Employment of semiconductor processors is projected to decline rapidly, by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020. Although there is a strong demand for semiconductors in many products, automation at fabricating plants is expected to grow, meaning the plants will hire fewer workers. Because the rooms have to be kept so clean, it is more effective to use robots to do many of the simple tasks that processors once did. In addition, the increasing complexity of chips, combined with their reduced size, makes it difficult for people to work on them.
The semiconductor manufacturing industry, where most processors work, is also expected to decline, leading to more job losses. Operating a plant in the United States is more expensive than operating one in another country where manufacturing costs are often lower. This leads to companies sending the manufacturing of chips abroad, even though designing the chips will continue to take place in the United States.
Competition for semiconductor processor jobs is expected to be tough because of the decline in employment. Prospects should be best for those who have a bachelor’s degree or experience in other high-tech manufacturing jobs.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition