TSMC plans to hire 3,000 people, or about 5% of its current headcount, to support the company’s business growth and technology development.

All of the new hires will be employed in Taiwan, where most of TSMC’s operations are located, the company said in a press statement. Job vacancies include semiconductor equipment engineers, R&D engineers, process engineers, process integration engineers and production line operators.

The plan to increase headcount at the company may be another sign of an upturn in the global semiconductor industry. Demand is so strong that TSMC is preparing to raise its full-year capital expenditure to more than $11 billion, the high end of its target at the beginning of 2019, TSMC said a week ago in its second-quarter results announcement.

TSMC has been winning new business from customers such as Qualcomm and Huawei, according to some analysts.

“Huawei has been moving up the smartphone sales ranking, moving ahead of Apple recently, so there is likely some correlation there,” Mike Demler, a senior analyst with The Linley Group, told EE Times. “Qualcomm also shifted Snapdragon 855 back to TSMC, so the competition with Samsung is dynamic.”

There is little difference in performance and power between the two foundries’ 7nm EUV processes, but TSMC appears to have an edge in density, even though Samsung went directly to that node, skipping a non-EUV version, Demler said.

TSMC expressed confidence that its 5nm technology will have a strong ramp and be a large and long-lasting node.

“In the 5nm, the big players are getting into 5G smartphones very aggressively,” CEO Wei said last week. That comment suggests that TSMC’s largest customer Apple will use 5nm for iPhone processors sometime next year.

Good News, Bad News?
What’s good news for TSMC may still be bad news for its peers.

Chip sales are expected to fall by nearly 10% to $429 billion this year, which would mark the lowest revenue for the industry since 2017, according to Gartner. The forecast is a revision from Gartner’s previous forecast, issued last quarter, which called for chip sales to decline by 3.4% this year.

While TSMC did not provide a schedule for hiring the 3,000 new employees, a report from Taiwan’s official Central News Agency said the people will be brought on board during this year.

After bringing its 7-nm technology to volume production, TSMC is developing 5-nm and 3-nm technology. TSMC plans to ramp 5nm production during the first half of next year.

TSMC said it is recruiting broadly from both experienced professionals and first-time job seekers with backgrounds in electronics, electrical engineering, optoelectronics, mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, industrial engineering and related fields.