Looming semiconductor talent shortfall indicates a tangled road ahead

AutotechInsight Analysis Monthly

While the semiconductor industry is expanding front-end capacity globally in response to the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) labor to support these expansions now loom. Globally, 1-million-person shortfall of qualified labor is expected by 2030. The automotive industry will likely be affected as its appetite for semiconductors will continue to grow regardless of the demand for semiconductors in other industries. Semiconductor manufacturing will continue to be at the center of geopolitical issues, as the industry rethinks its global supply chain and there are renewed calls for onshoring in virtually all regions. In addition to advanced semiconductor capacity overall, the need for capacity in mature process nodes will also continue. Even as the supply chains have improved governments, industries and companies need strategic plans for the semiconductor technologies and supply chains for the foreseeable future.

Semiconductor exhibitions recently witnessed a resurgence in participation, with attendee and sponsor numbers surpassing pre-pandemic levels. The TSMC Symposium and SEMICON West are two such notable events that concluded a few months ago revealing several clear industry trajectories. Paramount among these is the automotive sector's emergent dominance within the semiconductor landscape. It is no longer just about in-car entertainment; we are witnessing a seismic shift as vehicles evolve into technologically advanced machines, necessitating sophisticated chips for functions ranging from autonomous navigation to real-time data processing.

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