How ASML grew to 30,000+ employees during a pandemic
Meet our 30,000th colleague and discover how other employees have embraced their growing teams
4-minute read - Jessica Timings, November 24, 2021
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one could say what the future would bring. Who could have predicted that ASML would actually grow? But we did, by more than 6,000 employees since the beginning of 2020. For regions such as the Netherlands, that meant around 200 new employees per month. Meet our 30,000th colleague and look at how other employees have embraced their growing teams.
ASML is growing in response to ever-increasing digitalization and the demand for microchips around the world. Part of this current demand can be explained by market fluctuations due to COVID-19, but underlying trends such as 5G, AI and edge computing ensures that the semiconductor industry will continue to grow. And with growth comes new colleagues, like Han-Jun.
Meet Han-Jun Lee, our 30,000th employee
Han-Jun joined ASML in July 2021 as a customer support engineer and works as part of a team in a Samsung fab (fabrication plant) in Giheung, South Korea. An electrical engineering graduate from Masan, South Korea, Han-Jun was keen to join an international company.
"I wanted to become an engineer who works at a global company, with global colleagues, where I can have the chance to speak English and to travel for my training," Han-Jun says.
ASML certainly offers an international environment – with over 120 nationalities and more than 60 locations in 16 countries and regions worldwide, there are plenty of opportunities to travel and move among departments and regions.
Semiconductors run in Han-Jun's family. His father is a technician at a Japanese semiconductor company, and Han-Jun has always felt drawn to the industry.
"While I was at university, I joined a social club for people interested in the semiconductor industry," Han-Jun says. "It became a great opportunity to meet friends who were also interested in semiconductors. We were able to talk about semiconductors in depth, and many of those friends are now also working in the same industry.
"I'm feeling lucky to be a member of ASML," he continues. "I cannot believe it still now."
As a customer support engineer, Han-Jun provides frontline support to Samsung, making sure ASML's machines in their fab run smoothly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Getting up to speed as a new employee during COVID-19
Like all new ASML employees, Han-Jun is integrating and learning about ASML through an 'onboarding' program. The program was designed to help employees fit in quickly and build a sense of connection, which has been a priority for ASML's fast growing organization over the past couple years.
ASML's machines are so complex that as a new customer support engineer, Han-Jun will spend months in training around the world, both virtually and on the job. In 2020, much of our onboarding program moved online, a change that wasn't without its drawbacks.
"It is difficult for both trainers and trainees to have training sessions online," says Han-Jun. "Plus, it is difficult to get to know other new hires during COVID-19. Thankfully, we are going through the onboarding program well, with professional trainers and managers who are working hard to make it work. And I'm looking forward to when I will get to spend more time with my international colleagues in person."
Oksana Kopina, who joined ASML Wilton in February 2020 as our 25,000th employee, says that virtual onboarding was especially difficult as a manager (she's currently a project lead for new product introduction engineering).
"As a leader, it's very hard to connect with your team and get to know their different personalities from a distance," she says. "Even when the camera is on, it's just not the same. How do you get people to trust you? To confide in you? To want to believe in you and follow you?"
To remedy this, Oksana set up regular online meetings just to connect with her team. She also took the opportunity to thank her teammates individually when they do well.
"I went to a bakery and bought 80 individually wrapped cupcakes. The reactions I got from people were overwhelming! They loved it. Working during COVID-19 had a lot of drawbacks, but I also got the chance to be more intentional about showing my appreciation for each individual. We all try to do a little bit more for each other during the pandemic, because we know it's a tough situation for everyone."
Helpful, encouraging colleagues
Joining ASML involves a difficult learning curve, but it's a fun challenge. And luckily, new employees report that their ASML colleagues are all extremely willing to help.
"I had a very good onboarding experience," says Burcu Nalbant, a scrum master in development and engineering. Burcu moved from Turkey four years ago to join ASML in the Netherlands. The 'buddy system', part of ASML's onboarding program, helped her a lot when she was just starting out.
"My buddy was also a scrum master," she relates. "He helped me get up to speed on all the applications that had already been done and the current process. I was able to ask any question I could think of, and my group manager was also very helpful."
Burcu now does the same for her new colleagues. "I'm encouraged by how patient everyone is with new joiners, especially during the pandemic."
Oksana agrees: "People here are very willing to listen to you and your ideas. I've never run into a feeling of resistance when I've wanted to change something, even as a new employee. So even though there are a lot of structured ways of working, there's also this kind of freedom of expression, where people are open to new things and to give constructive feedback."
Even though she's only been with the company for a year, Oksana doesn't feel 'new' anymore. "I think part of the reason for that is because I have such a big network of colleagues – I would even say friends – who I keep in touch with all over ASML. When you join ASML, you're part of the team in no time."
The future is bright
To manage the increase in demand for our machines, we're hiring to boost our capacity in all three product lines: extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography, and metrology & inspection systems.
Software is currently one of our most critical hiring areas, like in Burcu's department, D&E. Oksana's location in Wilton, Connecticut, aims to hire more than 300 people by the end of the year, mainly in high-tech manufacturing and engineering. While our Customer Support (CS) teams in Asia are also growing at a rapid pace, driven by our customers' expanding business. So it is no surprise that our 30,000th colleague works in CS in Asia.
Although growth might seem daunting for some, at ASML, we see it as an opportunity.
"The endless opportunities for growth are what I like most about ASML," says Oksana. "It just doesn't stop! Every day you meet with new exciting challenges, and that's great because I can't be in a place where I'm doing the same thing every day."
Will you be our next colleague?
About the author
- Jessica Timings
- Editor & writer
- Born in Aotearoa New Zealand and based in the Netherlands, Jessica is a humanitarian who has launched into the tech industry. A curious storyteller at heart, she is fascinated by ASML’s mind-blowing technology and the people behind these innovations.