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July 14, 2020

3 Key Takeaways from New Hiring Data: Semiconductor Industry Continues Pursuit of Best, Brightest Talent

Data recently collected by SEMI points to only a moderate slowdown in the industry’s pursuit of talent, illustrating the growing and significant need for attracting workers at all levels of the organization. With COVID-19’s devastating impact on many sectors of the economy, the time is ripe to sharpen the industry’s focus on attracting and training a new wave of workers to meet the growing talent needs across our industry.

To help illuminate the state of microelectronics industry hiring during the pandemic, following are three takeaways from recent workforce development data. 


Key Takeaway 1 – Emsi Hiring Data and Analytics Review

In a May 5 SEMI webinar on the Future of Work, presenter Andrew Crapuchettes, CEO at Emsi, a labor data analytics firm based in Moscow, Idaho, revealed that the U.S. semiconductor equipment and device manufacturing sectors posted 199,326 total jobs (32,022 unique positions) from March through June 2020 with an advertised median annual salary of $68,500 –  the highest posting intensity for all other occupations and companies in the U.S. 

EMSI 2Crapuchettes noted that “although the job postings number was actually down from the previous quarter, some of the large companies have shown flat or growing postings during this period. At Emsi, we are evangelists for more accurately establishing the requirements for the job to more closely match the skills actually being sought.”

He pointed to a gap between the skills employers list in job postings and those employees itemize in their resumes. Today’s use of algorithmic resume analysis, however, may reveal false gaps in hiring. Emsi is working with several Fortune 500 companies in the electronics sector to help them analyze their job postings. The goal: to better understand if they have identified the right skills for their business and the recipe for attracting top talent. 

Emsi supports programs such as the SEMI Works workforce development initiative that are out to more closely align job seekers and curriculum development with the skills needed for microelectronics design, development and manufacturing.

During COVID-19, Crapuchettes sees companies across all industries doubling down on employee training. For many organizations, a business slowdown is an opportunity to identify and work to fill employee skill gaps and prepare companies to emerge stronger once the pandemic has passed.   

Key Takeaway 2 – SEMI COVID Impact Survey

In March, April and June, SEMI surveyed members to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 and help inform SEMI’s response. Among the questions in the June survey was “How has COVID-19 impacted your hiring plans?” Of the more than 300 respondents, just 13% reported a hiring freeze and 55% said their hiring plans remain unchanged.

Shari chart 4

Figure 2: Data from SEMI COVID-19 Impact Survey


All SEMI regions show a similar pattern. Japan, Korea and China reported little to no slowdown in hiring as shown in Figure 2. Differences across regions were notable with more cautious approaches to hiring adopted by North America, Europe and Taiwan, with some companies slowing hiring for certain positions.

Key Takeaway 3 – SEMI Survey of Workforce Development Advisory Council

Shari chart 5SEMI relies on members for industry insights we use to build, evolve and prioritize our programs. A June survey of SEMI America’s Workforce Development and Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council showed that, while some member companies have delayed hiring until the pandemic’s impact of the industry is clearer, most respondents see this period as an opportunity to attract talent to the electronics industry and maintain hiring programs to meet the growing demand for talent the digital revolution is fueling. The survey data, as shown in Figure 3, is consistent with Emsi’s results and a larger SEMI member survey. 

Our June survey also illustrated the strong desire by the Council for SEMI to support diverse communities and lead efforts to connect talent from these groups with career opportunities in electronics. All survey respondents urged SEMI to place the highest priority on promoting Diversity & Inclusion in the workforce, with 57% ranking university outreach as a high priority. 

Visit the Workforce Development Pavilion at Virtual SEMICON West 2020 for More Information

The microelectronics industry is making a huge impact in the COVID-19 era – from developing the tools to run algorithms for companies working on a vaccine, to keeping the internet humming for home workers and online ordering for homebound seniors. But these services will only continue to evolve at a rapid clip with the right talent. SEMI programs remain laser-focused on pursuing and developing that talent.

Thank you to all members who responded to the surveys and Emsi for contributing to understanding of the workforce need in the current climate. We invite all members to connect with SEMI Workforce Development activities. We need your help to align skills to curriculum (SEMI Certs), presenting at our workforce development events and donating to the SEMI Foundation, which provides financial support for much of our work.

Learn more about how you can help the industry grow its talent pipeline at the SMART WorkForce Pavilion at the virtual SEMICON West – July 21-23! Checking out the pavilion is free, but there’s a modest fee for the content. Register now for a discounted all-in pass to enjoy blister- and COVID-free access to the first virtual SEMICON West ever.   

Shari Liss is Executive Director of the SEMI Foundation. She oversees the development and success of all programs from K-12 through re-skilling for veterans.