GlobalFoundries Seeks Talent Amid Growing Chip Demand

GlobalFoundries Seeks Talent Amid Growing Chip Demand
GlobalFoundries Seeks Talent Amid Growing Chip Demand

The semiconductor industry is actively seeking workers in a competitive labor market, driven by growing demand for talent and the need for funding from the CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to stimulate domestic manufacturing.

The U.S. economy is expected to face a shortage of about one million workers by 2030, as generative AI further fuels demand in the industry.

A 2023 study by the Semiconductor Industry Association predicts a shortage of 67,000 computer scientists, engineers, and technicians in the U.S. chip industry by 2030, while the entire U.S. economy is projected to face a gap of 1.4 million such workers.

A separate study by Deloitte suggests that the talent shortage in the semiconductor industry could worsen due to the global economic climate and ongoing supply chain issues.

GlobalFoundries, the world’s third-largest chipmaker, is expanding its recruiting efforts. The company has targeted veteran candidates, participants in its reentry program and a women-in-construction initiative.

GlobalFoundries makes chips for everyday products, from electronics and phones to automobiles and space and defense components. Major customers include General Motors and Lockheed Martin.

In 2021, the company launched the industry’s first registered apprenticeship program, which is full-time, paid with benefits, and offers free training for apprentices. The program takes two years or less to complete and requires only a high school diploma or equivalent and an interest in mechanics. About 50 apprentices have completed the program to date. The company recruited graduates with technical associate degrees from regional community colleges and veterans transitioning from the military for the program.

GlobalFoundries is working to fill hundreds of roles around the world and is hiring thousands each year, a pace it plans to maintain, according to Chief People Officer Pradheepa Raman. Raman said that maintaining the same workforce is “not an option” for the industry, as demand is soaring. The needs range from engineers to product managers to business roles.

“That’s why we’re very, very aggressive in our workforce development efforts,” Raman said. “And if you’re not getting traditional talent, the solution is cross-talent training, identifying alternative talent pools, people who are doing things in different fields, showing them that this is a very welcoming set of opportunities that exists within the semiconductor industry, and that’s our approach.”

Workers also have opportunities for advancement, and training and retaining existing workers is critical in this competitive environment. Morgan Woods, 28, started as a technician at GlobalFoundries’ Malta, New York, fabrication plant in 2021. Woods has since transitioned into a training and development analyst role, overseeing training for technicians, engineers and managers and ensuring compliance. Woods said compliance is key as the company expands into the automotive industry, working with GM.

“As demand for microchips increases, we definitely need more manpower to support the current microchip distribution and meet our daily goals,” Woods said.

Woods has taken advantage of a benefit GlobalFoundries launched in May that allows eligible U.S.-based employees and new hires to receive a lifetime tax-free total of $28,500 toward student debt. That includes qualifying loans for all types of degrees and credit-based certificate programs offered by U.S. colleges and universities. So far, the number of applicants has topped 200, exceeding expectations, according to the company.

“By participating in this program, I will be in a much better financial position to purchase a home in the coming years and to expand my family and have children,” Woods said.

In addition to creating engineering and computer science jobs, CHIPS and Science Act funding will also support the growth of GlobalFoundries’ manufacturing facilities in New York and Vermont. In February, the company announced $1.5 billion in planned CHIPS funding to expand manufacturing capacity. This funding, combined with state and local funds, is expected to help create approximately 1,500 manufacturing jobs and 9,000 construction jobs over the course of the planned projects.

The manufacturing and construction sectors have also recently faced labor shortages and are seeking to attract new and younger hires to these sectors.

“We believe the challenges we face in recruiting can be solved through an ecosystem approach to workforce development and by making our organization a world-class place to work through the benefits we offer,” Raman said.