Samsung keeps hoarding engineers in post-COVID world


Last updated: September 8th, 2021 at 11:55 UTC+02:00

As the global economy keeps struggling to recover from the still-ongoing pandemic, most tech companies are finding it difficult to reinforce their engineering ranks. Especially in the Far East. And particularly if their name doesn’t start with “Samsung”.

A new report out of South Korea claims Samsung has pretty much been eating all qualified engineering talent in the country. Its chip business, alone, ramped up hiring by adding thousands of new employees to its ranks within the last 18 months.

Samsung’s rivals are getting desperate, and desperation is expensive

Today, Samsung Electronics Device Solutions has a headcount north of 60,000. That’s a 10% annual increase, and one that isn’t ending just yet. At least not if the company’s own officials are to be believed. Samsung Group Chairman, Lee Jae-yong himself, said as much around this time last year. Back when he was still Vice Chairman and the chaebol was mounting another AI hiring spree.

And as this spree is showing no end in sight, some companies are resorting to desperate measures. Like acquiring talent through mergers and acquisitions, which is by far the most expensive and unreliable way to do so. Unreliable because human resources tend to have a high turnover under any new management, both in tech and beyond. And expensive because these are $200,000-a-year positions we’re talking about. And that’s on the lower end of the spectrum, as far as semiconductor designers with ten years of experience are concerned.

Some companies in the Far East are already at a point that they see no other option but to overpay for a volatile talent pool. ADTechnology is one such stakeholder which acquired three entities employing 450 engineers in total since 2020, TheElec reports.

Taiwan, Vietnam, and China have all started bleeding talent due to this increased demand from South Korea. And if this year’s chip shortage is any indication, we might very well be looking at the start of a larger trend. One threatening to bleed everyone’s pockets – bar Samsung’s.

Business South Korea
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