Focus Taiwan App

TSMC touts balanced work environment amid 'brutal' condition claims in U.S.

06/05/2023 08:27 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
TSMC's production site in the U.S. state of Arizona is pictured on Dec. 6, 2022, before a tool-in ceremony is held the next day. CNA file photo

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, issued a statement Monday on the balanced life environment it provides its employees, in response to a Fortune article over the weekend in which several former and current employees in the United States were quoted complaining about the company's "brutal" corporate culture.

In the statement, TSMC said average work hours at the company have not exceeded 50 hours a week over the past two years with only a few exceptions, such as when the company introduces a new technology process or speeds up its pace building a new plant. In such situations, a ceiling of 60 weekly working hours is observed.

TSMC said it is the company's unshirkable responsibility to provide employees with a balanced life environment, and with ongoing efforts to expand production worldwide the chipmaker is aware its top priority is to cultivate and manage cross-border talent.

According to TSMC, it currently has a workforce of more than 70,000 employees worldwide.

An office building at TSMC
An office building at TSMC's site in Arizona is seen in this photo taken on Dec. 6, 2022 when the site is open to press for the first time. CNA file photo

The statement came after Fortune magazine cited messages posted by former and current TSMC employees in the U.S. on an online job search website as reporting over the weekend that they worked 12 hours a day, and weekend shifts were nothing special.

"People ... slept in the office for a month straight," a TSMC engineer was quoted by Fortune from a message posted to Glassdoor in August. "Twelve-hour days are standard, weekend shifts are common. I cannot stress ... how brutal the work-life balance is here."

"TSMC is about obedience [and is] not ready for America," Fortune reported, quoting a message posted by another TSMC engineer in January.

Fortune noted that TSMC's U.S. operations have earned a 27 percent approval rating on Glassdoor from 91 reviews, which means that less than a third of reviewers would encourage others to work there. On the other hand, Intel Corp., one of TSMC's major rivals, has an 85 percent approval rating, albeit from tens of thousands more reviews.

TSMC is spending US$40 billion to build two wafer fabs in the U.S. state of Arizona with one using the 4 nanometer process and the other the more advanced 3nm process, scheduled to start mass production in 2024 and 2026, respectively. The 3nm process is the latest technology TSMC uses for commercial production in Taiwan.

For its new production sites in Arizona, TSMC brought engineers hired in the U.S. to Taiwan for training before they started their jobs in the U.S. In addition, the company has sent Taiwanese engineers to Arizona in preparation for the opening of the new plants.

Due to its expansion globally, TSMC said, its workforce continues to grow and has become diverse, adding that the company actively listens to a wide range of opinions from its employees through established communications channels.

TSMC said it has established a comprehensive recruitment and training package, while trying its best to retain employees and place them in the right positions.

In addition to the current 13 site labor-management meetings, TSMC said, it has also set up 10 new Silicon Garden Meetings, referring to labor-management meetings by function/division, and launched a dedicated opinion collection system in the fourth quarter of 2022 to enhance communications and forge better ties with employees.

The Silicon Garden Meetings allow employees to voice their opinions via employee representatives during quarterly meetings and the online system can also be used to express their opinions at any time, TSMC said.

Through these communications channels, TSMC said, employees are able to give their opinions using their real names or anonymously and responses are provided in a timely manner.

(By Chang Chien-chung and Frances Huang)


> Chinese Version


June 7: Don't work in the industry if you are unwilling to take shifts: TSMC Chair

June 6: TSMC studying 2nd fab in Kumamoto, focusing on mature technologies

    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.