Over recent weeks I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of engineering exhibitions and working on the production of over thirty Executive Forecast features across the North American and UK editions of Electronics Sourcing.
Every conversation and interaction offered a unique perspective of what we can expect in 2023, however some trends emerged. Allow me to expand on two.
Firstly, at this phase of the post pandemic reset, the industry is starting to experience, for the first time, what happens when a complex, globalised supply chain comes back online after a shut down. It is true that manufacturers and distributors in every component category are working hard to match supply and demand. However, the problem seems to be sequencing. Not all component types are becoming available at the same pace leading to simultaneous over and under supply across bills-of-materials.
Secondly, it looks like component manufacturers, distributors and OEMs are finding it difficult to secure the staff they desire. There are many reasons for this but I fear a significant variable, operating on a global basis, is demographics.
The rate at which experienced engineers are leaving the industry is accelerating as the baby boom generation retires. However, falling birth rates in many industrialised nations over recent decades mean fewer young people are available to fill the talent pool.
To solve this problem today, the electronics industry needs to make it very clear to young people entering higher education or vocational training that playing a role in ‘designing and building our technological future’ can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding lifelong careers anyone could wish for.