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Cerebrus CEO forecasts shortage of IT engineers

Posted: 11 Jan 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:VLSI Conference  design operations  semiconductor  breakfast session  Anita Ramachandran 

Ramachandran forecasts a shortage of engineers for the information technology sector, of around 30 per cent during the next two years.

Semiconductor companies looking to expand design operations in India will be severely tested during the next two years, by the widening gap between supply and demand of engineers.

In her breakfast session talk Wednesday (Jan. 10) at the VLSI Conference 2007, Cerebrus CEO Anita Ramachandran forecasted a shortage of engineers for the information technology sector, of around 30 per cent during the next two years. She cautioned the 50-strong audience of semiconductor industry leaders that the impact of this situation will probably worsen during the coming two or three years. And, the full impact of the current industry efforts to address the situation is likely to be felt only after three or four years.

The competition for generic engineering talent is growing in India, which is likely to adversely impact the availability of engineers for semiconductor design. Currently, besides IT services, the automotive and instrumentation sectors have a growing requirement of engineers.

There is also a strong demand for engineers from the financial services sector for business analytics, economic modelling, where the key requirement is high numeric processing skills. As this sector has the capacity to pay far higher compensation levels, it is able attract high-end engineering talent from the leading engineering institutes in India.

In Ramachandran's view, the imperatives for the semiconductor industry are threefold, in order to attract and retain talent—build a brand of semiconductor technology as a career; differentiate the industry from the IT services sector in terms of content of work, career growth opportunities, and career enhancement options and highlight the financial rewards of a career in semiconductor technology.

To ensure growth in talent supply, the industry will need to come up with radical ways to bridge the shortage of engineering faculty. She suggested that the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) initiate a discussion with the government, to certify semiconductor design centres in industry as academic centres. Lead engineers in the centres could be certified as faculty, and their services could then be made available for VLSI training.

Ramachandran then asked the industry leaders, whether they were valuing technical skills appropriately. She pointed out that the industry would need to recalibrate its compensation package for engineers. Drawing a comparison between fresh MBA professionals and high-end engineers to make her point, she said that the compensation levels of the former were four to five times that of the latter.

- Krishnan Sivaramakrishnan
  EE Times India

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