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Needed Quickly! Semiconductor Experts

By Surajeet Das Gupta
May 01, 2024 11:17 IST
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Semiconductor makers need thousands of engineers and technicians, and though India has one of the largest pool of engineers in the world, they do not have experience in the semiconductor manufacturing space.

IMAGE: Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw holds a chip wafer during a media interacction in New Delhi. Photograph: Rahul Singh/ANI Photo

The government, based on feedback from semiconductor companies operating in India, expects hundreds to thousand-odd Indian engineers to return from Southeast Asia and the United States to participate in the country's high-tech manufacturing revolution.

"Nearly 20 to 25 per cent of the senior talent in the semiconductor manufacturing industry globally are Indians. We expect many of them to come back to India," says Communications, IT, and Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

According to a top official in the ministry of electronics and information technology (Meity), the engineers who have decided to return to India from the US are younger, while those from Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia are generally over 45 years and with more experience.

The official says that in the US, the senior and therefore older semiconductor professionals whose families have settled down do not want to move out. But in Southeast Asia, many want to return home and are looking for opportunities.

The response to the Tata group's recruitment drive in Taiwan for its OSAT (outsourced semiconductor assembly and test) and fabrication (fab) plant is a case in point, says the Meity official.

Tata Electronics held roadshows in Taiwan's chip manufacturing centre of Hsinchu to attract professionals with 5 to 18 years of experience in yield, automation and equipment, among other fields.

The company has tied up with Taiwanese chipmaker PSMC for technology, and its engineers may undergo training with the company.

Applied Materials, which set up a research and development centre in Bengaluru, is another example.

"Applied Materials has been in India for 21 years. We are a global company that looks to hire the best talent based on the needs of our various offices and teams around the world," says Abhay Singh, head, human resources.

"We are open to exploring opportunities for individuals with the right skillset who are looking to return home to India," Singh added.

Semiconductor makers need thousands of engineers and technicians, and though India has one of the largest pool of engineers in the world, they do not have experience in the semiconductor manufacturing space.

So, companies have to bring in senior global talent while they build a pool in India.

Companies are putting together a multipronged approach to train local talent.

Micron's ATMP (assembly, testing, marking, and packing) plant, which is under construction in Sanand in Gujarat, is expected to roll out chips by December this year.

The initial training for those hired in India is being undertaken at its plants in Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea, as the training requires exposure to a manufacturing facility.

The company has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Age Makers Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar to provide a pipeline of globally competitive pool of talent to the semiconductor industry.

The institute is an initiative of AM/NS India and has tied up with technology firm Cisco.

Singh from Applied Materials says there is a demand for skilled talent given India's ambition to become a global semiconductor hub.

The company collaborates closely with top academic institutions like IIT Bombay, IISc Bangalore, IIT Patna, and IIT Ropar to develop a talent pipeline.

The Meity official says that other companies are likely to take advantage of such institutes and adds that the Tata group would also train some engineers at the R&D centre in Hyderabad where indigenous technology for setting up an OSAT plant is being developed.

Moreover, others like Nirma University in Ahmedabad, and IIT Gandhinagar are contributing to building a local talent pool, the official adds.

However, several challenges remain. Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Trade Joseph Wu said that a cumbersome administrative structure, the lack of experienced engineers, and high tariffs on electronics component imports were some issues that needed to be resolved before Taiwanese companies would make serious investments in India's semiconductor industry.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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Surajeet Das Gupta
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