The U.S. passed legislation in 2022 to boost domestic chip manufacturing and reduce reliance on semiconductors manufactured in China. To meet these goals, the U.S. semiconductor industry will need more technicians, computer scientists, and engineers than the nation has to offer, potentially falling 58% short of workforce needs, an industry study by the Semiconductor Industry Association showed.1
Semiconductor Industry Association. “Chipping Away: Assessing and Addressing the Labor Market Gap Facing the U.S. Semiconductor Industry.“
The semiconductor industry will need 115,000 new workers by 2030, but as many as 67,000 of these positions could go unfilled, according to the study that looked at degree completion rates to gauge whether the workforce would be ready for these positions.
The CHIPS and Science Act devotes approximately $52 billion to promoting semiconductor research and manufacturing in the U.S., which produced only 10% of the chips it needed in 2022.
“As America’s semiconductor ecosystem expands in the years ahead, so will its demand for semiconductor workers with the skills, training, and education needed in the highly innovative semiconductor industry,” the report said.1
Engineering, Technician, Computer Science Positions Most Needed
Of the 67,000 likely unfilled positions in 2030, 41% will be in engineering positions, while 39% of the gap will be in technician positions, and the other 20% in computer sciences.
For the technician positions, most will require two-year degrees or certificates, 35% of engineering and computer science job openings will demand a four-year degree, while 26% of engineering positions will require master’s or Ph.D. levels of education.
The study found that the lack of qualified candidates isn’t a problem for only the semiconductor industry, as other technical industries in the U.S. will also lack candidates for these positions.
Clean energy, medical technology, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, aerospace, telecommunications, advanced manufacturing, and automotive are among the industries that will create 3.85 million computer science, engineering, and technician jobs by 2030. However, approximately one in three jobs won’t be filled, including 1 million in computer science.
Training Programs, International Students Posed as Solutions
The report lays out recommendations designed to increase the number of workers trained for semiconductor and other advanced manufacturing.
The top recommendation was to expand certification boot camps, apprenticeships, and other training programs and community and technical colleges. Attracting more students to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs and exposing them to the semiconductor industry was another recommendation.
While expanding the pipeline of U.S. citizens could take years or decades, the report said that a solution that can help bridge the near-term gap in the semiconductor manufacturing workforce would be to retain and attract more international students with advanced degrees.
Source : Investopedia