

According to a study conducted by SEMI-DELOITTE in 2017, the problem of skilled workers leaving their positions was already severe, with 60% of employees going within three to five years.

In addition to this finding, 59% of survey respondents specified that their career path within the semiconductor industry wasn’t as attractive as other sectors within the tech industry. 

This shows the danger of higher-level skilled workers being more easily enticed away not only to competitors but different tech companies entirely. 

In addition, a report from McKinsey & Company revealed that since the pandemic, one in four women are contemplating downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely. 

We’ve previously reported that the gender divide within the sector is growing. While many brands are trying to stem the tide and turn things around, this report shows that more must be done. 

What can semiconductor companies do to solve the skills labour shortage?

As with the skills shortage solution that focuses on enticing more students, particularly from diverse backgrounds, into the sector, resolving the problems facing the higher-end skills shortage cannot be fixed in a day. 

While this will be a long term strategy, plans must be made and action taken today. Therefore, we recommend that companies look into:

Implementing professional development plans

Also known as employee development plans, this approach can help reduce staff turnover. And it isn’t enough to create a plan once; you should be scheduling time with your employees annually to discuss their progress and if their career plans are the same or if they’ve shifted. 

Offering additional training to staff

When employees don’t believe there’s any progression available to them, or they’ve been doing the same job for a prolonged period, they can start to feel stale. This increases the chances that they’ll be recruited as passive candidates.

By offering continual training, you’ll keep your staff engaged, motivated and hopefully reduce the chances of them leaving the industry entirely. You’ll also reap the rewards with better performance, more ideas, and lowered recruitment costs involved with replacing employees resigning from the industry.

MRL has been finding and placing expert talent within the semiconductor industry for over twenty years. semiconductors were the first niche we operated in and is a sector that’s extremely close to our hearts. If you have a vacancy to fill, we can help you find the right person for the job. Please get in touch to find out more.