The semiconductor industry’s next inflection point
Tim Archer headshot
Dec 2, 2021

For decades, the semiconductor industry has been defined by our ability to innovate. Each time we’ve been faced with seemingly insurmountable technological challenges, we have invented innovative approaches and methods to solve them, and in doing so, we’ve helped to transform how the world works, plays, learns, and connects.

Today, we are again faced with a critical new challenge: the global talent shortage.

Surging chip demand is fueling enormous growth in our industry. The global semiconductor market is widely forecasted to reach $1 trillion by the early 2030s. To put that into perspective: it took more than 50 years for the chip industry to reach $500 billion – it will take only 10 years for it to grow by another $500 billion. Simultaneously, technological complexity continues to accelerate, compounding the need for innovation to continue unabated.

The opportunity before us is tremendous, but it comes at a time when widespread labor shortages are affecting companies across every industry. According to a recent study conducted by Korn Ferry, the labor deficit is costing companies more than $2.1 trillion combined in unrealized output each year. By 2030, that number is expected to reach an astonishing $8.5 trillion.

With millions of job openings available globally across the tech and advanced manufacturing sectors, the semiconductor industry faces stiff competition to not only attract and retain, but also source, new talent.

At Lam, we believe diversity and inclusion will play a crucial role in our ability to cast a wider net and reach untapped talent pools. This is why I recently joined nearly two thousand chief executives in signing the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge, which aims to drive measurable action and meaningful change in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.

By prioritizing DEI in our industry’s recruiting and workforce development strategies, we demonstrate to our current and future workforce that we value their diverse experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds. In creating a more welcoming and inclusive industry culture, we will increase our ability to collectively attract and retain top talent.

But we can’t stop there: we must simultaneously solve for more than today’s labor deficit. To ensure we can scale to meet the growth and innovation demands of our industry well into the future, we must begin developing the workforce of tomorrow, today. Workforce development and education programs are critical elements in cultivating a robust pipeline of future STEM talent, which is why Lam continues to invest in partnerships with organizations like SEMI and The National GEM Consortium.

The global talent shortage may be one of the greatest challenges of our time, but it also holds great opportunity. The actions we take as an industry to increase the diversity of our talent pipeline today will dramatically improve our ability to drive new semiconductor breakthroughs in the future. Collectively, we must tackle this new challenge as we have approached so many technological challenges in the past: with innovation, fortitude, and a commitment to build for the future.

To ignite a conversation about DEI and identify an actionable path forward for the semiconductor industry, Lam Research is proud to be sponsoring a special industry keynote session at SEMICON West 2021 in San Francisco: Building the Workforce of Future: The DEI Imperative.

Following opening remarks by Tim Archer, Ruth Umoh, editor-in-chief at The Filament, will lead a discussion with Lam’s own head of diversity and inclusion, Antoinette Hamilton, and special guests from The National GEM Consortium, McKinsey and EMD Electronics. The session will take place on December 8 from 2:30 to 3:30 PM PST, offered both in-person and virtually for registered attendees only.

For more information or to register for SEMICON WEST, visit:   

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This article contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include any statements that are not statements of historical fact, including statements regarding chip demand, industry growth, technological progress, advances in diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, and our ability to attract and retain talent. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed, including the risks and uncertainties described in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including specifically the Risk Factors described in our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.  You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.  We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.