The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 has been signed into law, which is good news for America! There is a lot to like in this bill, and contrary to some headlines, it’s not just good for the tech industry. No bill is perfect, but the CHIPS Act invests in scientific and technological innovation and advancement that will help the U.S. remain competitive in key industries for years to come. The ubiquitous use of chip technology across other industries will create a positive economic ripple effect; some even predict the potential for a startup boom. It will also create jobs, immediately and in the long term.
These are all great reasons to celebrate and to start planning—and not just if you are building a chip manufacturing facility. We’re all going to feel the aftershocks when it comes to hiring. There will absolutely be added competition to hire engineers, technicians, product and project managers, and IT professionals; and the competition for this talent is already fierce. Industries directly targeted in the bill will face the most competition, but the pressure for talent will seep into every industry. Hiring is ATR’s business, so we’ve been following the bill’s progress and preparing for the future. Here are three things that employers can focus on to help mitigate the effects.
Ensuring your current employees are happy in a hyper-competitive hiring landscape is always a good strategy. It’s your best defense against poaching as well as for preventing your people from looking for another opportunity themselves. You can start by reviewing compensation, since companies that are directly or indirectly influenced by the bill will likely raise their employees’ salaries. If you aren’t in line with the marketplace, it will be a weakness for both retention and hiring.
Don’t overlook the other things that matter to professionals, though. Surveys consistently show people want to do meaningful work, to feel respected and appreciated at their job, and to work for companies that run ethically and act responsibly. Are you that company? If not, take steps to become one. Do your employees feel that you are capable or running such a company? Survey them to find out and address areas for improvement revealed by the results. Finally, remote and hybrid work options are incredibly important to many workers. If your employees want these options, aligning your policies as needed will help retain critical people.
Communicating Your Company’s Story
If you want to attract the best talent, you need to sell the idea of your company. Why does someone want to work there? What makes your company special or an employee’s job important? Communicating this to prospective employees is the key to getting them to choose your offers from others on the table—and there will be multiple offers. Obviously, your website and social media presence are important communication tools, but your entire hiring process needs to be a good experience that reinforces your company as the best choice.
Traditionally, this type of online promotion has been a way for the candidate to convince a potential employer, but that idea should be flipped on its head. From the moment someone submits their resume to their first day on the job, the way you treat them matters—a lot. Frustrating application processes, lengthy waits for responses or status updates, bad interviewer experiences, and lack of communication are just a few of the things that easily derail the process and drive good candidates away. Make sure that your systems are working, your process is streamlined and sensible, and your people are well trained. It will make a difference.
Alternative Talent Pools
Another piece of evergreen advice is to expand where you search for talent. Looking beyond the traditional schools, skills, and experience when seeking candidates will help you hire more successfully. When you create job descriptions with overly long lists of qualifications, you needlessly deter good candidates from applying. And when you confine your search to people with certain certifications and degrees from only a handful of universities, you overlook a lot of talented people.
Community college and alternative training programs are great places to find incredible, qualified people who can be successful at your company. I’m not suggesting you compromise unrealistically, but carefully reviewing your job expectations and descriptions to remove unnecessary or biased requirements can help you attract and ultimately hire more candidates.
It remains to be seen whether this bill represents the fundamental change to our economy that’s been presented to us, but the potential for positive transformation is certainly there. For me, the idea of bolstering U.S. semiconductor production is an exciting one, and I look forward to working with all of ATR’s clients to prepare for what’s to come.
Still wondering what the future might hold for your workforce in the wake of the CHIPS and Science Act? Let’s talk about it!