Bridging the Semiconductor Industry Skill Gap through Effective Leadership

Bridging the Semiconductor Industry Skill Gap through Effective Leadership

Navin Bishnoi, Country Head (Marvell India) & AVP Engineering (Compute & Custom Solutions), Marvell Technology, 0

Navin has nearly 26 years of expertise in the semiconductor industry, including his stints at Texas Instruments, Freescale Semiconductor India Pvt Ltd (NXP), IBM, and Global Foundries.

According to reports, the Indian semiconductor market is projected to reach $ 80.3 billion by 2028. Semiconductor industry growth in India is steered by a highly trained pool of semiconductor design engineers having made impressive advancements in the field through inspirational leadership. Indian semiconductor ecosystem is pooled with approximately one lakh VLSI Design Engineers working for both domestic and international design service organizations, making up 20 percent of the global workforce in semiconductor design. With deep-rooted knowledge in the semiconductor industry, Navin Bishnoi, Country Head (Marvell India) & AVP Engineering (Compute and Custom Solutions), Marvell Technology sheds light on how innovation in the semiconductor manufacturing and design sector can retain the talents and create growth opportunities. Below is an excerpt from the interview.

What kind of work environment have you established in Marvell India that nurtures employee growth?
Essentially, our organizational culture revolves around three core aspects. First, we prioritize cultivating technical proficiency and leadership skills. This involves consistently advancing up the value chain, solving problems, making impacts, and taking pride in our success. We actively promote innovation and collaboration to drive continuous improvements, creating opportunities for growth and equal access across all roles and skill levels.

Secondly, we embrace the ONE Marvell culture—a unifying force that symbolizes our shared values and beliefs. We not only celebrate positive developments but also address any challenges that arise. Additionally, we promote open two-way communication, sharing strategic roadmaps and engaging employees.

Lastly, we recognize that we are more than what we do at our desks. Each team member has their own set of individual beliefs, interests, and passions. To honor this individuality, we’ve established an ecosystem outreach program. It encourages pursuing diverse interests across university programs, government relations, conferences, trade shows, inclusion and diversity initiatives, community social responsibility, and hobbies clubs (including sports, art, music, photography, languages, and more). In summary, our culture centers around technical competencies and leadership, the ONE Marvell culture, and respecting individuality to enable proactive outreach.

In the semiconductor industry, what measures can leaders adopt while providing computing and custom solutions to uphold credibility and trust in the marketplace?
The semiconductor industry is undergoing a significant transformation driven by two key factors. First, the surge in interest in artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the landscape. Second, the unprecedented level of digitization is accelerating change. These combined forces are compelling us to explore custom silicon solutions across processors, connectivity, and storage.

These custom silicon use cases span various domains, including cloud and data centers for AI, home automation, security systems, seamless enterprise operations, sensor-equipped cars for safe driving and smart features, and computers optimized for creative work. Unlike a one-size-fits-all approach, we recognize the need to tailor solutions for different applications (workload).

However, this customized approach comes with challenges. We must continuously iterate to understand customer needs, devise effective solutions, and
successfully bring products to market. Many of these use cases demand optimal power performance metrics, necessitating the adoption of the latest architecture, technology roadmaps, design techniques, and flexible business models.

How can we ensure an increase in the global demand for Indian products and services?
Semiconductors currently rank as the second highest import in India, and the country is poised to play a significant role in the global semiconductor landscape. This momentum is driven by the escalating demand for consumer electronics, automotive components, and the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). Here are a few steps that increase global demand for Indian semiconductor products and services. First - Invest in Research and Development (R&D) to foster innovation and develop cutting-edge semiconductor technologies, by collaborating with academic institutions, research centers, and industry experts to drive advancements in chip design, materials, and manufacturing processes. Second – Promote skill development (including educational programs) initiatives to create a skilled workforce across design and manufacturing. Third - Improve infrastructure related to power supply, water availability, and transportation, to establish state of the art manufacturing facilities. Fourth – Implement incentives and policies, incubation centers/hubs, and global ecosystem collaboration for joint venture, and market access.

When an individual steps into a leadership role within an organization, they transcend mere labels. Their responsibilities extend to overseeing a diverse array of stakeholders.

What actions should leaders take to draw in and keep this talent?
The combined design and manufacturing talent in India comprises approximately 2.3 million individuals. Historically, Indian talent sought better opportunities abroad for product design and exposure to cutting-edge technology. However, over the past two decades, India has ascended the value chain. Large development centers of global technology companies, as well as Indian corporate startups in the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector, have contributed to this shift. Several other factors support this transformation including Positive Living Conditions, Recognition and incentives for talent, Effective Governance and Digitalization.

The establishment of a robust R&D ecosystem, successful startup stories, and career growth opportunities across various paths will help curb talent migration. Unlike the past, where growth was measured by moving from individual contributor to tech lead and then to managerial titles (such as Manager/Director/VP), today’s corporate landscape offers multiple tracks. These include technical leadership roles and management positions, along with internal job rotations. Talented professionals can thrive by solving complex technical problems within the organization, shaping future products, roadmaps, and standards or nurturing the next generation of talent.

This environment encourages individuals to contribute to research, development, and innovation, fostering a culture that retains talent and prevents the new generation from seeking opportunities elsewhere.

What would be your advice to budding leaders in the industry?
When an individual steps into a leadership role within an organization, they transcend mere labels. Their responsibilities extend to overseeing a diverse array of stakeholders. As leaders, they must consistently prioritize what is best for the organization. Adopting a growth mindset—a CEO mindset—becomes essential. This mindset involves treating the company as their own and striving to make the most impactful contributions.
Effective leaders are adept at selling ideas. They take action, execute plans, and create a tribe—a community of like-minded individuals who share their growth-oriented perspective. Together, they set ambitious goals, assemble teams, and develop execution strategies. To all aspiring or young leaders, my advice is to embrace this holistic approach and foster a culture of growth and achievement.