AES Semigas


8 February 2022

Report details growth in compound semiconductor jobs and exports in Wales

A new report published by the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff University focuses on the contribution to the economy by the Wales-based compound semiconductor cluster CSconnected during 2021.

As in 2020, and despite a complex economic backdrop dominated by the COVID pandemic and Brexit, the compound semiconductor sector as a whole out-performed the wider economy in a number of key areas, including job growth and exports.

Exports from the sector bucked the overall trend that saw the value of Welsh exports tumble by about 25% over the three years to first-quarter 2021.

Employment within the sector grew by about 14% year-on-year in 2021 to around 1600 full-time employees, accounting for over 10% of Wales’ total employment in electrical and electronic engineering.

The report also identified that average gross pay across the sector was about 60% higher than the overall average pay in Wales.

Expansion plans already announced across the industry provide a strong indication that growth in employment is expected to accelerate, with skills shortages in some parts of the compound semiconductor community becoming more acute.

The Welsh technology sector has out-performed the overall UK technology output over the last three years. The report suggests that that the relatively strong performance of the compound semiconductor cluster in the 2019-2021 period reinforced this trend in the Welsh economy, in spite of poor overall trading conditions in much of Welsh manufacturing.

In terms of direct value to the Welsh economy, it is estimated that the sector directly contributed about £194m of gross value added (GVA), representing around 1.7% of Welsh manufacturing GVA and 15.4% of GVA in the more tightly defined electronic and engineering sector.

Taking into account the cluster’s purchasing of regional goods and services, and its payment of wage incomes, it indirectly supports a further £83m of GVA, so that the cluster overall supports directly and indirectly an estimated £277m of Welsh GVA.

“The Welsh compound semiconductor cluster is the first of its kind in the world. The region should be proud to be home to a robust and innovative technology sector that is widely recognized globally and enables a wide portfolio of applications from resilient communications to advanced healthcare technologies and energy-efficient devices that will help achieve net-zero targets,” says CSconnected’s director Chris Meadows. “The UKRI [UK Research and Innovation] Strength in Places program has enabled the CSconnected community to accelerate its global influence, placing Wales at the center of new and emerging technologies that will change the way we live, work and spend our leisure time over the coming decades,” he adds.

“The robust growth of the compound semiconductor community continues to make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy and demonstrates resilience and sustainability that will be positive for the region’s long-term economic prospects,” comments professor Max Munday, one of the report authors (along with Dr Annette Roberts and professor Robert Huggins). “The growing ecosystem embraces the private sector firms, academic institutions and government agencies,” he adds. “The UKRI Strength in Places support provides a great springboard for the region to be at the centre of the next technology revolution, increasing its contribution to the Welsh economy.”

In 2020, CSconnected received government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF). The 55-month CSconnected SIPF project has a total value of £43.74m, supported by £25.44m of UKRI funds.

See related items:

CSconnected ‘Strength in Places Fund’ project to focus on overcoming skills barriers

Wales highlights new research and education opportunities in semiconductor technologies

CSconnected funded through UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund

Tags: CSConnected



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