By 2030, the US semiconductor industry is projected to see a shortfall in skilled personnel. The US is looking at an overall talent deficit of 1.4 million across the US economy. The loss will include technicians, computer scientists, and engineers. This is according to a recent study released on July 25, as reported by the US “National Defense” website.
A Massive, All-Encompassing Impact
Semiconductors are invaluable in electronic devices. They power not only defence technology but also various other crucial applications in the US economy.
According to a report jointly published by the Semiconductor Industry Association and Oxford Economics, these semiconductor technologies play a pivotal role in driving economic growth and enhancing national defence capabilities. These span everything from communications to security.
Looking ahead to 2030, the semiconductor industry is anticipated to require a total of 238,000 skilled personnel. Without proactive measures to address the talent shortfall, the United States may not fully realize its potential for capacity growth. This can also impact supply chain resilience, and leadership in technological innovation.
There’s a Need to Act Now
Oxford Economics’ Senior Economist and Principal Researcher, Dan Martin, underscored the significance of this issue, stating that the semiconductor industry’s high-skilled jobs could potentially face a dearth of qualified individuals. Immediate steps need to be taken to nurture talent.
Martin emphasised the need for tens of thousands of well-educated and trained workers to fill forthcoming job opportunities.
Moreover, the scarcity of skilled personnel in the semiconductor sector has broader implications for the entire US economy. Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, next-generation communications, and other strategically vital technology industries also encounter comparable talent gaps, which could lead to a risk of 1.4 million unfilled jobs across the country.
STEM is Needed to Fill The Looming Gap
The report outlines several key policy recommendations aimed at bridging the talent gap and bolstering the US technical workforce. The report suggests providing greater support for regional partnerships and initiatives that would cultivate a larger pool of talented individuals capable of filling skilled positions in semiconductor manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing fields.
Recognizing that higher education programs typically span four to 10 years, the report advocates for an extensive effort to expand the pipeline of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) graduates. The goal is to supply the semiconductor industry and the broader US economy with much-needed engineers and computer scientists.
An essential aspect of this comprehensive strategy involves igniting student interest in STEM opportunities during primary and secondary education. Moreover, at the tertiary level, students should be encouraged to pursue STEM majors and be well-informed about potential job prospects within the semiconductor industry.
The report also highlights the need to attract and retain more highly educated international students. Solely relying on local graduates is unlikely to sufficiently address the labour gap by 2030.
By incorporating these strategic recommendations, the US can endeavour to secure its competitive edge in the semiconductor industry. Simultaneously, this is a step to cultivate a robust technical workforce to drive economic growth and technological strides.