Hsinchu losing engineers to central, south science parks

Yingrid Ho, TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post

More engineers at the Hsinchu Science Park are switching jobs this year.

In the past, those who decided to leave would transfer to similar companies within the northern region of Taiwan. However, human resources managers notice that this year, high-tech experts have not only moved to the central and southern industrial parks, but also to companies in different fields. The Central Technology Science Park, Tainan Technology Industrial Park and the Southern Taiwan Science Park are luring engineers with better remuneration packages, more incentives, and promising prospects in areas other than semiconductors or DRAMs, says a human resource manager.

The lure of the foundry industry has passed, engineers believe, replaced by a more prominent industry — optoelectronics, an emerging field highly regarded by the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan County.

“Because many foundry engineers in the Hsinchu Science Park are recruited from central and southern universities, now they are given this chance to migrate back,” an engineer said, adding that venturing to a different area frees employees from the bind of non-competition clauses. Another reason to prompt job changing lies in bonuses. A manager in Hsinchu points out that as the economy has picked up since last year, many company reported better earnings this year and distributed handsomer staff bonus shares and stock options in July.

“Employees will leave after receiving their portions of shares,” he said. Still, a technology analyst has a different view.

“Company earnings this year have been severely affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome last year. More engineers are bound to leave when their shares are allocated next year,” he said. It is noteworthy that in contrast to many technology dinosaurs, the burgeoning optoelectronics companies are expanding and therefore have a relatively conservative policy of employee bonus shares.

This year, there are only two listed optoelectronics companies that have announced employee stock-sharing programs. Chi Mei Electronics Corp., the leading optoelectronics company, set aside an average of 10,000 shares per head to its staff. With a share price almost double that of Chi Mei’s based on the announcement date, AU Optronics distributed an average of 7,000 shares per head to its staff.

In terms of bonuses, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp. are still among the most generous employers.

The former dispatched an average of 17,000 shares to each staff, and the latter 12,000 this year.