How MediaTek upskills its R&D talent to minimise attrition

The Taiwanese semiconductor developer utilises a company-specific online e-learning platform to upskill its employees


The semi-conductor industry, which manufactures semiconductor chips for smart devices, is currently facing a shortage of supply against an alleviated demand, globally.

In a bid to meet this overwhelming global demand for semiconductor chips, major companies across the world have turned towards India, opening up opportunities aplenty for growth. One such company is MediaTek, the Taiwanese global fabless semiconductor manufacturer, which is aggressively expanding its operations in India.

In a discussion with HRKatha, Rituparna Mandal, general manager, MediaTek India, says that the Company plans to at least double each of its existing Indian teams by FY2022. “However, there is no cap set for recruitment in India at the moment. It all depends on the talent,” she says. The Company is working on increasing the number of employees engaged in research and development (R&D), as well as those in leadership and managerial roles in India.

However, the Indian market for tech talent is highly dynamic and it’s a challenge to both acquire and retain talent. While not revealing MediaTek’s attrition figures in India, Mandal admits that attrition is a big issue for the Company. The competitive market, which offers innumerable avenues for growth, is the primary reason behind the high attrition rate. Mandal believes that attrition can be minimised in R&D roles if a company is able to ensure quality of work to its employees. “In a research and development role, people primarily look for job satisfaction, which usually comes when they are able to put forth quality work,” says Mandal. She adds that engineers need a kick from their line of work. They would prefer working on leading-edge technology, innovative designing machinery and projects that nobody else is working on.

In order to equip the workforce with latest technological advancements, MediaTek has set up a global e-learning platform, exclusively accessible to its own employees. Mandal explains that the role of this platform is to upskill the R & D team. “The platform contains a plethora of short courses that employees can browse through and utilise. It is mostly voluntary, but team managers can ask their teams to undergo a specific course whenever a particular project demands it,” she adds.

“In R & D, there is a continuous need for talent upskilling in order to stay competitive in a continuously evolving market. The e-learning platform is useful in ensuring that”

Rituparna Mandal, general manager, MediaTek India

MediaTek had begun setting up the global e-learning platform pre-pandemic. The Company had taken undertaken a general survey involving its employees and their opinions regarding the initiative at that time. The platform was designed based on the feedback from the employees. “In R & D, there is a continuous need for talent upskilling in order to stay competitive in a continuously evolving market. The e-learning platform is useful in ensuring that,” she says.

There are over 2,100 online courses that an employee can undertake and the online education platform also maintains a track record of individual learning.

The GM of India operations at MediaTek believes that work-from-home was the main force behind the initiative taking off. Now, it will continue to be a part of their upskilling policy. At MediaTek, e-learning is not restricted to the Company platform alone. Mandal reveals that employees are free to undertake company-sponsored courses of their choices elsewhere as well.

Additionally, MediaTek regularly organises tech talks on particular domains for its teams, delivered by experts. For this, external vendor companies are usually approached. However, cross-site technical training is also imparted, where experienced employees of MediaTek are connected to teams at other locations around the world, to impart knowledge regarding particular technologies.

MediaTek had announced earlier that it would be expanding its R&D budget to over US$3 billion in 2021. The Company currently operates from two offices in India, in Noida and Bangalore. An aggressive hiring plan has been implemented in India, because of the extensive talent pool the country has to offer.

The Company is aware of the huge talent pool in India because of exceptional engineering universities and colleges, especially in the southern region. However, talent isn’t only restricted to recent graduates, as the VLSI industry set up in the country over the past few decades has seen a lot of people trained in this area.

Hence, as Mandal shares with HRKatha, “there is enough talent trained in niche areas that are exceptional at handling projects. Over a period of time, they are able to manage and deliver on projects independently, and also handle global projects for the Company.”

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