By Max A. Cherney
(Reuters) – The U.S. semiconductor industry faces a shortfall of roughly 67,000 workers by 2030, according to an industry association study published on Tuesday.
The chip industry’s workforce is projected to grow to 460,000 by the end of the decade, up from roughly 345,000 this year. But at the current rate that people are graduating from schools, the U.S. will not produce enough qualified workers to fill the increase, according to the study prepared by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and Oxford Economics.
The study comes as the U.S. works to strengthen its domestic chip sector. The CHIPS Act, which sets aside money for new manufacturing sites, and research and development, was signed into law on Aug. 9.
The Commerce Department is overseeing the $39 billion in manufacturing subsidies stipulated under the act, and companies such as Intel Corp, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd have said they will apply for them. The law also created a 25% investment tax credit for building new chip factories, or fabs, that is worth $24 billion.
Those factories will create jobs, the SIA said. The projected shortage includes computer scientists, engineers and technicians. Roughly half of the future chip industry jobs will be engineers.
“This has been a problem that we’ve been facing for a long time,” SIA President John Neuffer said. “But with the CHIPS Act in particular, and the kind of the bending the arc of history towards more manufacture here on U.S. shores, it really kind of threw this acute problem into bold relief.”
The shortage of skilled chip workers is part of a larger shortfall of science, technology, engineering and math graduates in the U.S., according to the report. By the end of 2023, 1.4 million positions may go unfulfilled.
(Reporting by Max A. Cherney in San Francisco; editing by Christian Schmollinger)