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IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
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Bill_Kennedy
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Bill_Kennedy,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 6:05:53 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
The biggest supporters of H1-B are India, China, Russia, etc. They're not worried about losing their 'geniuses' to the US. These countries are behind us, and sending their engineers and programmers to the US enables them to be trained in the latest technologies, and help transfer that technology to their low-wage countries for production. Our corporations get to hire cheaper workers in those countries, and are allowed to operate in them in exchange for the technology transferred.

When H1-B began more than two decades ago, we absolutely dominated world high-tech especially software. We had a job-creating monster economy with manageable debt. You be the judge of who has profited most since. The only gainers in the US are the wealthy corporations, who have exploited the cheap labor.
twins.fan
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twins.fan,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 5:21:54 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
Of course it is up to the US worker! Why did they go to college to study STEM disciplines? They studied to get a career. Most workers want to study new technologies, but in some technologies, Corporate America says NO, US STEM workers need not apply. Corporate America does that just like IBM does with Websphere. The price to learn Websphere from IBM is $15,000 if you are a US STEM worker, while IBM is paying Indian workers to learn Websphere. Then once the Indian worker is trained, the Indian workers are off to the US on an H-1B visa, an L-1 visa, a B-1 visa or one of the other visas in the alphabet box.
twins.fan
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twins.fan,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 3:54:58 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
Oh I see, you believe that the skills were distributed normally, huh? We just have bravado, huh? You are going to save us, huh?

I hope you don't take it personally, but the 5% of the world's population in which US STEM workers exist, they created this technology. The 95% of the world's population in which the rest of the world exists is moving into our 5% of the world and in doing so are mocking, taunting and smearing the people that created this technology.

Hey, I got an idea! Why not develop YOUR technology in the rest of the planet where the other 95% lives where you are not faced with immigration and work visas and objections from US workers who are not happy with your being here?

But don't take it personally.
twins.fan
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twins.fan,
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3/8/2013 | 3:45:00 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
If you want to draw a line between the high skilled workers and the low skilled workers, I doubt that many individuals would be on the high skilled side but we don't have the data necessary to draw that line.

If we want to draw the line between those that are "Fully Competent" and NOT "Fully Competent" the GAO has given us that data. The line between those that are Fully Competent and NOT would put 94% of the H-1B visa recipients on the NOT "Fully Competent" side and 6% of the H-1B visa recipients on the "Fully Competent" side. How many of those who are "Fully Competent" are actually "highly skilled" too? I guess that would be up to debate. It would be how lenient you are in your qualification of "highly skilled".

I am guessing that if you would draw a line between the H-1B visa recipients that are "high skilled" and "low skilled" probably 1% being high skilled and 99% being low skilled would be accurate.
David Berlind
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David Berlind,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 3:39:13 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
Steve,

I agree with most of what you say. But I do have a slight issue with this paragraph:

"It is just as true that many senior personnel in the IT field left because they had no desire to change their expertise from the older technologies to the newer ones. However, companies also did not provide much incentive to do so with the way corporate education programs have been gutted along with poor project planning in general."

I do think it is important for companies to continue investing in their employees and keeping their skillsets relevant. However, I also believe that, ultimately, it's up to the employee to be responsible for their own lives. At some point, you have to read the tea-leaves (spot the trends) and recognize that different skills will be required down the line. Again, I think companies should support continuing education for their staff. But, that doesn't absolve the employee from not taking matters into their own hands in an effort to maintain their marketability.
Indian_H1B
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Indian_H1B,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 3:25:14 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
Don't take it so personally! The US represents <5% of the world and its abilities are distributed along a normal distribution/. The remaining 95% of the world is also distributed on a normal distribution and it likely has a substantial number of people at the 98th percentile and beyond. If the US has a neat mechanism for harnessing this 2% pool and the pool has enough people willing to immigrate to the US, on average, you can assume they will be much smarter than the average American STEM worker. It's just statistics and no amount of American bravado can do a damn thing about it.
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
3/8/2013 | 3:05:11 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
H1B is and always has been only a justification to lower labor costs. The funding provided to administer the program, administrative costs of the companies, and the other hidden costs if provided instead for study grants or scholarships would eliminate the presumed STEM shortage and increase the american IT knowledge pool of resources. Why can't this be done? The unstated corporate asseration that americans are not as intellectually capable as their foreign counterparts to grasp the material and the fact they would be eliminating their source of cheap labor. They can't accuse the US educational system because many of these H1B candidates were educated in US institutions. Frankly, I've always found this assertion by corporate america offensive and they should admit it is simply a cost containment mechanism.
Indian_H1B
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Indian_H1B,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 2:37:50 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
Draw a line through the middle of the H-1B pool that divides the high skilled from the low skilled workers.

The low skilled pool is basically a bunch of 20-something Indian IT bodyshoppers that do $90k IT jobs for $50k and are absolutely displacing average American workers. The average American STEM worker who complains about the H-1B is impacted by this set, though they will peanut butter the entire H-1B program as the American version of the potato famine.

The second, more highly skilled set of H-1Bs is usually almost all workers who received their college/graduate degrees in the US. They likely start at nothing lower than $75k (when I last moved employers on H-1B, I was offered ~$155k though half my graduate school and business school class is making more than me). This is the bunch that Zuckerberg/Gates/Bock want to retain in the US. The following is what gets interesting. 80-90% of this bunch often seek to immigrate to the US and here is where the green card process can end up being a mechanism for indentured servitude. Depending on your nationality, it can take more than 10 years to get a greencard during which time you need to essentially work for the same employer. One could hence make the argument that these H-1Bs have lower bargaining power with their employers since they are dependent on them for greencards. In my experience, the argument makes sense, but it fortunately not borne out by actual occurrences. Given the business spotlight that Google/Facebook/Microsoft find themselves in, they cannot afford scandal surrounding inequitable employee treatment.

2 steps to improve immediately:
- Eliminate the use of the the H-1B for the first set since it is almost 100% cannibalistic.
- Retain the use of the H-1B for the second set since it could be 100% incremental, but only when you disengage the greencard process from the employer.
twins.fan
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twins.fan,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 2:01:44 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
As I explained to you in the comment that preceded yours, Corporate America is behind the scenes engineering shortages when they exist.

As I said, in my previous post, the cost is not only in time, the cost is a significant amount of money to the US STEM workers that ultimately ends up in the corporations' pockets. As the example in my previous post demonstrates, the cost of learning Websphere is $15,000 for five weeks of training. That $15,000 goes into IBM's pockets.

That is half the story, actually less than half the story. The other part of the story is what happens when the US STEM worker spends months of time and thousands and thousands of dollars to become trained, what happens when that technology goes obsolete? The US STEM worker has to come up with another $10,000 or $15,000 to pay corporate America to become trained again, and again, and again. That is unless you live in India in which case Corporate America will pay you to learn.

What happens when you train yourself in Struts, or Struts 2, or Google's GWT?! The answer is that you will have to retrain, because those technologies are QUICKLY becoming obsolete to even newer technologies.
twins.fan
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twins.fan,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 1:15:50 PM
re: IT Talent Shortage Or Purple Squirrel Hunt?
Like no other profession, US STEM workers are in a mode of constant retraining during their careers. Colleges and universities cannot prepare STEM workers for technologies yet to be created. Colleges and universities train STEM workers in the fundamentals that will HOPEFULLY withstand changes in technology. Then US STEM workers are on their own to acquire skills in transient technologies that are here and gone in a few years.

That said, the US STEM worker knows that and is constantly trying to acquire training, but Corporate America does not want US STEM workers. Corporate America is actively ENGINEERING skills shortages. Corporate America erects insurmountable financial barriers that prevents US STEM workers from acquiring training for new technologies, for which a corporation has exclusive access, while simultaneously not only providing training to Indian workers for free, Corporate America is actually paying Indian workers to learn.

One technology for which Corporate America claims there is a shortage is Websphere, a technology which IBM has recently bought. Learning Websphere only requires five weeks of training, but IBM wants the US STEM worker to fork over $15,000 to IBM for that five weeks of training. Now if you live in India, IBM will not only train you for free, IBM will pay you to learn and then ship you to the US on an H-1B visa, and pocket the differential in the pay of a US STEM worker and a cheap, disposable worker from India.

Take Spring which is owned by VMware. If you are a US STEM worker the cost of training and certification is almost $3000 per certification, which requires a week of training. To become employable, you need around three certifications, almost $9,000. Now if you live in India, Corporate America will pay you to learn and then ship you to the US on an H-1B visa, an L-1 visa, or a B-1 visa.

Don't buy these crocodile tears of Corporate America! The only time that there ever is a skills shortage, FOLLOW THE MONEY! Corporate America is ENGINEERING the skills shortage.
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