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60 The PCB Design Magazine • May 2015 The electronics industry is in a growth pe- riod. In 2015, the European electronics industry is set to grow by around 4% over the previous year. The demand for consumer electronics is growing worldwide year-on-year, driven by de- mand for TVs, headphones and high-definition sound systems. Within commercial and indus- trial industries, the requirement for smarter, more efficient electronics is also driving strong growth. In the UK, the electronics industry contrib- utes over £80 billion (approximately US$120 million) to the economy, representing 5.4% of UK GDP, employing over 850,000 people. There is, however, in many countries, a growing con- cern around labour shortages within the elec- tronics industry, with worries over appropriate workforce skill levels growing. The story is no different anywhere else, with American subject matter experts (SMEs) under similar pressure to recruit and train the most appropriate staff to undertake PCB design work. The U.S. is the world's largest producer of elec- tronic products, accounting for around 21% of the world's total. A recent study found that 72% of manufac- turers believe a labour shortage of electronic design professionals exists, and two-thirds have found difficulty recruiting production and de- sign engineers in the past two years. One of the most adversely hit industries is PCB fabricators, designers and manufacturers, a sector of which 95% are SMEs. As these companies look to cut costs and drive efficiencies to stay competitive, many larger organisations have considered moving manufacturing functions to other countries to take advantage of cheaper labour costs. This, unfortunately, only further compounds the re- ported skill shortages within the UK, Europe and U.S. A recent study by IPC highlights a num- ber of reasons for these concerning issues. De- mand for talent in electronics manufacturing has grown faster than the supply, due in part to an ageing workforce. Another IPC study of the North American Electronics industry found that leading issues impacting recruitment included a article Electronic Design Training Crucial to Industry Growth by Bob Sadowski QuaDra sOluTIOns

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