Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer, is facing challenges in hiring American workers due to its tough corporate culture. According to reviews on Glassdoor, current and former employees complain about grueling working conditions, long hours, and a lack of work-life balance. This has resulted in a low approval rating for TSMC’s U.S. operations on Glassdoor, making it difficult for the company to hire enough employees for its new Arizona plants. The Arizona plants are part of the U.S.’s $52 billion CHIPS Act, aimed at reshoring the semiconductor industry.

TSMC plans to invest $40 billion in building two semiconductor foundries in Arizona, seen as a game-changer in shifting critical chip supply chains back to the U.S. However, the company’s strict work culture and training requirements are turning off American employees and job candidates. TSMC prefers candidates with Ph.D. and master’s degrees, which some argue is unnecessarily high, considering the shortage of hardware-focused STEM graduates in the U.S. The company’s lower pay compared to rivals like Intel is also a concern for potential employees.

Another challenge is the requirement for new U.S.-based hires to undergo months of training in Taiwan. This overseas training, ranging from 12 to 18 months, is uncommon among TSMC’s rivals in the U.S. and has been a recruiting challenge. Some candidates were unwilling to go to Taiwan due to family strain, concerns about COVID-19, or geopolitical tensions. There have also been cultural clashes between American trainees and veteran staff in Taiwan.

To address these issues, TSMC has increased salaries globally by 20% in 2021 and is making efforts to improve work conditions and communication channels. The company is also upgrading its training facilities in Arizona to reduce the need for overseas training. However, attracting the large numbers of skilled workers needed remains a significant challenge, and TSMC must focus on developing a culture that appeals to employees and encourages them to stay.

TSMC’s decision to expand production in the U.S. faces economic challenges, such as higher production costs compared to Taiwan. However, the geopolitical value of the plan, both to the U.S. and Taiwan, in the event of a conflict with China, makes it crucial to its success.

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