Would A Skill Ranking, Rather Than A Lottery, Solve The H-1B Visa Problem?

from the only-a-little-bit dept

With the applications for H-1B visas immediately outstripping the Congressionally mandated supply, the "winners" will be chosen by a random lottery that is supposed to be "fair." But, as some are pointing out, that doesn't really make sense for H-1Bs. The whole program was designed to bring in the most skilled workers and get them to work for American companies, contributing to our economy. So, why not create a system that lets them in based on skill level? That's the question asked by a rather balanced Business Week piece, which also notes that recent research has shown "skilled immigrants boost the economy and create jobs."

While ranking people based on skill certainly is better than a pure random lottery, it still has its problems. Figuring out who's higher skilled is tricky -- and the suggestions on the table will favor large companies over small and may give too much weight to mediocre candidates who graduate from top schools over top candidates who graduate from mediocre schools. In the end, as even the author notes, the real issue shouldn't be focused on the details of the H-1B program, but on figuring out ways to get more skilled immigrants into the US, helping to build out the economy and create more jobs. That certainly could involve overhauling the H-1B program -- which clearly has far too many abuses -- but it shouldn't involve keeping foreign skilled workers out of the country. That's a recipe for disaster, that will shrink the job market, by having some of the best workers competing against American firms, rather than working for American firms.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Tim Josling, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 3:40am

    Another idea

    How about prioritizing by the salary to be paid to the worker - highest salaries first. That should be a pretty good indication of his or her value to the employer. It would also reduce the potential for undercutting US workers' salaries.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      A Former H1-B holder, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 4:13am

      Re: Another idea

      I came in to comment just to propose the same idea. There is no better metric of candidate value than initial salary, and that would choke of many H1-B body-shops that survive on playing the salary leverage (and yes they do exist).

      A former H1-B holder.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Alexio, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:41am

      Re: Another idea

      It sounds like a generally good idea, if not for the same argument: it will certainly favor larger corporations.

      Most of the tech startups are unable to match the perks the big ones can shell out.

      US workers still joining them for less money, but more options and other less certain future payouts. How that can be weighted in the visa issue decision making?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Gunnar, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 4:42am

    Basing it on salary just means companies with the most cash will get all of the visas.

    They should be based on a variety of points. Salary, skill, specialization and need should all be weighed.

    But really, any system would be better than a lottery.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      ex-EA-programmer, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 1:24pm

      Re:

      So what if the companies with the most cash end up with all of the Visas? If this is really about needing to search the world for talent then it should be a game based on big money. A talent that is worth importing from abroad should be expensive. Someone worth importing should come with a premium price rather than appearing as someone in some form of indentured servitiude when compared to less qualified and better paid Americans.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Nyle, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 4:47am

    Total fallacy

    How about hiring the skilled Americans who are already here and have the technical skills necessary, at a salary that is commesurate with their experience. Instead of allowing workers in from overseas who are often willing to work for less.

    Also, without a skills requirement, how can you claim that you are letting in skilled workers to begin with?

    Right now the tech. industry already takes advantage of the large number of people entering the field. Now flood it with additional workers from overseas and you can depress the salaries of the entire industry. Which will do little to stimulate the economy in the long term, when additional students decide to not enter the IT field to begin with due to low salaries.

    I challenge the entire idea that there is a shortage of skilled IT workers to begin with.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Alexio, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:50am

      Re: Total fallacy

      Does hiring a CEO of GE to run local McDonalds branch (and paying him CEO-sized salary) makes sense to you?

      I am pretty sure that there are a number of local IT professionals looking for a job and the only reason they don’t have one is that either their demands are too high for the actual job reqs, or their skills are not convertible.

      Sad, but true: hi-tech field changes very fast and unless you can catch the trend and constantly evolve to stay competitive and desired, one can end up overqualified with skills which are no longer in demand.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Vincent Clement, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:51am

      Re: Total fallacy

      Usually if one challenges an idea, they backup that challenge with evidence?

      All the evidence I have seen (via a simple Google search "IT salaries") indicates that IT salaries are increasing faster than inflation.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Joe, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:34am

      Re: Total fallacy

      This has nothing to do with IT workers...it has to deal with highly educated foriegn born individuals who are ahead of the game in regard to their education/experience and have something to offer the economy.

      Has nothing to do with replacing american workers...Also if you think about it and if they brought in IT specialists from foriegn countries (which doesn't take that much training) and we soaked up all the IT jobs in the US, wouldn't those dollars still be in the US, rather then funding a higher life of living overseas...mainly in india?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

        Re: Re: Total fallacy

        This very much is about replacing american workers. Companies have abused the H1B system in the past to do just this. They did this because they percieved that there was a cost savings benefit to the process.

        The bar needs to be set higher. There are much more important professions that are waitlisted. Meanwhile, we import IT support drones that have no special characteristics. They aren't "ahead of the game", they're just cheaper.

        Fine, import people if we really need to. That's a big part of what America has been about. If someone is important enough to import then they should be important enough to be imported with no strings attached. They should be free to compete and move around just like any other American worker.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Durrr Genxy, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:01am

    How about

    We teach Americans skills and not have 7.8 million Americans unemployed while we bring in outside help to diminish an already narrow industry band.

    People should be fighting to be so good we bring them over, not us being so desperate to find someone who isnt a business major or a college duhploma (joke) holder we are the ones fighting to bring in skill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Joe, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:37am

      Re: How about

      This doesn't make a lot of sense. People are scrambling to come over, there are more applicants than VISAs to give out. These highly skilled workers can vary from high level scientists working with DNA, to Corporate accountants balancing budgets, to highly skilled programmers...there is no one field that these applicants all fall into.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      mobiGeek, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 9:45am

      Re: How about

      - how many of those workers are WILLING to be retrained?
      - how many have the capacity (or are willing to put in the effort) to adapt to the changed work environment?
      - does eliminating the import of 65000 H1B visas have any measurable impact on 7.8 million ?
      - do any of these retrained 7.8 million offer the economic growth and new employment opportunities that we've seen from H1B visa holders?

      There are jobs available. There are (re)training opportunities available. Corporations aren't looking abroad because they want to ignore their neighbours...they are doing it because they haven't been able to hire their neighbours.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 11:56am

      Re: How about

      How many of the 7.8 million "unemployed" have a high school education or less? How many are stay at home mothers that do not need to work? And how many make a living by selling drugs? That removes a lot of people from that grouping and even more when you account for "skilled workers".

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jake, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:21am

    Here's an idea. Why not, before doing anything else, look for ways of shutting up the "No niggers, no Jews, no [every other racist slur you can think of]" brigade in order to have a cool-headed and sensible debate about how many immigrants with what level of skill the US economy can take before hitting the point of diminishing returns?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Another ex-H1-B holder, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:23am

    Salary and exam?

    In 2004, I had been working in London, then transferred to New York and took a pay cut. An average exchange rate over the previous 3 years was used against me, resulting in about a 20% cut in wages, with the dollar continuing to devalue over the following three years (thereby shafting me further).

    I had skills and prior knowledge and experience that the company in particular drastically required. I think that as a dometic employee I would have been paid considerably better. Thanks the product of the Land Of The Free To Fuck Others!

    I would argue that the richest companies who pay the highest salaries typically get the higher skilled domestic workers anyway, so why shouldn't the H1-B allocation be rated on salary too? This would ensure that the worker was skilled (and put the onus on the employing company to ensure this), but also increase the US tax income better than a low-paid worker, not to mention put more spending power in the hand of the new consumer.

    Additionally, why not have examinations for various fields of expertise as a part of the application process. This would help companies get what they're paying for, and also provide jobs for the people writing the exams too. Can't harm, surely?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      mobiGeek, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 9:53am

      Re: Salary and exam?

      If they drastically required it, why didn't you demand more money?

      If you didn't like the salary offered, why take the job?

      Land of the Free to Fuck Others...how were you forced into being...er...taken advantage of?

      How does any of your decision to accept somebody's lower valuation of your position (apparently against basic economic forces) play into the H1B discussion?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:26am

    American and the

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:32am

    America and the "Lack" of workers

    If there is, truly indeed a shortage of skilled workers, I see no reason why the US can't invest money into our own education systems.
    I brought this point up the last time there was a topic like this but I do not think that it was much responded to.
    I see this time around a couple others have already mentioned it.

    And, the way some people are running the US right now, I am not so sure that having more jobs created elsewhere is a bad thing anymore. It will give us some place nice to go once it is beyond repair here.
    Although, I still think we can save our country.

    Mike, question, why is it set so that enter button automatically submits when in the subject line? Or is that because I am using the poopy IE6 that I am forced to here?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Alexio, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:57am

      Re: America and the "Lack" of workers

      I am afraid, that might take some time. As of now, the basic educational system in US is so strongly biased towards social disciplines, that it is hard to expect a high yield of science oriented professionals in foreseeable future.

      Hence US will produce great managers, lawyers etc in mass, but not that much of an entry level Ajax programmers. You should see what basic technical education in India, China etc looks like to realize the differences.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      SomeGuy, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:04am

      Re: America and the "Lack" of workers

      First, America does not and will not have a monopoly of skilled workers in the world, no matter how much money you dump into the education system. What's more, tech start-ups trying to get off the ground now will not survive long enough to benefit from results of educational reform. Nevermind that it would take significant time, money, and other resources to develop a method of fixing what's wrong with our current educational system. You can't just throw money at it and figure that's enough.

      The point being, yeah, we need to fix our education. But that doesn't mean we should stop admitting skilled workers from elswhere, and it will never be the case that *all* skilled workers will be from our country.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      ToySouljah, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 5:49pm

      Re: America and the "Lack" of workers

      I totally agree with better education since the US is severely lacking in this area (look how far behind we are compared to say Japan for instance). If the education system in the US was revamped and more money was spent on educational programs, higher salaries for educators (they are very under payed for what they do), and also with parental counseling (so the parents can help the children at home as well). We need to start with the foundation for our future (our children) and stop outsourcing and selling this country out.

      Additional funding could be easily accomplished by reallocating the funds from the so called "war on drugs" which is a complete waste of money and resources in my opinion. That program should be eliminated and have Americas "drug problem" handled for what it really is...a medical problem. Yes, if someone is caught committing a crime to support their habit then punish them for the crime they committed, but not for their addiction. That's what rehab is for...as part of their sentence they should have to pay and attend rehab as part of restitution to alleviate the high upfront cost. But that is a whole different article that needs to be written...lol.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Celes, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

      Re: America and the "Lack" of workers

      The US may be able to invest more money into the education system, but I doubt it would do a lot to actually improve the education of our students. At least on the local level, the more money my city sinks into its schools, the worse it seems the children are doing. I don't think money is the problem as far as education goes.

      Back on track, you have a point: if the problem is a lack of skilled American workers, creating skilled workers here seems to be the natural long-term solution. But what to do in the meantime? The technology of the rest of the world won't wait for us to catch up, and I think the H-1B program is a good thing in the interim. I wonder, if salary alone is an unfair criterion, perhaps there would be a way to weight it and take the size/available funds of the company into consideration?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Henry Ford, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:08am

    US Workers Overpaid.

    To Nyle (and others of same point of view), you state: "How about hiring the skilled Americans who are already here and have the technical skills necessary, at a salary that is commesurate with their experience. Instead of allowing workers in from overseas who are often willing to work for less."

    You don't see the point. If lower paid skilled workers are not allowed into the country, then the work will leave the country and go to the skilled workers at their third world location who work at a lower salary. In the first scenario, you just get paid less: second scenario, your company goes under and you lose your job.

    Either way, you have to accept the fact that if these workers exist, no company in their right mind will pay an amount what you consider "commensurate to their experience". That is just a way of saying they are overpaid in the global market. Accept it.

    Not to worry though, soon the US will be a third world country.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    angry dude, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:19am

    Here we go again...

    Just another uninformed ignorant tripe from Mikey who doesn't have a clue about anything, be it US patent system or US immigration policy

    Did you see the recent job requirements as far as SKILLZZ are concerned Mikey ?

    Just go to dice.com and see the shit for yourself

    How about a laundry list of some 15-20 different comp languages and technologies without any system of classification or industry standard whatsoever

    AS I told you before, Mikey, the tech industry is f****** in this country and nothing can save it
    (What I mean here is that there is no reason for any american kid to major in CS or EE - just a f****** waste of time and money to end up on the street with no job)
    Don't worry bout KOrporations, start worrying about people, Mikey

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      mobiGeek, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 9:57am

      Re: Here we go again...

      So you are in favour of closing up boarders, putting in artificial barriers to competition, and forcing employers to accept individuals who aren't taking their own initiatives to keep abreast of skill trends and have compensation expectations inline with the global trend.

      ...and you agree that customers should be forced to pay more for items even though they obviously can be made more efficiently and cost effectively?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    AJ, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:31am

    Allow H1B workers to switch jobs

    Most people forget that when an H1B worker comes into the country, he/she is pretty much tied to the company who sponsored his/her visa.

    If the worker wants to switch jobs, he/she has to get a brand new H1 visa, which many times is not possible. As a result, the company that sponsored the visa gets undue leverage on the worker which they use to keep the salary below the market for that worker. This is how the companies manipulate the H1B visa program to get cheaper labor.

    The crux of the problem is the companies having undue leverage on the worker. Get rid of that. Let the H1B worker switch jobs like any other worker and in a short time the low salaries will come to an end.

    It is very interesting to see how the politicians and the companies have created a class of legalized undentured servitude in the land of the free.

    How many of the patriotic americans understand this problem and want to fix it? Fix that and that will fix the H1B problems.

    --AJ

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      mobiGeek, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 11:43am

      Re: Allow H1B workers to switch jobs

      You are assuming that the problem with the H1B visa program is around companies abusing the system to bring in lower-paid employees.

      First, I don't see much non-anecdotal evidence to that end.

      Second, we're only talking about ~65000 jobs. Even if these individuals are coming in at substantially lower salaries, their impact on the salary rate at their sponsor corporations will barely make an impact, and will have ZERO effect on the general economy of the US workforce.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:44am

    I believe they should also take into consideration the history of the H1 cases for the employer - If they all their h1 seem to return back without completing 6 yrs here they may be a off shorer. If all their H1s seem to leave, they may be a body shopper etc etc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonmouse, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    H1B

    The point is try to attain stratification within the American workforce. We dont all have to make 120 grand a year. When I was younger and programming in middleschool and highschool I would have killed to make 15 an hour. and as I only needed 1 hour of sleep a night apparently, I could have gotten a lot of work done.

    We have too many aforementioned CS majors walking out with 120grand in debt freaking out and thinknig they know something valuable that will repay that debt.

    Also, I used to work in a government H1B shop. They can change a job every 6 months for the first 2 years or something and then they get deported if they leave after that and have to have a green card to be able to move again.

    I should probably verify that by looking it up, but thats what they said. You aren't perma-locked into slavery the second you get here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    James, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 7:19am

    Nothings perfect...

    ...but, the H1B cap seems like a good idea. Rating and allowing in workers by skill level or salary attainability on the surface sounds good, but basically assures only the very advanced workers and companies w/deep pockets take advantage of it; in IT you need many levels of developers.

    America should hire its own first. Period. Of course companies don't want to pay the costs, but they never do... ask any of them whats your biggest expense? Payroll. Its true of all of their deparments not just IT, so they shouldn't have an out in IT no more than they should in marketing, executives or whatever.

    Additionally, until a person fully emigrates there are cultural differences that cannot be accurately explained (in short) in relation to styles of coding (as far as software development goes). This is VERY important because most companies expect results from their IT staff and not canned code that has to be "managed" or read/tweaked by others to meet the business needs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    wasnt me, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 7:21am

    how hard could it be to get a list of jobs/skills that are lacking in a country.

    Canada does it (i know most Americans don't see Canada as a real country) but point is they work on a point system some skills give more points than other and that is how they accept or deny the immigration applications.

    I assumed most if not all countries do that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Henry Ford., Apr 24th, 2008 @ 7:28am

    US Workers Overpaid

    To James ... you stated "America should hire its own first. Period. Of course companies don't want to pay the costs, but they never do".

    What you really should be saying is that the companies WILL pay the (global market) cost, but the US workers don't want to accept what they consider low payment. The US workers over value themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      angry dude, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 7:50am

      Re: US Workers Overpaid

      Shoot yourself in the foot, little punk

      If korporations want to offshore their development and manufactoring, fine, make them pay stiff tariffs when they import their shit back to US
      If they want to use cheap servants from India or elsewhere make them (korps) pay more than it would cost them to hire local candidates with equivalent experience
      That's how you know there is real shortage
      There is no f***** shortage of tech workers in this country
      Unemployed IT workers litter the streets of America
      Wake up, folks
      This years is not just bad, it is BAAAAAAAAAAD for IT
      Trust me on this, I'be seen the rise and decline of IT in America (made some bucks too)
      It is in decline now and it will only accelerate with agressive offshoring and more glut of skilled people on the market
      And Billy Gates and Co, still want to bring in more foreigns slaves

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        James, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 8:16am

        Re: Re: US Workers Overpaid

        Angry dude chill.. LOL, although I agree w/you on some level. All these years I keep hearing about offshoring I knew that it would truly never amount to much.

        Its too difficult and cumbersome to work properly. Time and cultural differences make it a big PITA to get a project done properly, on time and without involving the developers you already have on staff. And guess what.. if you already have to involve the people you already hire, why not just have them do it?? Sheez.. what a concept.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      James, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 8:12am

      Re: US Workers Overpaid

      No Henry, you're wrong. Americans, for the most part I'd say, LIVE and WORK and SPEND MONEY... in America. They live and die by the capitalistic system which drives our ecomony, and the work of developers and IT staff earn a wage (generally) commensurate w/their experience and the type of work they do and their cost of living. Of course, other countries pay less.. the cost of living an 3rd world country is much much less.. and companies won't pay a dime more than that which they think they can get away.

      The main problem I've seen is non-IT people who have no inkling how to work a computer (Mr. Stevens-Interweb-Tubes, you have a call on line 1) deciding that because you do and you make what you do look easy that somehow it MUST be easy and you therefore do not deserve a salary higher than an administrative flunky.

      In my own personal experience, I get some enjoyment out of watching people who do not want to pay to get a proper website done, suffer w/a crappy one.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re: US Workers Overpaid

        Point One: Stevens made an incredibly poor presentation, but if you sit and think about it "a series of tubes" is a fairly good analogy for the internet. You have wires and routers and queues and it does take an amount of time for the electrical currents to propagate down. It's fun to poke fun at a stuttering old congressman talking about teh intarwebs, but it's wrong to pretend like he was way out in left field.

        Point Two: If America were the only nexus of IT work, you might have something of a point arguing about salaries and the like, and you definitely have a point with "you get what you pay for" regarding web site design (though I'm not sure that qualifies as 'highly-skilled IT work'). The problem is that we HAVE to look at the global economy, because everyone is going to look to cut costs. If American IT workers are expensive, American companies are either going to hire cheaper foreign labor, OR they're going to be over-priced on the global market. If they can't get clients, they won't be able to pay salaries to ANYONE and they will go out of business. American companies going out of business is bad for American IT workers.

        If they DO higher foreighn workers and thus cut costs and thus get clients, their business will grow. Growth means more jobs, and more jobs helps American IT workers. Not everyone can or will higher forgeign workers, especially as demand for them (and thus the cost to get them) rises.

        American IT workers have to realize this and have to be willing to accept salaries relative to the *global* market. Otherwise we will fail.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    robert, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    auction them off

    If the idea of the H1-B is to fill jobs where the need is the highest, measuring that need is, essentially, the gap between what a company would pay an American versus what a company would pay a foreigner. In an auction of H1-Bs, the company would be willing to pay up to that gap.

    So, if a company needs a neuroscientist, and the American neuroscientist is charging $300,000 a year, but they can hire an Indian one for $100,000, then the company would be willing to pay $200,000 for the visa. Another company who wants to bring in an Indian code-slinger for $50,000, even though they can hire an American one for $150,000, would only be willing to pay $100,000.

    The auction would be a Dutch auction, so everyone would pay the same price for the visa. And, let's say, small companies (employees of 50 or less) would get a $50,000 head-start in the auction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 9:10am

      Re: auction them off

      That misses part of the point of being able to bring in skilled labor from other countries. The problem with all these schemes -- and the problem with limiting H1-Bs in general -- is that you're artificially restricting the supply and pumping up demand. This means that the costs for companies is higher than it *should* be, and in order to cover those costs they need to raise the price on their services. If Company A in American charges $100M and Company B in India charges $25M *for the same service*, who is going to get customers? And when all of the work for Company A dries up and the company goes out of business, how many Americans are going to lose their jobs?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Henry Ford, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 7:57am

    US Workers Overpriced

    Robert, that is not valid.

    If an American neuroscientist is charging $300K and an Indian (and global market) one is $100K, and lets say for this case they have the same skill levels, then it is just clear that the US neuroscientist is just overpriced. Would you buy a bare Ford Focus for $60K, or would you pay $300 per mo for regular ISP access, probably not. So why should a company pay $200K more?

    However, if the US neuroscientist is charging $300K while his skill level equivalent in India (and ROTW) is charging $300K, then the value of that person IS $300K. What determines the value is what the companies will pay. If a company sees an equivalent skill value for $200K less, why would you expect a company to pay the higher price?

    The US worker just does not seem to get it. They are over priced and over value themselves. Unless they wake up and realize their true value, their jobs will be exported.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      angry dude, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 8:10am

      Re: US Workers Overpriced

      Dude,

      Your value is 3.36 per hour
      http://www.supportresort.com/

      Doesn't get you big mac anymore but still can get a kids meal

      yeah, that's the future of IT:
      Some habib or rajiv cranking up code or managing servers and routers from his little mudhouse in the swamps on India
      Great future
      Tell your kids to major in CS, will ya ?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        mobiGeek, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re: US Workers Overpriced

        IF someone else can do the same work for a substantially lower price, why should my customers pay ME more money? Simply because I live next door to them?

        My CUSTOMERS have to see VALUE in paying me the prices I'm demanding (price of product correlating substantially with salaries when it comes to services...and IT/software for the most part is a service).

        Forcing Americans (in this case) to pay higher prices by artificially supporting higher wages isn't exactly inline with "the american way".

        Screw free market capitalism, I want to force unionized mentality to support an over priced workforce?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          angry dude, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 11:20am

          Re: Re: Re: US Workers Overpriced

          mudak,

          this has nothing to do with "free market"

          free market only exists when you have a local supply and local demand balance each other
          with over 2 bil people in India and China alone living for a dayly wage that just buys you a hamburger here in good old USA, there is potential unlimited supply of cheap slaves to outstrip any demand no matter how high

          Like I said: IT is dead and nothing can save it
          (like nothing can bring american textile industry back)

          I have a golden parachute for myself, just worry about my coworkers with families

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            mobiGeek, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 11:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: US Workers Overpriced

            The 2 billion argument is moot. The vast majority of those people want to stay in their HOME countries. Outsourcing works for some types of work, but quite often if fails miserably for others...and quite frequently if fails miserably for IT projects due to communication, culture and lower-producing resources.

            H1B visas are NOT about cheap labour. Yes, there are some anecdotes about companies that have broken the law by abusing the system, but the 65000 visas have a ZERO impact on the overall job market in the US.

            IT is only dead if you consider it a stagnant field. But since the field keeps evolving, only educated and skilled resources can keep up with the times. Are you saying that American workers cannot keep up, cannot out produce their counterparts?

            If they can't, then why should their customers continue to buy from them?

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Henty Ford, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 8:13am

    US Workers Overpriced.

    Poor angry dude ... so angry and so dense.

    If as you say, "There is no f***** shortage of tech workers in this country." then I would bet that if companies are not hiring them it is because they are overpriced and want more than the compnaies are willing to pay.

    Go ahead and impose stiff import tarifs when [these companies] import back to the US, and you will instead just see the imports decline. How about applying this tarif principle to WalMart, or do you not want to pay the prices it would cost at WalMart if they were buying goods made by US workers who were charging high labor prices? If you do, expect to pay $30 for a plastic brush.

    The world is flat, markets are global, and the US high flying days of overpaid workers are over. Realize it, the US dollar is dropping just as the US standard of living will drop as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Berkeley, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    It's time for a complete immigration timeout

    How about a complete immigration timeout, say 15 years?
    We did this 100 years ago at the tail end of the last great Robber Baron era and it's time to do it again.

    What kind of government conspires with the world's wealthiest people to diminish the value of education and the pursuit of difficult technical subjects by replacing it's own people with the most desperate third-world people?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      mobiGeek, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 12:00pm

      Re: It's time for a complete immigration timeout

      The kind of government that your countrymen elected.

      Cancelling the H1B visa program, something that has a negligible impact on the overall job market, is not going to solve your "government conspiracy" problem.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 9:14am

    I'd like to have a list of all of these companys in such dire need for IT specialists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ashwin Mudigonda, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Little known and researched fact is that the H1B visa does not give certain privileges. The privileges I talk would be critical for anyone who has an H1B and is not in the IT field. Mainly researchers such as myself are unable to work as freely with the DoD and NASA as it should be possible. Thus, jobs and projects go begging with skills unable to cross the thick line of security. Of course, this is all for a reason, but the fix around that is to get a GreenCard which takes an eternity and a year.

    The current H1B system for US-educated students is definitely better than what it used to be...but why is it even there? Why even have a quota for the students who were educated here? They were put through the same tests and rigors as the American students. The H1B system should regulate the influx of the "techno-coolies" who come here to do the dirty IT jobs that no one else wants to do (at the rate) and who form more than 80% of the visas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      angry dude, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 1:41pm

      Re:

      "techno-coolies", dirty IT jobs ????

      Dude, what are you, a rocket scientist ?

      I bet a can find your 100% replacement at 50% of your current salary

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 5:36am

      Re:

      "Mainly researchers such as myself are unable to work as freely with the DoD and NASA as it should be possible."

      Well, those jobs aren't easy for us Americans to get, either. And there's a reason for that; when you're talking about national defense, you don't want to let just anyone work on things. And it's easy to imagine a foreign national having a 'conflict of interests' if they were on a project like that. I mean, in the most extreme case, if it were easy for foreign researchers to work on DoD projects, what's to keep a hostile entity from getting an agent inside and futzing things up?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 24th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Heres One

    I am a tech worker. I learn faster than most people I know. And I am not asking much. I would like 45K$ as long as the cost of living is the same as where I am at now. If it is higher or lower, you can adjust the number accordingly. And I adapt / adjust to my surroundings very fast.
    One snafoo, I live in Michigan, where I know a few tech people working any average joe job, because they cannot get a real tech job. Michigan has been having a pretty rough time over the last .. almost decade.
    I would probably move too. I am only earning about 40K right now. Although I feel it is not bad for a first job out of college, I am not in the IT field like I want to be. I am actually on a Sales team where half of my job is simple data management. Although at least I get to play efficiency expert and improve all their methods on how they handle things. The other half is database programming type stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 24th, 2008 @ 1:33pm

    Other thoughts

    Forgot to say the rest of my thoughts.
    I like AJ's idea from post, 16? Somewhere right there.
    We should allow the H1Bs to change jobs so employers cannot maintain a death grip on these people. I think it would help some. Fix everything? probably not. But it would help I am sure.

    And to whoever the one AC is, its HIRE, not HIGHER. A very stark difference in definitions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 5:30am

      Re: Other thoughts

      "And to whoever the one AC is, its HIRE, not HIGHER."

      You know, I kept thinking, "no, that doesn't look right," but we were out of cioffee yesterday. :P

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 25th, 2008 @ 8:55am

    Re #52, 53, and 55

    First, @55, I honestly only meant to capitalize the first letter of each word, I am sorry if it seemed like I was yelling about it. Out of coffee! Nooo. I don't drink it though. Don't like the taste =

    @52 & 53
    Yes, starting at the base and getting more parents involved with the early education of their kids would be awesome. I also understand that throwing money at it won't solve anything. Some extra funds to encourage good teachers to go to teaching instead of other fields *might* help, if we got rid of some bad teachers as well. This goes for the whole system, starting from before 1st grade all the way through college. Mostly when I am talking about funding, what goes through my mind is the cost of college. I really need to make this clearer from here on out. The costs of college are phenominal and growing annually. It is drastically prohobitive for many americans to attend good colleges, even when they would be awesome at what they want to do if they could just have a degree. I know that a lot of fields also have certifications and they can get their foot into the door of their field that way, but that is not always easy or affordable either.
    With regards to H1-Bs, currently, I believe they do help overall. Yes, many companies love to abuse the system, but we cannot judge the system based on the bad apples. At least I like to believe that. I would just love to see the long term goal of educating all americans awesomely come to realization. At least those that want it.
    I also like the idea AJ stated above, perhaps if we allowed those with H1Bs to switch companies, it would help the system. I do not know but it seems like a start in the right direction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This