17 Jan 2024 -

The hunt for electronics engineers: A Where’s Wally? moment

Finding an experienced electronics engineer is starting to feel like a game of Where’s Wally? They are definitely there, somewhere among the crowd, but increasingly difficult to spot!

(Quick quiz: what is Wally (Waldo) called in the German version? Is it Walter, Holger, or Charlie? Answer at the bottom.)

The electronics industry is now grappling with a double whammy: ongoing semiconductor shortages and a critical lack of skilled engineers.

And it’s serious: Deloitte estimates that the global talent shortage in this field could reach 1.2 million by 2030. This scarcity is causing a domino effect across the electronics industry, with companies struggling to fill open positions and resorting to drastic measures to cope.

“The global semiconductor industry faces a significant talent shortage,” stated Ajit Manocha, president and CEO of SEMI, a global industry association. “This shortage is a major challenge for the industry and impacts our ability to deliver semiconductors that power the products and services we rely on daily.”

Electronics manufacturers are reeling from components and skills shortages, says Electronics Specifier

The immediate impact of this shortage is evident in the growing trend of companies outsourcing critical tasks, or even relocating their operations to regions with a larger pool of skilled engineers.

This talent shortage particularly hard hits the European power electronics industry. The European Power Electronics Association (EPEA) warns that “the lack of skilled workers is one of the biggest challenges facing the European power electronics sector”.

Phil Knott, CEO of the UK Electronics Skills Foundation, echoes this sentiment, stating that it’s a major concern in the UK and “is also limiting the UK’s ability to compete in the global market.”

“We need solutions right now” – A cry from industry

To address this crisis, industry leaders, educational institutions, and government agencies are collaborating on several initiatives to boost the supply of skilled electronics engineers. These efforts include promoting STEM education from an early age, establishing partnerships between industry and academia, and providing training and upskilling opportunities.

King’s College London, for instance, is taking a proactive approach by partnering with industry leader Arm and the UK Electronics Skills Foundation to create a new postgraduate course in semiconductor engineering. This Innovate UK-sponsored alliance will seek to bridge the gap between engineering education and industry expectations.

There’s also a resurgence of free electronics boot camps like that of Tech Lancaster, who offer 12-week Skills Bootcamps in Electronics & Electech across England as part of the UK Government’s Skills for Life programme.

However, while these initiatives are promising, they will take time to bear fruit, and while investments in shaping the future educational system for the semiconductor industry are essential, immediate solutions are also needed. This could involve adopting new technologies, adopting flexible work arrangements to attract semi-retired talent, or simply outsourcing to a firm that can offer the right talent.

Are you struggling to find experienced electronics engineers?

If your team is one of the thousands that are searching for experienced electronics engineers, then you know how difficult it can be to find the right candidates. While outsourcing is no panacea to the engineering skills gap crisis, many companies now recognise that it does provide vital support to help deliver urgent projects. By partnering with a technology provider, companies can get access to the experienced engineers they need, when they need them.

Explore the art of the possible

Astute Electronics is more than an authorised distributor; we are a team of passionate innovators, creators, and problem-solvers. With our combined technical expertise of over 200 years, we are committed to providing exceptional design consultation services and helping you bring tomorrow’s technology to life.

We invite you to “explore the art of the possible” by seeking our expert advice on the latest technologies. Our dedicated engineering team is ready to support you in designing, building, and supplying electronic, electrical, and electromechanical products for a wide range of market sectors, from IIoT, industrial automation, edge computing, and generative AI to military, aerospace, and spaceflight applications.

With our deep expertise in memory, power, passives, discretes, cable assemblies, and a range of innovative products, coupled with direct access to the engineering teams of nearly 100 franchised component manufacturers, we have the knowledge and resources to solve your problems right away. 

Contact us today to book a design consultation and let’s bring your innovative ideas to life.

(Quiz answer: Wo is Walter?)

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