A new study reveals that US chipmakers are facing challenges in filling key positions, which could potentially hinder efforts to revive the domestic industry. According to Revelio Labs, a labor-market data analyst, semiconductor firms are taking more than twice as long as other industries to hire personnel such as technicians and mechanical engineers, with the hiring process typically lasting around three months among the top 50 chip producers in the US.

This shortage of skilled labor in the chip industry has significant implications for President Joe Biden's administration, as they are injecting $52 billion into the chip industry to reduce reliance on Asian supply chains and create more job opportunities. While the subsidies have sparked increased investment across the US, the hiring bottleneck could impede progress.

Chipmakers have long been expressing concerns about the lack of job candidates with a science, technology, and engineering background in the US. The Semiconductor Industry Association predicts that the industry will add 115,000 jobs by 2030. However, if current degree completion rates persist, nearly three-fifths of these jobs could go unfilled.

Already, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has delayed the start of production at its Arizona plant due to a scarcity of construction workers with the necessary expertise to install highly technical equipment. The company plans to send staff from its Taiwanese facilities to provide training for local workers.

Workforce development is a significant area of concern within the industry. Companies like EMD Electronics, a semiconductor materials and equipment supplier, have been able to fill some positions through mass hiring events. However, meeting the extensive worker requirements for large fabrication facilities remains a challenge. TSMC, for example, needs around 4,500 workers, while Intel Corp. will require 3,000 for its new plant in Ohio.

The Semiconductor Industry Association has been advocating for immigration reform that would allow more international students who come to the US for college to stay in the country. However, this issue is complex and has been a challenging subject in Washington, making a near-term deal on the matter unlikely.

In response to the labor shortage, chip companies are partnering with trade schools, community colleges, and universities to develop training programs. The Commerce Department has also pledged to evaluate workforce development efforts as part of the chip funding application process.

A recent survey by career-services website Handshake indicates a significant increase in applications for full-time entry-level semiconductor jobs and internship opportunities. The study conducted by Revelio Labs also highlights a substantial rise in job postings based in the US among the 50 firms examined.

Texas has emerged as the leader in hiring expansion, followed by North Carolina and New York, reflecting the positive impact of Biden's CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to support the chip industry.

The chip industry in the US is grappling with a shortage of skilled labor, with the hiring process taking longer than in other industries. This poses a challenge to the Biden administration's efforts to revive the domestic chip industry and reduce dependence on Asian supply chains. The industry is working on various solutions, such as partnerships with educational institutions and advocating for immigration reforms. Despite these difficulties, there have been promising signs of increased interest and hiring activities in the US semiconductor industry.