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A new problem for chip companies, can’t recruit fresh graduates with an annual salary of 400,000?

In the author’s recent communication with IC industry personnel, there are always three topics that cannot be avoided, namely Huawei, shortage of goods and talents. Regarding Huawei and out of stock, there are various interpretations in many articles observed in the semiconductor industry, and this article will not repeat them. As for the talent issue, this is caused by the rapid development of China’s chip industry in the past few years, the blowout of start-ups and the large-scale influx of funds to integrated circuit companies. In the article “The Golden Age of Chinese Chip Engineers” published by Semiconductor Industry Observation at the beginning of the year, the author described it in detail, and we will not interpret more about this incentive here.

In recent months, major integrated circuit companies have launched school recruitment. According to what the author heard from relevant sources, the chip-related graduates in this graduation season are extremely popular, and many outstanding graduates are holding 10 offers and are up for sale. Some HR is even more blunt. Judging from the current school recruitment situation, I need to spend at least 400,000 to win an outstanding freshman, but this is not a sure thing.

Does this mean that Chinese chip practitioners have really entered a “seller’s market”? Can this level of attention attract more students to the integrated circuit industry? And then alleviate the talent problem that plagues my country’s integrated circuit industry?

With these questions in mind, the author communicated with graduates of integrated circuits, HR of chip companies and teachers of microelectronics to explore the reasons behind it.

  Things really got better

First of all, we must admit that experienced chip engineers are indeed in short supply in the market right now. In order to obtain suitable talents, integrated circuit companies are quite generous. This makes it not uncommon for a chip engineer to double his salary after switching jobs a few times. The increasingly high cost of talent and the reality that there is no way to hire people without money has made companies, especially small companies, begin to feel increasingly heavy pressure. This also allowed the pressure to be transmitted to this year’s school recruitment.

According to the HR of a chip company, it was revealed to the author that even in campus recruitment, the recruitment of chip companies is not as easy as imagined.

The HR pointed out that many of the companies that now send offers to students have not paid them for the time being. Because they are worried that the treatment given is too low, and they will not be able to recruit the people they like. And if it is too high, it is afraid of increasing the cost of the enterprise. It has become one of the “weird images” of this year’s fresh graduate recruitment. The HR also said that those outstanding students have taken many offers, which makes them have higher requirements for work, treatment and equity. Even if the company is satisfied one by one and has signed a third party with it, it cannot rest easy. Because when fresh graduates meet a more attractive employer, they will try their best to break the contract.

From this point of view, it seems that the current graduates of chip-related majors really do not have to worry about work? However, in the view of chip-related graduates from a certain university, the market is not as good as expected. “Precisely because integrated circuits have improved, competition has become more and more intense,” he stressed.

He further pointed out that with the gradual improvement of the “market” of the IC industry in the past two years, the phenomenon of switching to other industries from studying IC-related majors, especially IC design, has been greatly reduced. On the contrary, there are more and more jobs from other engineering subjects to IC design, especially the number of people who switch to digital design. According to the statistics of this year’s situation by the relevant public account, the digital design is two to three times the number of verifications, which is very “volume”.

“But it’s also a ‘pony crossing the river’ story. In fact, 10% of the people will still get 90% of the early approval offers, which is also the legend that some people hold 10 or even 20 offers. But in fact, only some students who have a good foundation and have actually engaged in related projects during their postgraduate studies can reach this level. Many of them only have preliminary IC design experience, self-study entry or training courses to change careers, in fact, the employment situation is not very ideal. .” The student continued.

In the view of this classmate, with the improvement of school recruitment treatment in the industry, the competition has become fiercer to the naked eye. But in fact, the real “classes” did not increase much, only the resumes were greatly increased. In addition, due to the current graduate training system, it is impossible to cultivate talents in the field of verification, so many people looking for jobs in the field of verification gain experience through training courses. Although some of these training programs are well planned, they are “quick” after all. These items are too stylized, and the interviewer may experience some aesthetic fatigue.

When it comes to treatment, at least in the eyes of this fresh student interviewed by the author, the situation is not as good as everyone seems to think.

According to him, judging from this year’s IC school recruitment, both digital and analog engineering have increased slightly compared with last year, but the increase is not large. Basically, they are 40w+ in first-tier cities, and 35w+ in new first-tier cities. He also pointed out that, unlike previous years, some small companies took the lead in bidding this year and wanted to grab more talents. While some large companies are still on the sidelines, they may still want to observe the market conditions again, and then use their own advantages to accurately harvest a wave.

“It is estimated that after the salary increase in previous years, major companies also have doubts about whether to continue to ‘raise’.” The classmate added.

He re-emphasized that although there are many fresh graduates who want to enter the chip industry, most of the new recruits are still from other engineering majors, and there are not many who can really be “admired” by the recruiting unit. This is equivalent to sending 90% of the offers to 10% of the people. If the follow-up company cannot continue to raise wages, probably the company can only recruit talents through “soft indicators” such as work atmosphere and leadership attitude.

  Talent shortage is the main reason

In an interview with Semiconductor Industry Observation, Huang Letian, an associate professor at the School of Demonstration Microelectronics of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, said that for a long time, the “talent shortage” in the integrated circuit field seems to be a long-term topic, with an annual “shortage of 300,000”. But in fact, in recent years, in the job market for fresh graduates, the “two layers of ice and fire” have become more and more obvious, and the “structural contradiction” of recruitment has also become increasingly prominent. Its essence is that there are too few “quality fresh graduates” in the market.

“Although recently, national ministries and small training institutions have been worrying about increasing the “supply” of IC talents, but changes cannot be accomplished overnight. Especially in universities and other “system” training units in the training mode, enrollment The effective increase of “supply” reforms such as mechanisms requires a long and long process. The current increase in talent supply mainly depends on various training institutions. Regardless of the quality of training institutions, their own positioning determines that it is difficult to carry out long-term, Systematic education. Due to the high complexity of chip design, the basic quality and knowledge structure of practitioners are required to be high, and it is unrealistic to rely on 3-6 months of surprise training to obtain high-quality talents. “Professor Huang further pointed out. “Short-term study can really only play the role of “getting started”. Without systematic study and sufficient accumulation, it is difficult to be competent for complex and challenging work.”

When asked whether the “integrated circuit has become a first-level discipline”, which has been talked about many times in the past year, can solve the talent problem. Mr. Huang responded: “Actually, I have always emphasized that establishing a first-level discipline of integrated circuit science and engineering is the most direct method under the current graduate system and management system in my country, but it is not the final solution, nor the best solution. The final solution to the problem of talent training still has to rely on a more comprehensive and in-depth reform of the system and training model.”

He mentioned, for example, that our postgraduate training is still a scientific research-oriented training model of “master leading apprentices”. There are many problems in this model, which lead to the mismatch between talent training and market demand, and the misalignment of students’ learning expectations and employment expectations. From the perspective of “supply” in the final talent market, the efficiency is relatively low.

However, in his view, in fact, many students are not suitable for the scientific research-oriented training model in terms of interest, ability or even personality, because scientific research actually has certain requirements on people’s various qualities and mental states. However, if they really have two years to master the relevant basic knowledge by taking necessary courses, and then do 3-4 “big assignments” that take about 2 months to complete + half a year of corporate internships, I believe they can still train a batch of them. Approval of IC design talents. But the latter training model is essentially “missing” in our country.

“This teaching-centered training model for advanced applied talents has been proven to be an effective training model in the European and American academic systems, and should be applicable to most engineering disciplines (if you don’t know other disciplines, it’s hard to talk nonsense) ). But this kind of reform requires a lot of courage and a very strict plan.” Mr. Huang added. “At present, only very few schools in China have implemented “true tutor-free application-oriented” master’s training in very few majors. In the short term, there is no sign of large-scale promotion of this model.”

  Supply and demand need to change

In the opinion of the HR interviewed above, after experiencing recruitment in the past few years, she herself believes that if they want to recruit more talents, integrated circuit companies need to change their thinking in building company brands. And from the author’s point of view, this is indeed the case.

Comparing domestic and foreign chip start-ups, we can clearly see that foreign companies are better than domestic companies in terms of branding and product promotion. On the one hand, it may be related to the fact that most of their entrepreneurs were executives of large companies before, and they saw and learned from the original company’s publicity; on the other hand, it may be related to their recognition of brand value. related to high.

But when it comes to domestic enterprises, there are relatively many. In the past, one of the truths they agreed with more was that the traditional Chinese “make a fortune in silence”, relying on the market team to work hard at the front end, as for the brand, they did not pay so much attention. This was not a big problem in a less competitive environment in the past. But now, both on the client side and on the talent recruitment side, they have brought strong challenges to them.

The HR mentioned above once said a sentence when communicating with the author, that is, “Huawei and HiSilicon have a strong appeal in recruiting fresh graduates”, which is evidence of the influence of “brand”.

“Employer branding needs to be built as early as possible, try to establish a certain influence in the relevant departments of the school when the students are still in the second year of graduate school, and identify candidates in advance. Then enterprises need to penetrate through various cooperation. Starting a chip company is also a big challenge,” the HR added.

Mr. Huang Letian also pointed out that with the continuous investment in IC, the demand for talents will still further increase, but it is difficult to increase the real high-quality supply rapidly in a short period of time. The phenomenon of obvious salary increases in the IC industry has attracted other majors to “change careers”. The current peculiar phenomenon of “talent shortage” and “resume explosion” will continue for a long time. HR and other departments of major companies should correctly understand the essence behind things, and have reasonable expectations for the true state and level of the graduates. In this way, positions and salaries can be more accurately classified and matched, and guidance is provided when recruiting. He further emphasized, “At this stage, the company’s work needs to be a little more detailed, and for these students who have changed careers, we must find a way to “make the best use of their talents.” Only when these talents are really used can the increment of talents be done. exclusion is not desirable.”

In the face of fresh graduates (that is, the supply side) who want to find employment in integrated circuit companies, Mr. Huang also gave his advice.

Mr. Huang said that employment in integrated circuit companies has not been a very mainstream choice for a long time. Due to the high difficulty of learning, long accumulation time, and the need to master various knowledge, but the salary has not been high, employment in integrated circuit companies has been regarded as “cost-effective” for many years in the past. Especially in the first few years of the rapid development of the mobile Internet, this is even more true in the Internet and other industries with high salaries and relatively easy “entry”. Therefore, this has also led to a large loss of talents in the integrated circuit industry in the past few years.

“Fresh graduates should realize that the current increase in industry salaries does not mean a reduction in learning difficulty or a reduction in entry barriers. Due to the long iteration cycle, the one-time hard cost of tape-out, it is almost irreparable after manufacturing. The existence of other objective factors determines that the integrated circuit industry is an industry with a very low tolerance for errors. This in turn requires that the ability and quality of practitioners cannot be too low, in other words, this industry is not so easy to “enter” .” Teacher Huang emphasized.

For this reason, Mr. Huang said bluntly that students should be cautious when choosing the industry of integrated circuits, and do not blindly flood in because there is a lot of room for improvement in today’s industry salaries. Especially if you “forcefully” change careers when you don’t have both internal and external conditions, you may feel “deceived” when recruiting at school. Even if it is lucky enough to cross the threshold of school recruitment, there will be bottlenecks in later career development. “It is still necessary to make a more comprehensive” career plan with a long-term perspective.


Due to the impact of covid-19 and geopolitics, in the past year, in addition to mainland China, countries and regions, including the United States, Europe, Japan, and South Korea, have held high the banner of independence and control, and have increased investment in the development of the integrated circuit industry. Taiwan, China, as a major global integrated circuit production center, plays an important role in the upcoming wave of chip expansion.

In other words, the shortage of chip talent will become a global problem in the next few years. This is also the issue that has recently attracted great attention from mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan, China, and these regions have paid more attention to the issue of integrated circuit talents. For mainland China, where the industry is relatively backward, solving the talent problem is undoubtedly an extremely difficult, but a battle that promises victory but not defeat on the road to developing the integrated circuit industry.

But as said at the beginning of the article, under the current disorderly competition of chip companies, the cost of talents has been rising all the way. This is also the reason why several chip industry HRs have always said, “We can’t afford to mix this school recruitment, let the rich masters fight for it” when communicating with the author. I don’t know how much anger, how much resentment, and how much sadness in this sentence.

For this reason, the author believes that how to solve the problems of talent, salary and follow-up operations under the current situation for chip companies in mainland China, especially small chip companies, will be an inconsistency proposed to them by the entire Chinese integrated circuit industry and the capital community. Easy-to-solve puzzles. Whether it can pass the test of this difficult problem may be a watershed for many chip companies to grow and develop.