Developing a Semiconductor Talent Pipeline in Southeast Asia

Developing a Semiconductor Talent Pipeline in Southeast Asia

By Kai Fai, Ng, president, SEMI Southeast Asia

Kai Fai NgOne of our biggest challenges is workforce development: How do we continue talent development for the semiconductor industry in a conductive environment to encourage growth?

This problem is not centric to Singapore alone but regionally and globally as well. Malaysia for instance, as recently as two weeks ago, announced that the Semiconductor Fabrication Association of Malaysia (SFAM) and Mimos Bhd, together with TalentCorp launched the Talent Development Programme in a move to overcome the severe shortage of skilled semiconductor engineers in the country.

Semiconductor companies are clearly bullish about the prospect of the industry in the SouthEast Asia region. For instance, NXP Semiconductors recently announced establishing Singapore as its global headquarters for certain functions and a commitment to capex investment over the coming years to Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company Pte. Ltd. (SSMC). Similarly, Panasonic echoed the same sentiment in establishing an R&D centre specialized in encapsulation materials in Singapore.

The question of the continual flow of engineering talents to the semiconductor/electronics sector becomes more and more relevant.

SEMI SouthEast Asia, under the leadership of the SEMI Regional Advisory Board (RAB), has also identified this need for a concerted effort towards focusing talent development as a key driver for   continual growth in the Singapore semiconductor ecosystem.  In 2012, SEMI worked with the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association (SSIA) and EDB and held a Young Talent Outreach Program in the form of a “YouTube” Video Competition. Students were asked to produce a video using the theme of “Impact of Electronics Innovations on the Future.”  Ten schools and 25 teams participated in the video competition (see winning entries here).

This year, RAB member Professor Yoon Soon Fatt of Nanyang Technological University is spearheading the formation of the Talent Development Pipeline Task Force with SSIA.  Working concurrently with SSIA, SEMI seeks to contribute to the effort of developing a flourishing flow of talent pool in Singapore and hopefully translate this model across the region doing the same.  

In conjunction with this initiative, SEMICON Singapore 2014 will offer an enhanced platform for enabling talent acquisition via a SEMI job fair.  In addition, SEMICON Singapore will feature an Education Pavilion to promote engineering as a choice discipline for ITE, JC Level and Polytechnic students.

SEMI will also continue with SEMI High Tech University program to raise awareness of the industry through students’ interaction with top tier semiconductor company CEOs at SEMICON Singapore on 23-25 April 2014.

Let us make a difference together!  Email me at if you would like to get involved.

December 3, 2013