Chipmakers and electronics manufacturers can't find enough skilled workers

nanoguy

Posts: 983   +14
Staff member
In brief: The shortage of everything from raw materials to chips and other essential components is having a ripple effect on the electronics and auto industries, but that's only the beginning. Suppliers in North America, Asia, and Europe are now facing an even bigger problem—the rising difficulty and cost of finding skilled workers to keep the industry machine going at a time when demand is higher than it's been in years.

The ongoing chip shortage has put a lot of strain on the supply chains of many tech companies. Still, there's an even bigger problem looming over electronics manufacturers, some of which have gone on a hiring spree to meet high consumer demand in the holiday quarter. Almost 80 percent of them now say that it's become harder to find qualified workers for their factories.

According to the IPC—who represents chipmakers, contract manufacturers like Foxconn, and other suppliers—the cost of finding skilled workers has grown considerably over the past year. This trend is expected to continue well into 2022. The timing is unfortunate, as demand for everything with a chip inside is more robust than it's been in years.

The organization surveyed hundreds of suppliers from Asia, North America, and Europe to get a clearer picture of the overall electronics manufacturing value chain. It looks like two-thirds of American companies are having trouble acquiring a skilled workforce, and the situation is similar for European suppliers. Meanwhile, only a third of Asian suppliers have this problem, primarily thanks to lower labor costs and more relaxed worker safety regulations.

Solving this problem isn't easy, but almost half of the organizations surveyed said they were retraining existing employees and offering more attractive compensation for in-demand positions. That said, new Covid-19 outbreaks have led to travel restrictions, especially in Asia, making it more challenging for companies to bring in more factory workers and engineering talent.

Interestingly, 90 percent of all companies that participated in the survey said the cost of materials and components had risen considerably over the past year, cutting deep into profit margins. This fluctuation is in line with a report this month that rare earth metal prices have exploded in the past twelve months, which could lead to increased retail prices for all electronics as soon as next year.

Automakers are among the hardest hit among all customers for these suppliers. According to AlixPartners, the auto industry will likely lose a whopping $210 billion in revenue this year, almost twice as much as previous estimates released in May. Many automakers have had to scale back production amid the chip shortage, which is expected to cause a loss of 7.7 million car units from this year's manufacturing target.

Masthead credit: ASML

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Aceseven

Posts: 93   +156
Neither can the corner fast food service station. Just another alleged shortage
fast food doesnt pay anything, thats why they're short on people, you don't need to be the sharpest butter knife to handle the fryers, plus who wants to deal with mean hungry people all day?

tech jobs around me are paying nicely, the issue really is that not enough are qualified...to get in the building, you dont want to hire just anyone to handle million dollar machines, add in the background checks needed for certain positions/locations and many other factors and you end up here.
 

RudyBob

Posts: 238   +249
fast food doesnt pay anything, thats why they're short on people, you don't need to be the sharpest butter knife to handle the fryers, plus who wants to deal with mean hungry people all day?

tech jobs around me are paying nicely, the issue really is that not enough are qualified...to get in the building, you dont want to hire just anyone to handle million dollar machines, add in the background checks needed for certain positions/locations and many other factors and you end up here.
I can understand your point. It all rolls down hill is mine
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 385   +508
fast food doesnt pay anything, thats why they're short on people, you don't need to be the sharpest butter knife to handle the fryers, plus who wants to deal with mean hungry people all day?

tech jobs around me are paying nicely, the issue really is that not enough are qualified...to get in the building, you dont want to hire just anyone to handle million dollar machines, add in the background checks needed for certain positions/locations and many other factors and you end up here.

Pretty Much this.

Too many low skilled employees looking to move up only to get hit with the fact that they are underqualified. They don't want to go back to the crappy jobs they had before, even if they are paying better. Crap work is still Crap Work.

Not enough Skilled Employees to fill the much needed roles for these tech level jobs. Too many Entry level mid level managers, not enough engineers.

You also see a lot of lower level management positions that we gotten rid of and those that filled them are having a hard time finding new work. As they are overqualified for lower positions and they would rather not take a pay cut, or they are underqualified for new opportunities that are not in high demand in the first place.

The real winners are the kids joining the workforce for the first time. GenZ sure seems to have it much easier that us millennials. We got 9/11 while in School, had to deal with the 2008 recession or the after effects, the inflated housing market, etc. Seems like we just don't get a break. I would have loved to have started out making $15/hr a decade ago, and in that decade the cost of goods have gone up, but not as crazy as you'd think.
 
It goes well beyond generically “skilled workers” depending on where you are on the chip manufacturing value chain.

To make a material difference you’d best be a PhD in Chemistry or Physics preferentially with post-doctoral studies in material science.

A *very* rare and needed breed.
 
It goes well beyond generically “skilled workers” depending on where you are on the chip manufacturing value chain.

To make a material difference you’d best be a PhD in Chemistry or Physics preferentially with post-doctoral studies in material science.

A *very* rare and needed breed.

Also, the degrees, it goes without saying, have to come from *top* universities - MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Caltech…

Nations fight over these people.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,620   +4,479
Skilled workers don't grow on trees.

An industry has to hire unskilled workers too, and train them, if it wants to actually have skilled workers.

Can't stress this enough. Industries seem to think that technical specialists just magically appear and companies put as little money as possible into creating new ones. If you want more of the right people you have to incentivize their development either by partnering with educational institutions and/or doing it yourself.
 

NicktheWVAHick

Posts: 318   +480
That’s all nice & fine to say you don’t want to go back to your “crappy” low-level job, but if you are not qualified to do anything else and it comes down to work vs unemployment, eventually you will either go back to your “crappy” job or starve to death….unless, of course, you live in a socialist economy, perhaps like the one we will soon all be living in?
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 857   +705
I have a degree in computer science and I have worked for a few companies doing IT and system support. But I gave all that up years ago in favour of being a scuba diving instructor, that lead to becoming a boat captain, commercial diver and commercial fisherman. These jobs pay far better than anything I could have earned in systems work and are a lot more rewarding as well as healthy. There is nothing worse for a humans health than a lifetime sat at a desk.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,800   +2,155
TechSpot Elite
If you aren't willing to pay well, you won't get anyone worthwhile. These corporations only pay their executives well and everyone else gets shafted. Is it any wonder that they can't find anyone who's interested in working for peanuts? This is what happens when you focus on maximising short-term profits at the expense of long-term viability.

If you need skilled labour and are having trouble getting it, offer more money. It's not rocket science but these greedy a$$holes can't get that through their thick skulls. They whine about their profits but are still raking in money hand-over-fist.

"Oh, you only got $500,000,000 instead of $1,000,000,000? Boo-FiretrUCKing-Hoo!"
 

Hexic

Posts: 1,053   +1,563
TechSpot Elite
Majority of people going to university nowadays do Mickley mouse degrees, no wonder there is a STEM shortage.

Years back, my university was cutting a good amount of funding to women's studies, geology, sociology, anthropology, and a few others… because the amount of kids graduating and finding jobs in the field was in the single digit percentiles. The real world just doesn’t hire as much as others for those degrees because they aren’t as needed for society.

Naturally, as I was weaving my way around campus to get to the CS buildings they were (ironically) protesting in front of the building with the highest potential for job prospects…

But can’t tell the kids that. Most of them ended up working at one of the malls around us, fast food management, kohls.

But when you ask them about it - it’s not THEIR fault, it’s always someone else’s that they chose a career path with less progression opportunities than a McManager.
 

godrilla

Posts: 289   +146
We thought gpu market is bad, the vehicle market is suffering shortages and pricing selling 5 to 10k over msrp and this will last until 2023 due to chip shortages. Costco chain just announced shortages and inflammation on products including electronics across the board as well as other paper necessities. When socialists take over the world people suffer and this is just the beginning unfortunately!