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No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say 401

Posted by samzenpus
from the I'll-do-it dept.
sabri writes To have a labor shortage or not to have, that's the question. According to the San Jose Mercury News: Last month, three tech advocacy groups launched a labor boycott against Infosys, IBM and the global staffing and consulting company ManpowerGroup, citing a "pattern of excluding U.S. workers from job openings on U.S soil." They say Manpower, for example, last year posted U.S. job openings in India but not in the United States." "It's getting pretty frustrating when you can't compete on salary for a skilled job," said Rich Hajinlian, a veteran computer programmer from the Boston area. "You hear references all the time that these big companies ... can't find skilled workers. I am a skilled worker."
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No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

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  • Effect? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:45PM (#47395873)

    A labor boycott against tech companies that don't want to hire Americans? It's hard to see that as being effective.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:46PM (#47395879)

    The US is awash in certain kinds of skilled tech workers: Java programmers, web programmers, iOS app programmers, and more. It's not hard to find them, nor is there any kind of shortage.

    But for more complex work, the best qualified workers are from overseas. Go look in any US comp-sci graduate program, and try to find the Americans. Go ahead, I'll wait.

    Back? How many did you find? 10%? 20% And from my experience interviewing them, they are often not the cream of the crop. Don't get me wrong, there are some really top notch American students coming out of graduate programs, but that's the exception, not the rule. If you want a deep understanding of theory, rather than another Java coder, it's hard to find that in the US. Not impossible. Just hard.

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:50PM (#47395903) Homepage Journal

      I'll call you on your trolling and bs. My wife works in the Comp Sci department at a major university and also works *with* people in the programs at others. Well over half the grad students in most programs are born and raised in the US, and many of the best candidates are from the US. This story is about outsourcing based on cost, not on 'deep understanding of theory'. If you're not trolling you're just woefully wrong.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:04PM (#47395987)

      The US is awash in certain kinds of skilled tech workers: Java programmers, web programmers, iOS app programmers, and more. It's not hard to find them, nor is there any kind of shortage.

      But for more complex work, the best qualified workers are from overseas. Go look in any US comp-sci graduate program, and try to find the Americans. Go ahead, I'll wait.

      Back? How many did you find? 10%? 20% And from my experience interviewing them, they are often not the cream of the crop. Don't get me wrong, there are some really top notch American students coming out of graduate programs, but that's the exception, not the rule. If you want a deep understanding of theory, rather than another Java coder, it's hard to find that in the US. Not impossible. Just hard.

      OK, so let's go with what you said about the dearth of Americans in comp-sci grad programs is true and that certain high-level skills are found only in people in those programs. How many people are we talking about in all the good schools grad programs? a few thousand? And how many jobs are there that REQUIRE the skills found only in the grad school programs? a few thousand, maybe?

      However, there are about 600,000 H1B workers in the USA. How many of these do you believe have the skills only found in comp-sci grad programs, or more to the point, how many of those don't have and don't need grad school comp-sci skills?

      My point is that while what you said is true, it has nothing to do with what the complaint is.
      The H1B program is designed to obtain the kinds of people you were talking about, but the program is in fact being used to hire an enormous numbers of very ordinary people whose main feature is they work for less money.

  • 19,000 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:47PM (#47395887) Journal
    there certainly is a shortage of tech workers in the US willing to work for 19,000/year
    • DING DING DING DING DING! We have a winner. When you take someone who craps in a hole where they grew up, paltry wages seem like they hit the friggin' lottery.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:49PM (#47395899)
    Our company bought several million dollars of IBM products and services a couple of years ago. No sign that any skilled tech went into either the development or support of that stuff. Their salesmen did a good job of blowing smoke into our VP's face though.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:52PM (#47395919)

    To employ people for $5,000 and sell products to people who make $80,000.

    They do not see the fundamental problem.

    It will resolve itself. Wages in china and india are up to $5,000 now and still doubling every 2-4 years (lower wages doubling faster).

    Of course, that leaves the problem of robotics- which right now- today- can do work for less than poverty level wages in most of the world- and are only getting better an cheaper.

    Robot repair jobs are two orders of magnitude less (1 worker and robots replaces 1000 workers). Automated procedures is replacing most of the thinking jobs.

    The only jobs left will be "creative" jobs. Where the creative part of your jobs is less than half of your job- look for outsourcing. And about, oh, at least half of the global population isn't well suited for creative jobs since they are (by definition) below average intelligence.

    Either a free stuff utopia or some kind of really terrible future is just down the road.
    Hopefully after I'm dead of course.

    • by blue trane (110704) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:02PM (#47395979) Homepage Journal

      Free stuff utopia. Government provides a basic income to all who want it, financed at zero cost through the Fed. Biz pays whatever low wages it wants so there's no wage-price spiral. Challenges stimulate individuals to innovate disruptively on their own without having to work for a business (unless they want to). Standards of living rise faster, there is more leisure time, and poverty is eliminated.

    • by Livius (318358)

      Creativity is not related to intelligence.

      But you probably do need above average creativity to make a living from it, so that still leaves half the planet without career options.

    • Who says that the free stuff "utopia" is not the terrible future.
      • Who says that the free stuff "utopia" is not the terrible future.

        The term you are looking for is "distopia". See: 1984, Animal Farm, Hunger Games, Brave New World, and Agenda 21, for starters.

    • Yeah, if you try to explain to the average person how close we are to mass unemployment with just one breakthrough in AI they generally shrug or say "yeah, but a computer can't do my job."

      If our economy doesn't want to change, then I'm just going to be sure to make it "onto the ark". The global economy is not going to correct itself IMO. It would require such a large commitment to fundamental change from everybody that I expect the current trend to continue. If people don't want the system that oppresse

    • by aralin (107264)

      I'm sorry to say, but if I am to automate some jobs, I will probably start with the creative ones. In most creative works, those can be distilled to sequences of elements from a fairly small set (notes, words), there are reasonable constraints to limit the possible space, those rules can be deduced by a neural networks, the results can be easily tested.

      If you want to keep your job, pick one with fairly simple procedure but large space of ever changing exceptions with few discernible patterns.

      • by khallow (566160)

        In most creative works, those can be distilled to sequences of elements from a fairly small set (notes, words), there are reasonable constraints to limit the possible space, those rules can be deduced by a neural networks, the results can be easily tested.

        Give it a try then, if it's so easy to do.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        I think this has already happened. Most "creative" movies, TV shows and advertising are so derivative and trite that they could have been written by a hacked up Eliza bot.

    • by superdude72 (322167) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:01PM (#47396655)

      And about, oh, at least half of the global population isn't well suited for creative jobs since they are (by definition) below average intelligence.

      I wouldn't equate falling below the 50th percentile in IQ with inability to do anything but the most menial work. First, because I don't think intelligence should be defined that narrowly, and second, because it's fucking insulting. The vast majority of workers displaced by technology are not incapable of doing other work. They just lost a game of musical chairs, and there are huge obstacles for anyone trying to get back in the game.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      So...something like this? [memory-alpha.org]
    • by Salgat (1098063)
      This is why outsourcing is a good thing; it systematically eliminates poverty throughout the world. I'm an American but outsourcing has allowed family in China to have a chance at being middle class. I guess what it comes down to is that as long as people out there are seriously benefiting from this, maybe it's a good thing. Yes people lose their $80,000/year jobs, but on the same hand hundreds of millions in impoverished nations are building a strong middle class and enjoying a life where they might have a
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:54PM (#47395931)

    Not all H-1Bs are bad. I have seen talent from Europe and the UK brought in because they are just fscking phenomenal. Their specialization was extremely important. However, these days, H-1B workers are just hauled in because they are cheap, easy to kick around, and disappear when done, such as a company that changes the developers out every 89 days.

    One place I worked at hired a lot of H-1Bs, and the reason for it is that "Americans sabotage and sue, foreign workers can be trusted far more. Ever see a H-1B tie us up in courts?" Every place I have seen that has H-1Bs has bragged about their quality above native talent. Cognitive dissonance? Same companies that brag about that have at best a mediocre end product.

    The ironic thing is that this cheapness causes damage in ways that the management drones don't even think about. I've worked with H-1Bs who were copying entire source code trees onto removable media. As soon as they went home, all that code would be theirs to do whatsoever they wanted. The CAD files and formula timings? All theirs to use, free of charge once they got home. As soon as they left US soil, NDAs didn't apply to them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:56PM (#47395949)

    I've got no problem with immigrants that are "taking american jobs" if they are more skilled. I do however, have a problem if they are being paid substantially less than me. If they are that good they should be paid at least as much if not more than their american counter parts.

    That would solve the "shortage" really quick.

    • Thats really not realistic as a public policy position, however. It would be much easier politically to kill the H1B program than it would be to do wage controls. Thats why killing the H1B program is what must happen. We dont need it, all it is doing is putting hard working American IT workers out on the street. I think what we need to do is create PACs and such to advocate for abolishment of the H1B program and to do battle with Mark Fuckerberg and other anti-american worker jackasses.

  • As far as I'm concerned there's a shortage. I've been trying to hire developers for multiple high-compensation positions in NYC. Truly smart/capable/motivated people are not looking for jobs. They are already employed.

    Don't get me wrong, there are many people looking who think they're qualified. I just don't agree. I'm not even looking for particular skills or experience. Just people who are genuinely into technology.
    • Well pushing tech, tech, tech to everybody and their grandmother does create a glut of workers, but it does not necessarily get you any more truly competent workers (or get you any more people interested in anything other than the salary). In fact the glut of incompetence might actually ruin a few ones with potential.
    • I've been trying to hire developers for multiple high-compensation positions in NYC.

      So post it here.

      Truly smart/capable/motivated people are not looking for jobs. They are already employed.

      Yes. Usually. So you have to offer them something MORE than they have at their current job to make them willing to take a risk on a new job.

      I'm not even looking for particular skills or experience. Just people who are genuinely into technology.

      Yeah. You might want to re-evaluate your criteria.

      At least narrow it down to w

      • by psperl (1704658)
        I think you've missed the point. There is no glut of competent workers. There is no conspiracy by large tech firms to drive down wages by hiring incompetent foreigners or off-shoring. The "foreigners" or H1-B's that I've got employed are the elite of their respective countries, and are paid based on their skill. You could call it a tragedy that they are working for me and not helping their home country compete in the international market.

        Not all businesses allow you to post jobs to Slashdot, although
        • If you have jobs, we're all ears. A lot of us are unemployed yet highly capable software engineers. Do you have an email to send my resume?
        • by khasim (1285)

          I think you've missed the point.

          I think I nailed the point. YOU claim that YOU cannot find people to hire for a position that YOU cannot identify or even characterize. Is it programming? Is it networking?

          There is no glut of competent workers.

          Any yet YOU cannot characterize the position that YOU claim YOU have open except:

          I'm not even looking for particular skills or experience. Just people who are genuinely into technology.

          So you will train people who are not currently qualified ... but there isn't anyone

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      Your comment and the first response kinda paints the picture. NYC and Seattle. Two places I have no desire to live. The cost of living in NYC would mean I'd have to double my current salary to maintain my current standard of living and it's too crowded. Seattle is nice but again it costs more to live there and...winter. The reason companies can't find skilled workers in the US is they aren't looking in the US they're looking on the East and West coast.
  • by lusid1 (759898) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:12PM (#47396021)

    Word substitution is a common ESL problem.

  • by MetricT (128876) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @09:12PM (#47396341) Homepage

    I can't buy a Ferrari for $100, by the same logic, that means there *must* be a Ferrari shortage! Something must be done!!!

    Hint: reward good people, and you won't have problems finding good people. The problem is these miserly capitalist/MBA types who feel tech types are getting all "uppity" for wanting a decent salary for their 4 year STEM degree and often 2-6 years of grad school to boot, because doing that takes away from their quarterly bonus.

    • I can't buy a Ferrari for $100, by the same logic, that means there *must* be a Ferrari shortage! Something must be done!!!

      I can agree to that!

    • Class conflict (Score:4, Insightful)

      by swb (14022) on Monday July 07, 2014 @07:53AM (#47398335)

      I think there's an obvious class conflict when it comes to STEM fields. Wages are high enough that it challenges the corporate class structure that dictates what field should be paid more than other fields.

      My wife works in marketing for a company that makes an engineered product and we had a fairly heated discussion about this once. Without thinking about the implications, she actually said that marketing was more important than engineering and marketing should always be paid more. Raising engineering salaries above some ceiling wasn't an option.

      Now, my wife isn't a mean spirited snob but I think she genuinely meant this and I think it reflects the class consciousness in corporate thinking.

      Strangely I never see this mentioned in articles about H1-Bs and STEM workers. It always seems to devolve into an unresolvable debate involving conflicting macoeconomic labor statistics.

  • I live in Canada, and we're going through something similar with a 'temporary foreign workers program'. Workers are brought in from other countries because people aren't willing to work for the salaries that the employers deem affordable... that's not how a free market works... is it?
    The Canadian government has been put on the spot to the point, that they actually have to act on behalf of Canadian WORKERS, rather than employers.

    Keeping fighting to keep this issue current and in the news. It's terrible
  • Ban need degree and ban degree for X school.

    also if you want have more Hb1's then get rid of student loans.

    also medical care for all

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @09:55PM (#47396603)
    For the1H-B workers, the irony is that as soon as they get their green card, or even eventual citizenship. they face the same job discrimination faced by US residents. As soon as you have a stake in the US, they don't want you as a skilled worker.

    American capitalism hates American workers. They put greed above all, even the sustainability of the US economy. Why the hell are we putting up with this?

  • so they don't have to pay for the added cost of health care that is not needed with temps / Hb1's

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:50PM (#47396893)

    Maybe CO is a bubble, but from what I see there is a MASSVE shortage of people. My company tried for almost a year to find good tech people. Begged, scrounged, tried to poach, nada. The jobs may not be the best paying, ~$120k/year, but that's pretty decent I think. 6/10 applicants are Indians, 2/10 are chinese and 2/10 are American. I've been involved in some of the interviewing, searching, hiring, ...

    Out of those,
    The Chinese folks seem to have their ducks in a row. They ain't great on the innovation part and you have to spent a LOT of time steering them, but at least they work hard.

    The Indians spend most of their time emailing management about how awesome they (the Indians) are, rather than doing any actual work.

    The Americans seem to be stuck in the glory days of post-WWII when America didn't have any real competition (rest of the world was smoldering ashes) so they now seem allergic to the concept of hard work. Ladies and Gentlemen, office/IT/tech work does not mean you don't have to WORK! and no, you are not harder workers than the rest of the world or more innovative or more irreplacable. Get off your asses!, > 2 hrs of real work a day is NOT asking too much. Crist, walk around and all you see is facebook or amazon accounts on people's machines.

    It's awful! It took a full year to finally find just a couple good people. We also picked up some fresh grads and interns (looking towards the future), but greenhornes take several years to spin up.

    You know the funny/frustrating part? The resume's of 9/10 of those above will be about 80% the same. Everyone thinks they have unique skills, but honestly, you don't. Showing that you can actually work hard sets you apart, but precious few people actually go that route.

    No, I'm not management. I'm just another tech geek. Lest you think otherwise, all that above applies to management as much as it does to workers.
    Yes, I'm anonymous because I have coworkers who browse here and I don't want to get hassled.

    Hate it if you want, ignore it if you want, agree with it if you want, that's what I see in my corner of the US.

  • Doubled local-cost tariffs on the following;

    Imported Labor
    Exported Labor

    Oh, you want to send a position overseas? What's the current market rate again? 80k/yr?
    So you want to pay 10 people a combined total of 1.6m/yr vs. 800k/yr?

    You cannot find any local talent that can do the job? Fine. You should have no issues paying the premium of local market salary x2 to bring someone in from out of country that can do it.

  • The companies complain that they don't like the expense of hiring skilled workers. In a way that demonstrates equality as they also hate paying for unskilled workers. So one way or another they want to import workers who will work and eat cat food and sleep in a ditch. Then the companies complain that nobody loves them. When someone doesn't want to play nice only fools play nice in return.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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