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No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say 401

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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  • 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
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:51PM (#47395915)

    What about the large number of job descriptions that are written up that essentially no single individual could fill? You know what I mean, postings that have 15 required disparate skills, with 5+ years experience in each?

    Then these companies use the lack of qualified applicants as an excuse to go shopping overseas. Let's face it, the number of companies pulling this kind of stunt FAR outweigh the number of "think they're super-awesome and really aren't" employees.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:19,000 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:12PM (#47396015)

    If you are going to do business in America, then you need to hire Americans. Otherwise don't expect the benefit of doing business in our economy. Don't reap the rewards of safety and US government sponsorship if you aren't going to contribute to our economy by hiring local. Stop being leeches.

  • by lusid1 ( 759898 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:12PM (#47396021)

    Word substitution is a common ESL problem.

  • by jacobsm ( 661831 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:33PM (#47396121)

    Total BS. I'd take a American IT worker with an inflated ego over a corporate bean counter any day. I've been in the IT field since 1979, and trust me, I'm an expert in my speciality. They might be able to replace me with someone and pay then 1/2 of what I make, but they're not going to get my skillset.

    Knowing what to do when things are going along swimmingly is easy. When the shit hits the fan, getting the corporate mainframe back running in minutes rather than hours, or G-d forbid days is worth every penny they pay me. I know it, the people who've been working with me for *mumble* years know it.

    A bean counter, I doubt it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:46PM (#47396207)

    1/3 the wage for 1/20 the functionality.

    I see management issues driving this rather than true economics. First, managers count dollars per headcount, totally ignoring dollars per successful project. Second, if management has more people reporting to them then management uses it as justification for promotions for themselves. Third, it's slave labor that management can abuse, force to work unpaid hours, and can't escape to a better job. Abuse is far easier than skill and results.

  • Re:19,000 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duhavid ( 677874 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:51PM (#47396239)

    "company's best interests"

    Does that company want to sell it's product at "American" prices? Then it needs people ( customers, you know ) that *earn* "American" wages.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:53PM (#47396243)

    You and everyone else saying they can't find people, post your actual jobs offers and we'll tell you why we don't want to work for you or how you could improve the ad to find us.

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

    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.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @09:27PM (#47396423)

    easy to get multiple masters degrees when you don't have to pay for them or need skills other then being able to cram for tests

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @09:35PM (#47396463) Homepage

    It's not that the new support staff is incompetent and useless. It's that your company's executives are incompetent and useless.

  • 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 Biff Stu ( 654099 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:13PM (#47396747)

    The best and brightest US students go to the top schools--Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech, Berkeley, etc. At Podunk U, they need to recruit overseas to get the indentured servants, a.k.a. grad students, to do the research and teach the undergrads.

  • Re:19,000 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:20PM (#47396775) Homepage Journal

    But not elsewhere. So why in the wide wide world of sports would they hire American's? It just doesn't make any sense. It is not life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and a guaranteed 6 figure income. That is not how any of this works.

    How come all the shills in this thread defending hiring 3rd world workers for 1st world company jobs are all Anonymous Cowards? Are they all Social Media Strategists for ManPower and Infosys? Just asking.

    It probably will not go over well in this venue, but I just don't see how people can get so worked up at companies for doing what's in the company's best interests

    Well part of the issue is that often times it is clearly not in the company's best interest - certainly not in the long term, and even more often not if the company relies on any decent level of customer satisfaction to survive and compete.

    There's a reason they don't want to hire American's, and it's because they cost too much. The fact that people in other countries are lining up to do the same work for cheap is concrete proof that it isn't as difficult work as you think.

    And yet, clearly, they are NOT doing the same work. Sure, they're lining up - with worthless 3rd world degrees handed out from a corrupt system and paper qualifications that make them appear qualified while they can't figure out how to poor piss out of a boot with instructions on the heel.

    Recent labor statistics show that productivity in the US has dropped significantly in the last few years. Want to know why? American workers replaced with cheap labor. It's been happening for more than 5 years, but the results are now starting to be felt in the labor market as a whole.

    There is no getting around the fact that you can find skilled workers from anywhere, and you will find paper-qualified workers that are incompetent boobs from anywhere, but I've been in IT for a long time, and the fact is, if you want decent skills, you have to pay for it. Period.

  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:51PM (#47396899)

    It also filters out workers unwilling to lie.

  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:54PM (#47397193)
    Employers are not slaveowners. While it's not a trivial thing, an H1B visa owner can transfer to another job. And most probably will, if an employer refuses to start Green Card processing. And contrary to Slashdot's opinion, lots of employers in IT are not bottom-feeding scum and they actually want to help people to relocate to the US without fear of being forced to move in case of visa expiration.
  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:04AM (#47397751)
    It is hard to find good developers anywhere. However, you have a much larger pool if you include overseas developers.
  • To put things in perspective - the old owners had plants in 5 different states. Each of the other plants consistently lost money. Our plant consistently MADE MONEY, despite mismanagement. Quarter after quarter, the accountants posted profits from our plant. In effect, we carried four other money losing plants for years. The owners could never bring themselves to unload the money losers, instead taking the profits we earned to shore up the other plants. They followed that policy until bankruptcy put them out of the game completely.

    Were any of those plants making key inputs for yours? If they were, and it wasn't practical to consolidate that function, then closing them down would have crippled you. Which individual plants make money is one thing, but where there's internal transfer of items between units of the business, the value attached to those items is fairly nominal in practice; it's the overall business that really makes the profit or the loss.

    Or maybe they're just incompetent fucks. That could be true too. Hard to say without the full facts, but the fact that bankruptcy hit is strongly indicative.

  • 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.

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