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Finding engineers in a global market is key

Posted: 17 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Renesas? NXP? Freescale? Infineon? engineers?

Talent, the availability and/or lack of it, was seen by all of the panelists as a significant business and technical differentiator, one with a distinct regional flavor.

Satoru Ito, chairman and chief executive of Renasas Technology Corp. said that in the talent department "Japan has a weakness," adding that in the past few years "the talent coming to Japan [from other countries] is decreasing."

Obstacles to attracting talented engineers to Japan include "culture and language challenges" however "we are a global company and we can go out" to recruit the talent we need, adding that Renasas has of late stepped up its hiring and training in places like China, Vietnam, but it's an ongoing issues and "it's always a challenge," Ito said.

NXP's Frans van Houtan noted that countries like India send thousands of engineers to the United States every year, while few make Europe their destination for competitive engineering careers. "There's a risk that Europe will be left behind," van Houten warned, noting "It takes a lot of effort to get an Indian engineer to Europe," adding that this challenge "will limit Europe," and its ability to compete in the global market.

Engineering role in Europe's future economic and national growth is critical, noted Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart, president and CEO of Infineon technology AG. "One engineer can create 10 jobs," he noted, pointing to the declining appeal of engineering and technical professions in Europea phenomenon all too familiar in the United States, commenting "I see this as a big threat looking forward," not just in electronics and semiconductors, but to the entire industrial base" of Europe.

Of perhaps even greater concern in growing and attracting engineering talent to Europe is a purely economic factorcost.

The real question, Michel Mayer, Chairman and CEO of Freescale Semiconductors Inc. observed is "Can we afford them?" adding that cost pressures are steering companies like Freescale to search for talent in places like Romania, Russia.

- Richard Wallace
EE Times Europe

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