No official data has been released about how many Japanese semiconductor
engineers have already left their employers and are currently working
at non-Japanese companies in South Korea, Taiwan or in China. Some suspect
that there are many. These are Japanese engineers who cut their teeth
and honed their skills in semiconductor manufacturing processes at their Japanese employers.
GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8 initiative is
looking particularly timely today, even though counting on ex-Renesas
engineers probably wasn’t the foundry’s original intention.
Renesas employees’ expectations for the company and its management have
sunk to all-time low. More than 7,511 employees last September applied
to the early retirement program, for which Renesas had originally
expected around 5,000 applicants. The unexpectedly high number was
widely reported in Japan then as an early warning sign of an exodus at
According to a survey about the company’s future,
conducted by Renesas’ "unofficial" group consisting of the company's current and former employees, 46 percent of the group responded: “Renesas will collapse within the next few years.”
Thirty-two percent said, “Renesas will gradually deteriorate.” Those who
predicted a slow recovery of the company was limited to 6 percent.
asked what is most needed for Renesas’ recovery, the answer that got
the most responses – 39 percent – was: “Better management.”
However, the survey sample had only 75 responses, according to a Renesas spokesman.
"No official data has been released about how many Japanese semiconductor engineers have already left their employers and are currently working at non-Japanese companies in South Korea, Taiwan or in China. Some suspect that there are many."
I would love to see the data if any. But I suspect there arent many. Over the past few years I guess atleast 100K people would have been displaced from their jobs in semi/CE sector. The few 100's hired by GloFo is probably only a very small % of the displaced workers. In addition,based on my experience of working for a semi company in Japan, most semi engineers doesnt speak English, which is also a major hurdle for relocation.
You are absolutely right. If you're talking about percentage, it's probably negligible.
But think about Major League Baseball. 20 years ago, only Nomo and a few other Japanese players were playing in the US. It's still a small percentage but more Japanese ball players are visible in the US today.
Unlike Chinese, Japanese never had a diaspora. But you may start seeing more skilled Japanese semi professionals soon outside Japan.
It is not technically true that there is no Japanese diaspora in the US. I think what you mean is "there is no established Japanese community" in most US cities.
"The Japanese diaspora has been unique in the absence of new emigration flows in the second half of the 20th century"
iniewski, that's a good question. The rumor I heard, but not confirmed, is that if you are a professional engineer currently paid $100K, you get $100K for retirement money + $200K as an incentive for early retirement.
That, indeed, ain't bad at all.
And that lasts how long, given costs of living in Japan?
It's not bad if you have decent prospects of finding another job. With the semi industry shrinking in Japan, finding another job may require relocating. But relocating where?
Will places like Taiwan and Korea have openings for displaced Japanese engineers (especially since they have their own pool of engineering talent, and will give preference to a local)?
I think a lot of these folks just won't *get* new jobs.
"These engineers are getting prepped to be sent to New York as an initial batch, with as many as another 100 to 200 to follow, the source said."
Sounds almost like we're talking about products instead of people.
@Junko & @iniewski: I have mixed feelings about this outcome of a country losing its well-experienced and competent workforce to globalization.
If Renesas were to be a pure digital play chip company, I would have said may be it is for the good since the number of fabs / IDM's at advanced technology nodes are rapidly shrinking to a handful (soon we will be counting with one hand the fabs /IDM's for 14nm and beyond!). But this wasn't the case -Renesas has / had many analog and mixed signal products, products that don't need the latest nm node. There is plenty of innovation left in these. It also boggles me that Renesas never made serious attempts to play in MEMS market where much of the talented workforce could have been re-purposed.
From the perspective of globalized economy, repercussions from workforce exodus is not exactly a zero sum game, though GloFlo stands to gain but that is not linear. Moreover, there are ample examples of macroeconomic ecosystems stemming from expats' money flow that spurs different industries and opportunities. In this regard, Japan has a lot to learn from countries like India where workers of migrated overseas in all cadres yet stimulate a vibrant economy back home.
I think it would be tough for a Japanese engineer to relocate to a GF fab in upstate New York. There is no established Japanese communinity in that area. Non-English speaking spouses would be socially isolated and unemployable. There are no Japanese schools. Due to the reliance of Japanese education on high-stakes testing, a Japanese kid who goes to an American school will be behind when returning to Japan. It is possible but difficult to live on a Japanese diet in the US, and it would be more difficult in upstate NY. As much as the Japanese economy has deteriorated, I think Japan still has a higher standard of living than Taiwan or South Korea. I would guess that the fraction of Japanese engineers with sufficient English proficiency to work in the US to be 50% or less. I think it is very unlikely that there will be a flood of engineers from Japan even as grim as things are.
@joshxdr: what you bring up as difficulties for Japanese professionals to move overseas are the same ones that other Asian ethnicity went thru when migrating to US/EU destinations. The gist of my message above is that in today's globalized economy, the opportunities will not always be in one's home turf! It would seem that the Japanese have more reluctance to accept this -could be reluctance, anxiety of assimilating/adapting to culture that is foreign to them, etc.
It is never too late to start a 'Little Tokyo' in upstate NY!
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.