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H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
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eafpres
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eafpres,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 11:27:46 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
The study sounds like a thesis on the fox watching the chicken coop. You put a CS prof in charge of a funded study with an agenda to show USA-citizen students are brighter, so correlations are tested and presumed to be causality. If that is the kind of education our brightest CS and other tech students are getting, there is even more to worry over.

The citation of one disgruntled worker seems very out of place. Perhaps more evidence was edited out for length?

A factor not mentioned in the story or other comments is that many of these students were educated here in the USA. Our universities love these students because they often pay more, as non-residents. Hiring them for a period of time after we educate them is a recouping of our investment (too little, as it may be) in higher education, in part.

Finally, if it is cheaper for companies to hire people on H1Bs, then companies will do so. But cheaper isn't just the salary, as already noted in these comments. There is also a real price of training (the comments of another writer here notwithstanding) and turnover. It has become more common that these workers, many of whom would like to get permanent green cards and stay and work productively in the USA, are sent "home"; this increased after 9/11 and has not abated as far as I know. So most companies hiring an H1B holder would know they will have to do it again in a few years, and factor in that cost, and the other administrative costs. Bottom line is just because it is net cheaper does not mean it is not to the benefit (overall) of our economy.
jcanale
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jcanale,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 10:21:36 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
Just to add to the previous comment:

Now we really have created an actual shortage because kids don't want to pursue a career where the jobs will go overseas and where the salary compensation is being pushed down due to outsourcing. This will certainly harm the US as much of the innovation will not happen here in the US. I wonder if the greedy executives thought of this happening (though they will certainly cash out while they can).
jcanale
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jcanale,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 10:15:01 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
This was never about finding talent that wasn't available locally. It was about money - as most everything is these days (greed being taken to new levels).

The outsourcing companies (they help you either bring in H1B or use offshore staff) explained how they do it as they pitch to the software development companies in the U.S..

It went like this:

Place an ad in the local newspapers that requires a laundry list of technologies for far below the average salary being paid for those that have that experience/talent. Anyone that actually meets the credentials is certainly making much, much more and they won't be anyone applying for the position (it's like asking for credentials of a doctor but with a salary for the position of a nurse).

Then, without being able to hire locally, you can outsource and get a person that is experienced in a small subset of the laundry list of technologies (that's all that is needed anyway) and you get to hire them according to the requirements with no consequences.

The H1B workers will work 12-15 hour days (and weekends since many come here and have no family) and they are put into the cheapest housing that's available.

The final result: very low cost labor that simply cannot be matched by US workers (they don't pay into the system the same way that we do).
_
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_,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 10:02:25 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
more b/s from the companies that want to depress wages. In America, where we have free markets, if you don't want to offer up the going price for a product, then you don't get to buy it. What you don't get to do, is to operate in the United States, and then undercut taxpayers by importing in low/no-skilled job-robbers. If you want to tap into the endless supply of geniuses in india, then do more outsourcing, we have the the inter-web these days, no need to import in the "talent". Stop with the lies and propaganda, H1b is all about depressing wages and getting around labor laws and standards that we've established in this country. All of shit "shortage" crap has been proven to be a big myth, and going down the H1b rabbit hole even more will only cause any existing problems that we might have to get even worse. Now that the economy is getting better, companies want to maintain their margins without sharing in the recovery, and the best way to do that is to import in scab H1b workers. END H1B NOW!!!!
DAVIDINIL
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DAVIDINIL,
User Rank: Strategist
3/4/2013 | 9:53:24 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
My company hires H1-B COBOL programmers. Entry level COBOL programmers. THe H1-B rules stipulate that the foreigner must only be hired if he/she posesses skills that cannot be obtained via an American worker.

America has a glut of COBOL talent that is sitting unemployed. Business will not hire them because they can hire an H1-B for 1/2 the cost.

This practice is just an attempt by business to depress wages. President Obama decries the demise of the middle class. Using H1-B workers is contributing to this demise. The Obama Administration must stand up for the middle class and not wall street.
apiecka
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apiecka,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 9:52:39 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
It does appear that there is some conflict in what the industry leaders are saying. The video appears to make it look like it's a simple problem to eliminate the perceived shortage of software professionals. All we have to do is start teaching programming in grade school. It is deceptively easy to learn the basics of programming and then project that a person will have a good career and a nice income with practice. If will.i.am can do it, surely we can expect many others can, but I'm sure he wouldn't trade his career for being a programmer. If it's so easy to do this, and all that's needed is to teach it starting in grade school, then that essentially pushes the programming profession to a commodity status, not a place where will.i.am would want to be. It would be more like an assembly line worker and less like a profession. The focus here appears to be that many of these jobs that go unfilled could be filled if we only had enough basic computer programmers to do the jobs.

Perhaps this is the case. Perhaps all these technical jobs that go wanting are the assembly line work of today. But if this were true, then we shouldn't see the experience of Marnie Dunsmore when it comes to hiring. The hiring managers should be very happy to have a person with any sort of reasonable background apply because that person should be able to pick up what's needed quickly. But the hiring experience is very often the opposite. The manager wants a list of skills that are absolutely necessary to fulfill the needs of the position. These are generally not really skills but rather background with specific tools, protocols, or processes. The candidate with the real skills of problem solving, software architecture and planning, design, and logical algorithm development will be eliminated by a resume keyword search, leaving a person like Marnie to wonder what is really important to the hiring manager.

So then which is it? Do we have jobs that can't be filled because the candidates need experience working with specific software related products or standards that are too expensive and time consuming for a company to teach (Marnie's experience), or should we believe that they can't be filled because applicants are unwilling to learn or potential applicants haven't been taught all the needed skills before entering the workforce? Either way the hiring entity shows an unwillingness to invest in a person to assure that the work gets done. I know that for places like Dice, there are counts of applications published for various openings, so the companies are getting responses and there isn't a shortage of applicants. The obvious conclusion then is that the companies are trying to minimize risk and labor cost.
Anna85054
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Anna85054,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 9:37:01 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
There is a major flaw in the assumption that talent and salary are correlated without the visa status impacting the salary. As an employer the cost for an employee are salary, benefits and (if the worker is a foreigner) legal and visa fees. For a foreign worker to be competitive, he must match talent/skills and cost. Thus the added legal fees are likely to be in indirectly deducted from the pay.
kburgess856
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kburgess856,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 9:19:47 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
Better or smarter workers? Well, they might speak more than one language, but the ONLY reason they're being hired here is because they do anything for less.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/4/2013 | 9:04:14 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
The issue is also complicated by lack of transparency with regard to the employment process. From what I hear, requirements to seek a U.S. worker for a position before seeking someone from outside the country are routinely pro forma exercises, done without any real intent to hire a U.S. worker. Intent is difficult to prove however.
SRAUT88
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SRAUT88,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 8:20:37 PM
re: H-1B Workers Not Best Or Brightest, Study Says
Well if you only look at Microsoft and you only make comparison by pay (isn't lower pay the reason why employers went after H1B in the first place) then this study becomes practically useless. Researchers in UCD just had to look around the CS PhD students (I bet 70% foreign students in any PhD class today in US) to know who really cares for higher education today. Not sure if that's an accurate measure of talent either but still gives a rough idea of where we are. That said, I don't think that's the point...

It shouldn't take a PhD research to know that hiring H1B is just a medium and this is one of the many cards in the game of business called cost reduction. We should argue about the morality of this as much as we have argued about shallow advertising in mainstream media, the 8 years America spent in jail under Bush, outrageous food culture,etc. There's plenty ;)

But...As a consumer, if you want to avoid paying outrageous price for your laptop and keep up with global competition (yes, including laptop price) then we can't help but live with the business decisions that keep the price within our range. As a professional, you should focus on improving your skills today on a global market that is always changing and keep our minds open, hey Sweden is not that bad a place to live ;) As a country, we should stop thinking that we need to be obligated to keep jobs within our countries but come up with ways to keep the workforce current, motivated, and globally aware.
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