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5/23/2012
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U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns

Tech-industry backed group says U.S. is losing the global battle for tech talent to countries that welcome skilled workers with open arms. But not everyone is convinced of a talent shortage.

If the U.S. does not adjust its immigration policies to make it easier for foreign-born tech workers to reside in the country, it could fall behind the rest of the world in growth and innovation, say the authors of a new study that's sure to provoke controversy.

"There is a significant gap between the kind of graduates the U.S. is producing and what the American economy needs today and in the future," said officials at the Partnership for A New American Economy, in a statement. "U.S. companies are hungry for talent with degrees in STEM [Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering]--these jobs are increasing three times faster than jobs in the rest of the economy. However, these positions are the hardest to fill because of the dearth of native-born Americans with these degrees."

The group's study, provocatively titled "Not Coming To America," said that only 4.4% of U.S.-born undergraduates are enrolled in STEM programs. That compares poorly with 33.9% for students in Singapore, 31.2% for those in China, 12.4% for Germany, and 6.1% in the U.K. As a result, the U.S. will face a shortage of 224,000 hi-tech workers by 2018, the study says.

According to the group, which is backed by leaders from tech, media, and financial giants, including Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and JP Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, as well as municipal leaders like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that means the country needs to open up its immigration policies to make up for the shortfall.

[ What's the real culprit behind IT layoffs? See: Outsourcing Or Automation: No Difference To Unemployed Workers. ]

"We are quickly losing our edge as other countries adopt smarter, economic-driven immigration policies. The future is on the line--now is the time to reform the system and welcome the workers who will continue our success as the world's leading economy," said Bloomberg, in statement. The Partnership for New York City also backed the study.

The study's authors said the U.S. needs to take several steps to ensure that the supply of tech talent meets future demand.

They called on Congress and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to establish a new visa category for foreign entrepreneurs looking to launch startups, to set aside more H-1B visas and green cards for foreign students enrolled in STEM programs at U.S. institutions, and to offer tax breaks for American tech workers who have moved abroad to encourage them to return home.

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wdgroover
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wdgroover,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 4:33:43 PM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
Why should American students enroll in computer sciences or for that matter most other mechanical/technical science disciplines? The trend in America for the better part of two decades has been either to export jobs or import labor. Prospective students for the aforementioned disciplines have observed their fellow countryman thrown aside in favor of less-trained and less-qualified people. That said, America currently has a glut of trained computer-science veterans, people with practical real-world experience in business and systems environments. But, these people are overlooked in favor of the "perceived" cheap labor; perceived because the true cost of an employee is measured by far more than the dollars printed on the paycheck.
HSElectro
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HSElectro,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 3:09:29 PM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
I too disagree with this report. The bottom line is that large corporations care mostly on the cost. Some have realized it is hard to have offshore teams with 11 hours timezone shift, and are now looking back to the H1B mechanism, namely bring cheap labor in. As long as the cost of getting a technology degree in the US is that high, only people who have not had to pay for it will be able to afford living with the lower wages.
glawson300
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glawson300,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 2:19:37 PM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
HAHAHA!!! I love the phrase "economic-driven immigration policies". Obivsously, they have never tried to get a job in a 1st world country. Try getting a job in Europe. It takes a long time to get a work visa.

This is all about cheap labor. We have talent, but we also have greedy business leaders. I guess they also failed their economics classes. What happens when an American worker spends a $1? It is spend by the next holder and that continues until the value of the dollar is consumed by taxes. Each dollar spent will generate $7 dollars of economic activity. If that dollar is in the hands of a foreign worker, first it is $0.50 because that all they get paid. But let pretend it is a dollar. They send a significant portion of they pay back to their home country. This limits the economic impact of that dollar. Tax revenue drops and our "friends" in Washington have to tax more things to keep their spending habit alive.
TreeInMyCube
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TreeInMyCube,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 1:57:12 PM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
The study seems to ignore the laws of supply and demand. If there is a demand -- meaning fulfilling jobs that pay well -- in a field, then freshman students flood into undergrad institutions to major in that field. Four years later, there may even be a glut of those graduates, if the perceived demand was overhyped.
Yet this has not happened, as the study's results on enrollment seem to indicate. Why are bright, motivated US-born students staying away from the STEM majors? They are voting with their feet (and heads, and enthusiasm). Could it be that they understand the jobs which are "in demand" are not secure, and in imminent danger of being off-shored? Immigrant-friendly policies may be a solution to some problem, but they are not the solution to the problem of under-enrollment in the STEM courses by US-born students.
IT25years
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IT25years,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 3:46:19 AM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
Every time I hear these kinds of things I get so angry! I recently returned to full-time employed in the tech sector and even with 26 years of experience, I get the joy of making less money than I did in 1995. The only reason these greedy beggars want to bring more people over is to pay lower wages in the long term when that person goes back to their country to open a new outsource firm. It's all garbage.
I'm sorry but really, I could work at McDonalds for 3.00 a hour less than I make now, and that tells me that we don't need foreign workers. I'm not a isolationist, I just think we really need to treat people as assets and resources not as expendable. Why should some young kid go to college for a CS degree that will net them in a high tech area of the country, something close to what the person who didn't go to college gets paid?
gardoglee
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gardoglee,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 12:38:12 AM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
If the US develops a tech worker shortage it will be because so many US tech companies have treated US tech workers...badly. Sort of the way we treat teachers.
DAVIDINIL
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DAVIDINIL,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2012 | 10:06:27 PM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
There is a cheap labor shortage. Good luck to an unemployed tech worker having the gall to ask for $50,000/year.

Of course Microsoft and all the others that are a part of this propaganda nonsense are doing this to get commodity workers.
bglynn064
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bglynn064,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/23/2012 | 8:58:14 PM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
i have 30 yrs exp and have also sent out thousands of resumes with no results.....thinking of changing my name to rhyimmyammnna
drbobski
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drbobski,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/23/2012 | 8:53:41 PM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
My personal experience and that of my long-time colleagues bear witness to the lie.

Many of us have 30+ years of varied and excellent experience in CS and IT can no longer find employment. I have been unemployed with no unemployment benefits for over 3 years. I am increasingly discouraged and desperate. My resumes and inquiries are rarely even acknowledged. The very few interviews I have had are pro-forma in that the positions are already filled (frequently with foreign workers) but (I'm told) HR needs to show that they have interviewed others. Hence, my "interview".

Those of my colleagues that could afford to do so have left the field entirely, opting to become lawyers, shop-keepers, etc. Many have "retired". It is illogical that they would have done so if viable opportunites were available in their technical fields.

My last job paid about what I was earning when I first started in the field and was about the same level (i.e., near entry level). More than 95% of the positions in my department were filled by H1-B contractors. Their numbers have increased in this company as US citizens have been eliminated and replaced by H1-B contractors. Or not replaced at all (same pay, double or more workload).

I do not blame the foreign workers. One goes where the work is and apparently work is relatively plentiful over here for them. I DO blame our government and the people running the companies. Their actions (or inaction) is decimating this country and may be the root cause of the ever-expanding global financial and societal crises (IMHO).

Interesting aside: I am being bombarded this year with telephone demands that I contribute upwards of $500 toward various political causes. When I try to explain that I cannot contribute because I no longer have any income, the callers become totally befuddled. Apparently, no one even considered such a possibilty when the scripts were written. How out of touch ARE our politicians and their staffs?
DeoneHoonoz
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DeoneHoonoz,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/23/2012 | 8:20:38 PM
re: U.S. Tech Worker Shortage Looms, Study Warns
There is no greater bull$hiter than the American Businessman;
There is no greater sucker than the American People.

The fleecing of the American people will continue for as long as the American Businessman is in the lobby.

As they use to say in Napol+¬on legions "The beating will continue, until the morale improves".
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