EUROPEAN POWER ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY Where opportunities lie for power electronics professionals in Europe
Europe is currently experiencing a drastic skills shortage, especially in the field of power electronics. At the same time, countries and companies throughout Europe are investing heavily in semiconductor manufacturing and in renewable energy. This investment means that there are now new opportunities opening up for power electronic professionals in Europe.
As markets across the globe slowly emerge from the height of the Covid19 coronavirus pandemic, many highly skilled workers are re-evaluating their career paths and looking for new opportunities. However, the impact of Covid19 on industries and companies has resulted in some dramatic changes in the state of the labor market. Are there still good prospects for highly skilled power electronics professionals in Europe?
As it happens, the demand for power electronics specialists in Europe is currently booming. However, with rising inflation and ever more stringent demands being placed on electrical engineers, perhaps not everything is as bright as it seems. As we move into a post-Covid19 and post-Brexit reality, experts in the power electronics fields will need to carefully evaluate the challenges and benefits of the European job market.
Where are Power Electronics Professionals Most in Demand in Europe?
There is a range of factors driving demand for power electronics experts throughout Europe. The current skills shortage combined with heavy investment in renewable energy and semiconductor technologies is seeing a massive increase in the demand for power electronics professionals.
The European Union is ramping up its semiconductor manufacturing industry. The EU is investing over EUR 43 billion in the semiconductor industry in an effort to become entirely self-sufficient and not have to rely on China for components. Currently, the European market consumes more than twice as many chips as it manufactures and is suffering from the global chip shortage caused by supply problems in China and Asia.
European companies such as ASML, NXP, ST Microelectronics in the Netherlands, Infineon in Germany, ARM in the UK, and STMicroelectronics in France are currently expanding their operations. Major international players in the semiconductor sector are also flocking to Europe. Intel, for example, is investing heavily in new factories and research and development centers in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and France.
Analysts expect the European semiconductor industry to boom within the next decade, with most of the growth centered around Spain, Germany, France, and Italy. However, there are major issues that the sector must overcome, not least of which is the lack of qualified personnel. Henryk Schoder of the X-FAB Group recently stated that “The talent shortage is the biggest challenge to semiconductor industry growth in Europe.”
Another major driver of the European power electronics market is the EU’s increased focus on the development of renewable energy sources. The Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, and Greece are rapidly expanding their renewable energy industries. Germany has put a massive USD 47 billion towards its efforts to transition to renewables. Other countries are not far behind, the UK has invested USD 31 billion, France USD 27 billion, and Spain USD 11 billion. In total, Europe has recently invested USD 219 billion in the move toward renewable energy.
The rise of the semiconductor industry combined with the huge amounts of investment in renewable energy and the associated transformation of the European power grid into next-generation networks provides a wealth of opportunities for power electronic professionals. Additionally, the European automotive industry requires electronic engineers as production moves toward hybrid, plug-in, and battery electric vehicles.
By far the leading country in the power electronics market is Germany. With the largest economy in the EU, Germany is dominating the renewable energy sector. Germany is also aiming to become the biggest EV producer in Europe. More than 30 % of all EU passenger vehicles were produced in Germany in 2020 and the country is currently home to half of the EU’s battery manufacturing factories. The German electronics sector has a turnover of EUR 182 billion per year and accounts for 10 % of its industrial output, which is three percent of its GDP.
By 2027, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the German power electronics market is estimated to be 3.3 %, reaching USD 1,249 million. The UK is expected to have a CAGR of 2.1 % and France is also poised to show good growth with 3.7 % CAGR by 2027.
Countries with the Largest Power Electronics Industries in Europe
Key Growth Areas in Power Electronics in Europe
- Consumer Electronics
- Automotive and Transportation
- Aerospace and Defense
Key Companies in the European Power Electronics Market
- NXP Semiconductors N.V.
- Infineon Technologies AG
- Texas Instruments, Inc.
- Toshiba Corporation
- Renesas Electronics Corporation
- ON Semiconductor Corporation
- STMicroelectronics N.V.
- Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
- Fuji Electric Co. Ltd. (Furukawa Group)
- ABB Group
- Intel Corporation
Average Salary for an Electrical Engineer in Europe
|Country||Average Salary Per Year|
What to Consider with the EU Power Electronics Jobs Market
Any power electronics specialist who is considering moving to the EU needs to take into consideration the potential drawbacks. While European countries are safe and often offer a good work/life balance for professionals, some people do find the transition to a European lifestyle difficult.
Language and cultural differences can be problematic. As power electronics is a rapidly changing industry, some people may find it more challenging to keep their knowledge up to date in a non-English speaking country. Since the European power electronics sectors are so understaffed, skilled workers may find there are unreasonable demands placed on them and high levels of stress.
However, many people are sure to be drawn to the thought of living in a European city and being part of such an exciting period in the European power electronics industry. Indeed, with stimulating projects, an abundance of work opportunities, and rewarding salaries, the EU is sure to be a drawcard for power electronic professionals for many years to come.
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