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How does Rise of Far Right Hinder German Semiconductor Ambitions

Introduction:

In recent years, the global semiconductor industry has witnessed significant growth. This is driven by the increasing demand for advanced technology in various sectors. Consequently, Germany’s Semiconductor Industry with its established industrial base and strategic location, has become a focal point for major players which has found its first obstacle from German Far right Opposition.

  • Germany’s Semiconductor Boom: Eastern Germany is experiencing a surge in investment from semiconductor giants like Infineon and Intel. This promises economic growth and technological advancement.
  • Talent Gap: The industry lacks sufficient skilled workers domestically. Estimates suggest a need for 25,000 new hires by 2030 due to a shrinking workforce.
  • Immigration as a Solution: Attracting international talent is crucial to fill the gap and sustain growth.
  • Far-Right Opposition: Anti-immigration stances of far-right groups, like the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, could deter potential foreign recruits.

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The Semiconductor Boom in Germany:

Infineon Technologies AG group is set to establish a new factory in eastern Germany with an investment of 5 billion euros (US$5.4 billion), and it’s not the only one making such moves.

With substantial government subsidies, US chipmaker Intel Corp is also eyeing a plant in Magdeburg. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) plans to establish its presence in Dresden. This development is taking place in Saxony, which already boasts the largest cluster of chipmakers in Europe.

Saxony_germany

Silicon in Saxony

This surge in investment stems from a desire to reduce dependency on Asian chip production. This includes addressing supply chain vulnerabilities, and promote localized manufacturing.

Read More:Intel Fab in Germany Will be the Most Advanced Fab in the world with 1.5 nm Node – techovedas

The Growing Talent Gap:

Despite the economic potential, the semiconductor industry in Saxony faces a critical challenge: a looming talent gap.

As companies like Infineon AG warn of the business risks associated with the AfD’s policies, the broader economic impact becomes evident. Furthermore, a lack of suitable workers is identified as a major challenge for Germany’s industrial sector.

Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, highlights the need for an additional 5 million workers by 2030 to meet industry demands.

Chipmakers in Saxony are to have 25,000 jobs to fill by 2030. This is particularly in contrast with the local working-age population, which is to shrink by 300,000, the group estimates.

“There are too few young people in the region. We need immigration.”

~Frank Boesenberg, head of regional industry lobby group Silicon Saxony.

In response to the talent shortage, Infineon is actively seeking foreign workers as a vital “building block” to achieve its hiring targets. Additionally, the company’s human resources head, Tom Geyer, emphasizes the importance of diversity within the workforce.

The Talent Shortfall:

  • Shrinking Workforce: Germany’s aging population means there aren’t enough young people entering the workforce to fill the semiconductor industry’s needs.
  • Specialized Skills: This industry demands highly specialized skills in areas like chip design, fabrication, and manufacturing.
  • Global Competition: The need for skilled workers isn’t unique to Germany. The global chip shortage highlights the fierce competition for talent across the world.

In response, industry leaders stress the urgent need for immigration to fill this gap.

Read More: What are Major Semiconductor Companies in Europe

The German Far right Opposition Dilemma:

The far-right AfD party, however, holds anti-immigration views that may deter potential recruits, causing concern among industry players.

The Far-Right Challenge:

  • Anti-Immigration Stance: The rise of far-right parties like AfD promotes policies that restrict immigration, making Germany a less attractive destination for foreign workers.
  • Negative Perception: Far-right rhetoric can paint a negative picture of Germany, deterring potential immigrants concerned about social integration or cultural acceptance.

The AfD’s political success in Saxony, where it is polling over 30 percent ahead of upcoming elections, could jeopardize the industry’s growth potential.

“A policy of isolation is a threat to prosperity,”

~Infineon CEO Jochen Hanebeck

This dilemma raises questions about the delicate balance between political ideology and economic development.

According to a survey conducted by the IW Koeln think tank, approximately 68 percent of German managers express concerns that the country’s appeal to foreign workers might diminish if the far-right were to gain traction.

Read More:How did Samsung Beat TSMC to Secure 2nm Deal with Leading AI Firm in Japan – techovedas

Potential Solutions :

  • Focus on STEM Education: Encouraging younger generations to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education can create a domestic talent pipeline for the future.
  • Skilled Worker Visas: Streamlining the visa process for skilled immigrants can make Germany more competitive in attracting talent.
  • Integration Programs: Offering language courses, cultural integration programs, and support networks can help foreign workers feel welcome and adjust to life in Germany.
  • Countering Far-Right Narratives: Addressing the concerns behind far-right movements and promoting the benefits of immigration can help create a more welcoming environment.

Conclusion:

The intersection of politics, immigration, and economic growth in the semiconductor industry highlights the challenges faced by Germany’s chipmakers. Additionally, as the German far right AfD gains traction, the delicate balance between political ideologies and the economic imperative becomes a critical factor for the industry’s success. Navigating this complex landscape will require collaboration between industry leaders, policymakers, and the public. Ultimately, ensuring sustained growth, innovation, and competitiveness in the global semiconductor market.

Reference: Taipei Times

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