Korean design house CoAsia plans to hire a minimum of 100 new engineers this year. If executed as planned, CoAsia will secure over 500 semiconductor design engineers. In terms of workforce size alone, it has the potential to become the largest design house in the country.
Seol Byung-chan, Executive Director of CoAsia recently revealed this plan for acquiring design engineers in an interview with TheElec. Seol stated, "To address the talent shortage in the semiconductor industry, CoAsia has introduced a focused training program for new recruits since last year," and explained that the goal through this program is to hire at least 100 new engineers this year.
In relation to this, CoAsia introduced an internal training program called GDEC (Global Design Education Centre) last year to nurture semiconductor design engineers. GDEC is a distinctive talent development program targeted at new recruits. Instead of immediately placing newly hired employees in practical roles, they undergo an intensive one-year semiconductor design education program while receiving a salary. The curriculum encompasses comprehensive education in semiconductor design, ranging from frontend to backend. Participants go through various modules including foundational education, focused training, and job-specific education over the course of about a year, after which they are deployed to practical projects.
Through GDEC's first cohort last year, CoAsia recruited a total of 70 new employees. Among them, 60 completed the program and were assigned to practical tasks. For the second phase of GDEC, CoAsia aims to expand the program and select a minimum of 100 participants. Considering that COASIA's affiliated semiconductor-related companies have around 400 engineers, this is a substantial endeavor.
The reason COASIA has undertaken such bold investments in talent acquisition is to address the persistent issue of workforce shortages in the semiconductor industry. Despite the rapid growth of the semiconductor market and the increasing demand for skilled personnel due to the miniaturization of manufacturing processes, there is a disparity in the availability of a well-equipped workforce training infrastructure to meet this growing demand.
Especially in industries like design houses, such as COASIA, design personnel are the core competitive advantage. Design houses bridge the gap between semiconductor chip design specialists (foundries) and contract manufacturing companies (fabs). As they need to reconfigure the semiconductor design blueprints developed by the foundries into manufacturing-ready blueprints, the role of skilled engineers is crucial.
Unlike traditional manufacturing, design houses allocate a substantial portion of their overall operating expenses to salaries, as they do not require mass production equipment. For instance, GUC (Global Unichip Corporation), a partner of TSMC and one of the world's largest design house companies, invested 82% of its total first-half operating expenses, amounting to 2.06 billion New Taiwan Dollars, in personnel expenses.
On the other hand, major Korean design houses like Samsung Electronics' DSP design house allocate 40-60% of their operating expenses to personnel, which falls short of the industry standard. Therefore, there is a continued emphasis within the industry on expanding workforce investments in design houses and securing external support.
Seol Byung-chan, the Executive Director, mentioned, "Due to the severe shortage of talent in the semiconductor industry, it's necessary to secure as many resources as possible." He further added, "The second phase of the program will be conducted in a new office in Dongtan, Hwaseong, equipped with more extensive facilities."
source: 전자부품 전문 미디어 디일렉(http://www.thelec.kr)