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U.S. Semiconductor Industry Facing Looming Workforce Shortage

In a recent study conducted by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in collaboration with Oxford Economics, it has been projected that the U.S. semiconductor industry will require approximately 67,000 new workers by the year 2030. Despite the industry’s current workforce of approximately 345,000 in 2023, experts predict that this number will need to reach 460,000 by the end of the decade. This increasing demand for skilled workers comes as the nation strives to strengthen its domestic chip sector with the implementation of the CHIPS Act.

The CHIPS Act Paves the Way for Growth

Signed into law on August 9, 2022, the CHIPS Act has set aside substantial funding for the establishment of new manufacturing sites and research and development in the semiconductor industry. Overseeing the $39 billion in manufacturing subsidies stipulated by the act, the Commerce Department has received applications from major companies like Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, and Samsung Electronics. Additionally, the act introduces a 25% investment tax credit amounting to $24 billion, aimed at incentivizing the construction of new chip factories, known as fabs.

Addressing the Looming Shortage

While the CHIPS Act is expected to create more job opportunities within the semiconductor sector, the study by SIA and Oxford Economics warns of a potential shortage in qualified workers. The roles most affected are projected to be in the fields of computer science, engineering, and technical expertise, with engineers comprising about half of the anticipated job demand in the future.

SIA President John Neuffer acknowledged the longstanding challenge faced by the industry, stating, “This has been a problem that we’ve been facing for a long time. But with the CHIPS Act in particular, and the kind of bending the arc of history towards more manufacture here on U.S. shores, it really kind of threw this acute problem into bold relief.”

A Broader Crisis in STEM Graduates

The scarcity of skilled workers in the semiconductor industry is part of a more extensive deficiency in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates across the United States, as highlighted by the report. If not addressed, it is estimated that by the end of 2023, a staggering 1.4 million positions in STEM-related fields may remain unfulfilled.

The implications of such a workforce shortage are far-reaching, as industries reliant on technology and innovation face significant challenges in maintaining competitiveness in the global market. To overcome this pressing issue, stakeholders are being urged to invest in educational and training programs that encourage more students to pursue careers in STEM fields.


The U.S. semiconductor industry, a crucial driver of technological advancement and economic growth, is at a critical juncture. The demand for skilled workers is projected to soar in the coming years, surpassing the current supply of graduates from educational institutions. The CHIPS Act offers a glimmer of hope, fostering the development of new manufacturing sites and creating a favorable environment for innovation. However, unless proactive measures are taken to address the broader STEM workforce crisis, the semiconductor industry’s growth and potential could be hampered, impacting the nation’s position in the global tech landscape. As the clock ticks towards 2030, industry leaders, policymakers, and educators must collaborate to bridge the workforce gap and secure a prosperous future for the U.S. semiconductor sector.

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