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There’s a growing demand for STEM professionals as fewer people are entering the industries. And across the world, the engineering shortage is becoming increasingly evident. We spoke with Elsa Naughton, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Progressive, to find out more.

What does the engineering shortage look like?

In the UK, it’s estimated the engineering industry will need 1.8 million new engineers by 2025. The current skills shortage is being faced across all levels and many feel it’s only going to get worse.

Although the lack of new talent is industry-wide, one area that’s facing a significant demand is microelectronics engineers – one of Elsa’s areas of specialism. As she explains, “People aren’t coming from university so there aren’t enough people coming into the industry. It’s leading to a high demand, particularly in the UK and Europe.”

And when it comes to roles that are in particularly high demand, Elsa reveals there are a few that stand out – including layout and verification roles. So contractors with a wealth of experience in these roles are able to command a very highly paid salary.

Microelectronic engineering skills most
in demand

More semi-conductor companies are looking to use 7 nanometer chips, moving away from the 40 and 28 chips that are more commonly used at the moment. Although the processes might not necessarily change, depending on the size of the chips, it could be advantageous to have had experience working on 7 nanometer chips.

This is relevant for the architect that decides how it looks, the designer who designs the various components that need to be on the chip, and the layout engineer who decides where everything sits in terms of power.

There are a number of languages used in engineering, including Specman, ASIC, SystemVerilog and UVM languages. Specman originated in Intel and is still being used, despite being considered an ‘old language’. This perhaps explains why organisations are so keen to find people that are able to understand it, as well as SystemVerilog. Those with this ability are harder to find, making them able to demand a higher rate.

The effect on the engineering industry

According to Times Higher Education, “to maintain the pace of innovation and invention in these fields, there is an unprecedented demand for higher educated and commercially aware engineers with the knowledge and flexibility to adapt to more multidisciplinary modes of working.”

The high demand has resulted in a candidate led industry. “With a wealth of opportunity out there, candidates are in a position to demand higher salaries and, in some cases, better benefits,” explains Elsa.

Two thirds of companies that took part in a recent survey by MIDAS Ireland revealed they had “awarded salary increases to staff over the past year.” This demonstrates that businesses have an understanding and awareness of the skills shortage and are keen to retain skilled employees when they hire them.

Here at Progressive, we have teams of consultants, just like Elsa, across the world who are ready to place the right people in the right role. If you’re looking to hire microelectronics engineers or are considering changing jobs, contact us today and find out how we can help.