Welcome to our new video series, Techonomics Talks, where we use the dynamic relationship between technology and economics to explore a variety of topics impacting tech companies and their customers today.
The growth of new tech investment and reshoring puts new pressure to foster a long-term STEM workforce to support the high-skilled needs of tech businesses. In the first video of the series, Arushi Pasricha examines the challenges facing the supply of STEM talent in the US labour force.
The economic and workforce landscape of the US technology sector continues to evolve and grow. Recent incentives and legislation, primarily through the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Sciences Act, continue to drive reshoring and near-shoring of high-tech manufacturing investment. Companies in the semiconductor sector, as well as those in pharmaceutical manufacturing, electric vehicle manufacturing, clean energy and R&D are building new domestic capacity.
The semiconductor design and fabrication sector has already committed over $200 billion of new private investments. Oxford Economics estimates that this will result in new job growth of 115,000 workers by 2030. This represents a 30% increase in the industry’s employment over the next seven years. This also creates exciting new career opportunities for current US workers and the next generation of talent, especially those in STEM fields.
Meeting these workforce needs, however, does come with challenges. A recent Oxford Economics study found that the demand for nearly 3.9 million computer scientists, engineers and technicians over the next seven years will fall short by 1.4 million unfulfilled jobs, especially in computer science and engineering. Narrowing this gap will require significant coordination between education institutions, businesses, community leaders, workforce development and economic development.
However, closing the gap also requires comprehensive global talent recruitment and retention strategies. For example, international students comprise more than half of the graduate STEM degrees completed at US institutions and approximately one out of every nine STEM bachelor’s degrees. If less restrictive pathways to permanent domestic work were available, as many as 220,000 American educated international engineering and computer science graduates could be recruited and retained by companies operating in the US over the next seven years.
The tech economy in the US is well positioned to grow. Realizing the full growth potential hinges significantly on the country’s ability to cultivate and develop a talent pipeline to meet these business needs.
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Assessing and addressing the labor market gap facing the US semiconductor industry
We project the semiconductor industry’s workforce will grow by nearly 115,000 jobs by 2030, from approximately 345,000 jobs today to approximately 460,000. Of these new jobs, we estimate roughly 67,000 risk going unfilled at current degree completion rates, or 58% of projected new jobs.