Samsung and SK Hynix battle for talent in expanding HBM market

Jessica Tsai; Jerry Chen, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

South Korean-based memory giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have recently initiated a wave of recruitment targeting experienced professionals in the high-bandwidth memory (HBM) sector, prompting the industry to speculate.

According to South Korean news outlet Chosun Biz, Samsung Semiconductor and Device Solutions (DS) have released recruitment notices covering various departments, including the Memory Business Division, System LSI Business Division, Wafer Foundry Business Division, Semiconductor Research Institute, TSP (Test & System Package), Global Infrastructure, Equipment Technology, Advanced Packaging Business Team (AVP), Innovation Center, and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT).

In an effort to narrow the gap with SK Hynix, Samsung is actively strengthening its HBM business capabilities. Reports from DealSite indicate that Samsung has made the strategic move to more than double the HBM production capacity at its Cheonan facility in South Korea and has recently relocated staff from both its Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek plants.

SK Hynix, aiming to enhance its HBM business strength, is recruiting experienced professionals for 28 positions related to DRAM design, HBM packaging (PKG) product development, Advanced PKG, quality management, and product planning by December 20, 2023. SK Hynix is reportedly broadening its recruitment criteria to attract exceptional semiconductor talent, allowing those with over two years of semiconductor-related experience to apply. Applicants pursuing master's or doctoral degrees can be considered for other experiences during their academic tenure. The selection process involves a two-month journey of data screening, written tests, interviews, and talent selection.

With the semiconductor market gradually rebounding, South Korea has experienced a 12.9% YoY increase in semiconductor exports, reaching US$9.5 billion in November 2023, marking a recovery after 16 months.

According to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS), the global semiconductor market is predicted to grow by 13.1% in 2024 compared to 2023. The forecast indicates that memory will be a significant driver, with the memory market expected to expand to around US$130 billion in 2024, representing a roughly 40% YoY increase.

Moreover, the rapid growth in demand for HBM due to the rise of AI is anticipated to enable Samsung and SK Hynix to achieve profitability in the DRAM business in the fourth quarter of 2023 and escape quarterly losses in 2024.