Semiconductor industry growth boosts engineering jobs

  • 06/04/2020
  • 05:07
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  • Candidate

As emerging technologies spur growth throughout the semiconductor industry, there’s likely to be increasing demand and career opportunities for talented semiconductor engineers.

In fact, the latest figures show that there are currently more technical and engineering jobs available than people to do them - KMPG’s 2019 Semiconductor Report found that almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents cited talent risk as one of the top three threats to their organisation’s growth. From the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), to the roll out of 5G networks, and the increasing investment in R&D across the sector, it’s an exciting time to be a semiconductor engineer. And with employers forced to compete for the best talent, there can be some very attractive salary and benefits packages on offer for top candidates, along with fantastic opportunities for progression up the ladder.

What are the key factors driving industry growth?

Semiconductors are the backbone of today’s digital world; they are the building blocks of countless electronic products. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to stay digitally connected and enjoy the technology that make our lives easier. Today, there are around 26 billion connected devices worldwide, and with this number expected to triple by 2025, emerging technologies will continue to increase the demand for semiconductor and microelectronic jobs. Emerging technologies in the wireless communications sector, for example - from the ongoing roll out of 5G networks to autonomous vehicle applications - will continue to drive revenue for semiconductor companies. Stephen Mcrath, Senior Consultant says “With the introduction of 5G and new mobile/electronic systems, we’re a surge in demand for candidates who are skilled in those markets, to develop the products which will go into market in the next 12 months. Candidates who are willing to relocate for a role will have their pick of the best opportunities. We advise candidates to go where the opportunities are in order to progress your career. If you’re prepared to relocate, the company will offer you incredible career progression if you move with them.”

Businesses in countless industries are implementing data-driven technology across their organisations to accelerate, automate, and improve decision making and business processes. The global growth in Artificial Intelligence is set to be a huge driver for the semiconductor sector; according to research from McKinsey, AI related semiconductors will see 18 percent growth annually over the next few years, which is five times more than the rate for semiconductors used in non-AI based applications. We can also look to the technology stack to understand AI’s role in the opportunities being created for semiconductor companies. The technology stack used for AI applications comprises nine layers which enable the two activities that power AI systems; training and interface. When working on ways to improve training and interface, developers often encounter obstacles related to the hardware layer of the stack, which includes storage, memory and networking. Semiconductor companies can deliver solutions through the use of innovative accelerator architectures, to enable the transfer of large data sets through memory or to increase computational efficiency – creating huge opportunities in their business for revenue growth and expansion.

While hardware remains a differentiator in AI, semiconductor companies can continue to expect sustained demand for their chips. Cognitive computing and machine learning, which involve the processing and analysis of huge volumes of unstructured data, require significant processing power - and only cutting-edge chips will be able to power the high-performance computing that the next wave of AI technology will require. Additionally, the surge in emerging technologies is spurring many chip manufacturers to develop new and improved products and solutions, and the most innovative growing business will need to hire and retain the best design and development engineers if they are not to miss out.

What are the most in-demand semiconductor job skills?

In the current market, there are a finite number of innovators with the right skills sets to design and deploy novel technologies, and competition for the best talent remains fierce. At a critical stage in its growth, the industry is threatened by a shortage in core skills and talent. Candidates with expertise in photonics, lasers, electronics and physics are in particularly high demand, and there are also strong opportunities in a range of production and assembly roles within the sector. Aside from the necessary technical skills, possessing certain soft skills such as critical thinking, communication and problem solving, along with remaining abreast of the latest industry developments, can give you an edge over other candidates.

With so much change and innovation happening in the semiconductor and electronics sectors, now could be the ideal time to progress your semiconductor engineering career. As industry experts we’re perfectly positioned to find the right roles. To find your next role, or for help with your semiconductor engineering career or hiring needs contact us.