Mon, May 14, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Big-name tech firms waste talent: forum

Staff writer, with CNA

Established high-tech companies are hindering the technology sector’s development by making it difficult for startups to recruit quality engineers, Wang Nien-tsu (王念祖), an entrepreneur with an engineering background, said on Saturday.

Wang, son of former Control Yuan president Wang Tso-jung (王作榮), said many students who graduate from prestigious Taiwanese universities, such as National Taiwan University, National Chiao Tung University and National Tsing Hua University, prefer working as engineers for established companies like MediaTek Inc (聯發科) because of the high compensation offered.

These graduates can earn annual incomes of millions or even tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars in their first year at big-name companies, Wang Nien-tsu said at a national development forum in Taipei. However, that does not mean that big technology companies are necessarily better options for talented people. They tend to waste talent by assigning engineers who graduated from top schools minor or redundant tasks, he said.

“These companies are using ‘thousand-league’ horses as inferior slave horses,” Wang Nien-tsu said. “Good engineers are trained by companies and not schools, and if smart people end up doing simple engineering tasks for five or six years, they will definitely turn into idiots.”

Wang Nien-tsu also said that these talented individuals were often not involved in research and development, because many Taiwanese technology companies purchase intellectual property from abroad.

Thus, the biggest obstacle to the development of Taiwan’s technology sector are these highly profitable technology firms, and Wang Nien-tsu hopes the government will address the issue.

Responding to Wang Nien-tsu’s remark, Taiwan Thinktank (台灣智庫) chairman Chen Po-chih (陳博志) said Wang Tso-jung had observed some of these warning signs and said in one of his essays why Taiwan’s economy has been unable to advance to higher technological levels.

“While there are many reasons behind why Taiwan has been unable to develop into a capital and technology-intensive economy, two main factors have been a lack of financial support and an inadequate education system,” the former Control Yuan president wrote.

Financially, high-tech companies have scooped up the best talent by distributing stock options, leaving “top people even willing to work for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) as a janitor,” Chen said, describing this as a flaw of the financial system.

Moreover, Taiwan’s exam-orientated education system has been unable to support the technology sector’s need for innovative talent, Chen said, adding that “few graduates from prestigious schools are creative.”

If the education system was successful, graduates from less famous schools would show creativity, but that has not been the case, Chen said.

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