TSMC Receives 13k Job Applications For U.S. Chip Plant – Is An Expansion In Play?

TSMC Arizona Fab Entrance Render
TSMC's render of its Arizona fab shared during its tech symposium last year. Image: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company

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The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) plans to build a chip manufacturing facility in Arizona might have more to them than meets the eye. Taking stock of TSMC's public announcements, the fab will invest $12 billion in Arizona over the course of the next few years, with the facility set to produce semiconductors on the 5nm process node in 2024.

However, several rumors have hinted that TSMC is considering going beyond the initial scope of its announcements. Now, job applications for the seventeen posts open for TSMC's Arizona hint that perhaps something larger might be afoot, a fact that bolstered by the company hiring a decades-old Intel Corporation human resources and recruiting veteran for the Arizona plant at the start of this year.

TSMC's Acceptance Rate To Beat Harvard If Public Statements Hold

The first rumors of TSMC's management considering expanding its Arizona plans surfaced in February when Taiwanese sources reported that the fab offered financial incentives to its employees in the country for working in the Arizona foundry. These sources also claimed that TSMC's plant expansion consideration involved increasing its footprint to include six factories to bump its publicly outlined output of 20,000 wafers/month five times to 100,000 wafers/month.

To boost these rumors, when we look at the number of job applications that TSMC has received for its Arizona plant openings and assume highly conservative acceptance rates, then it appears that we've found another potential link for the narrative that it might expand the facility's manufacturing footprint.

A cursory look at the facility's job openings reveals that seventeen positions are open for applications right now. Opening them up redirects us to their Linkedin pages, where data gathered from the job application site reveals that for all engineering positions, a total of 13,166 applications have been submitted to the platform.

Applications for the role of a process integration engineer responsible for fine-tuning TSMC's manufacturing process and working with its customers reveals that 2,340 applicants have applied for the role as of yesterday. Image: LinkedIn

Publicly, TSMC has revealed that it plans to recruit 300 engineers for its entry-level positions in the U.S. plant. Assuming that the company does not expand the Arizona facility and ends up hiring only 300 engineers from the thirteen thousand applications submitted reveals that the fab's acceptance rate would stand at 2.2%. This implies that it is more selective than Harvard University, even though the comparison is ill merited.

Additionally, our analysis also does not factor in the fact that some applicants should have applied for more than one position. Assuming that a third of all applicants have done so puts the actual number of people applying for positions at TSMC at 8,777. Should the company hire only three hundred from these, its new acceptance rate turns out to be 3.4%, which is still lower than Harvard's 5.2% rate this year.

Another event that adds to the narrative that perhaps something larger is afoot in Arizona is the fact that Intel's former Technology Manufacturing Human Resources Director, Mr. Benjamin Miller, joined TSMC in January this year. At Intel, Mr. Miller spent more than 25 years and started from managing teams made up of 12 employees to manage all of Intel's human resources professionals globally for technology manufacturing. Mr. Mill is now TSMC's head of human resources, and perhaps he too is motivated by the vast number of employees under his charge once the Arizona fab kicks off production in 2024.

All in all, unless TSMC officially confirms that it will expand production at the Arizona plant, everything suggesting so is speculation. The fab's primary motivation in doing so will be its customer demands, as its chief executive officer, Dr. C.C. Wei, highlighted the rationale behind expanding a Chinese fab during its latest earnings call earlier this year. With the United States Government seemingly going 'all-in' to boost homeland chip production, there is plenty of incentive for TSMC to make the shift already.

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