The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), alongside Oxford Economics, has published a study today (July 25) predicting that by 2030 there will be a “projected shortfall of 67,000 workers in the semiconductor industry by 2030.” 

This shortage of 67,000 means that approximately 58% of new manufacturing and design jobs in the semiconductor sector risk going unfilled by 2030. 

The research also anticipates a gap of 1.4 million skilled workers in the broader US economy. 

As the race towards AI speeds ahead, the SIA acknowledges that demand for semiconductors will also increase dramatically with production and innovation being “ramped up” to keep pace. 

After America’s CHIPS Act has allowed the American semiconductor industry to prosper, the SIA now states that the US needs to address this demand for trained semiconductor workers. 

Senior economist at Oxford Economics, Dan Martin said that the study showcases “the critical high-skilled roles across the semiconductor sector and the likely skill shortages the industry will face, if proactive talent development measures are not taken.” 

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By GlobalData

Explaining further, Martin added that whilst “the CHIPS Act has set the stage for US long-run investment and increased global competitiveness in semiconductor design and production. Moving forward, tens of thousands of new post-secondary-trained workers will need to fill the roles created as the industry increases.” 

The study, titled “Chipping Away: Assessing and Addressing the Labor Market Gap Facing the US Semiconductor Industry”, also details recommended policies to help address the shortages and complement existing workforce development initiatives. 

Such recommendations include the US government strengthening its support for regional pipeline programs within education, growing the domestic STEM pipeline to increase the amount of STEM graduates that go into the sector, and retaining more international advanced degree students within the US economy. 

This skills shortage is not unique to the US.  

Countries globally, with recent examples such as Germany and Taiwan, have faced a shortage in skilled workers. 

Whilst a quarter of respondents cited semiconductor shortages as their biggest business concern for the year ahead in a GlobalData poll, increasing shortages of the skilled workers necessary to manufacture these parts appears that it will overtake any material shortage concerns. 

The SIA’s study was also published after they recently released a press release advising the Biden administration against further CHIP restrictions against China. The projected worker shortage now piles more pressure on the US to turn its focus away from tightening regulations for the time being to address its workforce development issues.