TSMC’s U.S. Fab Has “Military” Culture Vents Employee 

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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An employee working for the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in the company's facility in Arizona took to the social media platform Glassdoor to voice his concerns about working at the company. TSMC is currently building its largest American facility in the state, as the firm works with the government to expand its manufacturing presence and reduce supply chain uncertainty from geopolitics in the South China sea. The employee, who described his role as a senior engineer, highlighted that while his salary was above the industry average, other conditions in the Arizonian plant left him wishing for more.

His review on Glassdoor was the only one directly mentioning the Arizona facility, with other reviews coming from either anonymous workers or those in other TSMC offices such as the ones in California.

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Soon after TSMC announced its plans for the Arizona plant, the company's founder Mr. Morris Chang outlined at several different events that the cultural gap between America and Taiwan will lead to one problem that his company might have to encounter as part of its push into North America. For instance, at a keynote speech that Mr. Chang gave in Taiwan last year, he stated that not only does TSMC in Taiwan provide better commuting facilities to its employees, but that workers in his home country are more hardworking when compared to their American counterparts.

As we reported back then:

Commenting on this, Mr. Chang believes that TSMC's greatest strength is Taiwan. He believes that Taiwanese engineers are more professional when compared to their American counterparts, going as far as to state that, "No one in the United States is as dedicated to their work as in Taiwan."

A screen grab of the review from Glassdoor. Image: T S M C, North America, Glassdoor

This cultural difference seems to have impacted at least one TSMC Arizona employee, who chose Glassdoor to vent out his grievances. According to his post, the engineer shared that while TSMC pays above the industry baseline since the number of hours worked is large, this might end up negating the effect of the higher pay.

Additionally, he went on to claim that his supervisor was a micromanager, with the overall environment at the company making him feel that feedback was not appreciated. Furthermore, the employee also felt that taking vacations at his company was discouraged since they would affect performance reviews.

Finally, his suggestions to management came as follows as it advised them to focus on hiring locally:

Advice to Management

TSMC is building a fab in USA but 95% managers are from Taiwan local. All of them have been influenced by military-like culture for more than 10 years. Most of them refuse to adopt US culture because that is not how they got to their high level position. Will need more US managers to build fusion culture

Other reviews for TSMC's operations in the U.S. were not negative, with several praising the company for the perks and privileges that it offers and a friendly working environment with coworkers. One review praised the company's "integrity" and shared that not only does it provide excellent growth opportunities, but also a chance to work with different fields in semiconductor fabrication.

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Most of the negatives listed involved rigid management and long working hours, and the positives included praise for coworkers, TSMC's crucial role in contract chip manufacturing, job stability and a great learning environment.

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