Does the Tech Pro ‘Shortage’ Really Exist?

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According to many tech firms, highly skilled employees are very hard to find.

But a handful of academics have told BusinessWeek there’s no actual shortage in the number of people out there with the necessary hardware and software skills; rather, there’s a shortage of highly skilled people willing to work for cheap.

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“[Tech companies] may not be able to find [employees] at the price they want,” Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University, told the magazine. “But I’m not sure that qualifies as a shortage, any more than my not being able to find a half-priced TV.”

Other industries have solved labor shortages by paying workers more, which in turn encourages more people to learn the skills necessary to participate in those industries, expanding the labor pool. While more people than ever seem interested in computer science and related fields, many tech companies continue to complain that they can’t find the help they need to build and maintain new apps, products, and systems.

In a November 20 speech, President Obama announced that he would issue an executive action to reform the nation’s immigration policies; his plan will also streamline the ability of foreign STEM workers and entrepreneurs to obtain visas. The tech industry hasn’t appeared all that impressed with the proposed reforms, with many representatives telling Bloomberg that actual legislation is needed to expand the number of foreign workers allowed into the country.

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But others argue that introducing more visa workers into the country actually suppresses salaries within the technology industry, as those workers have little leverage to negotiate higher pay. “U.S. workers have to compete with that, which means they have to accept lower wages when they get a job,” Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, told Bloomberg.

Despite the angst over immigration policy, there are signs that the white-hot tech industry is translating into higher salaries for tech pros throughout the United States. Rising salaries could create a virtuous cycle for all workers, as tech firms find themselves paying top dollar in order to secure even decent talent.

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85 Responses to “Does the Tech Pro ‘Shortage’ Really Exist?”

  1. Jim Fessler

    Finally someone telling it like it is. Contract rates have decreased in last two years for Security Professionals. I get at least 3 calls per week looking for cheap labor. My answer “For that kind of money I don’t care if you are hacked!”

    • James Beatty

      Jim I couldn’t agree more with you on that. Only thing is they’ve saturated the market so much I’m still looking to get out after twenty years doing what I loved. Now I can’t stand recruiters people in hr or the industry as a whole. Been trying to go back to school. Hope I can soon.

  2. Fred Bosick

    I was rather suprised that Bloomberg ran the story; *almost* as suprised as seeing it here! Of course, you guys try to walk it back. See the 2nd and last paragraph.

    Those of us in the trenches have been saying it for years.

  3. 30+ Year Professional

    Finally, someone willing to print the truth. For most of my 30+ years in IT, I have preferred working contracts instead of working as an employee of the client firms. The reasons are numerous, but not relevant to this article. What I have found since the ’08 recession is a dramatic cut in compensation. I have been getting offers that are $10-15 hr LESS because they are “competitive” or “market based”. But this is based on the hiring of H1Bs instead of qualified workers.

    Back in the 80s and early 90s, I worked with H1Bs who might have language issues but had actual programming skills. Starting with Y2K, we’ve been flooded by unskilled cheap H1Bs. Many are totally lacking in English skills and have minimal programing training. But they would work cheap. I have worked with several who admit to lacking IT degrees but they did pay the $100 to buy their resume (back home) and were coached on how to lie for their H1Bs. The same lack of quality applies to work outsourced overseas. They are cheap, produce garbage for the “development” stage, then the “maintenance” team here in the US has to clean up the mess.
    What I have also found is an increasing number of non-English speaking recruiters. Oddly (not), they never seem to hire Americans but always push for H1Bs to be used.

    • IT professional

      I agree with you, I worked with lots of H1B and most of them aren’t highly skilled . Usually companies exploits H1B by paying less and employees have no choice as their USD salary is still much higher than their native country. Recruiters tend to hire students on OPT by showing fake experience. Result is Americans are deprived of jobs

      • Lex Mercatoria

        One could argue that they aren’t really lying because they know businesses aren’t really relying on resumes to evaluate IT personnel to begin with. The corporations are hiring these foreigners simply because they’re cheaper ergo resumes & credentials have been reduced to a formality.

        The IT world is a joke and a wasteland.

    • Jack Norton

      You can think of it this way too; As you’ve mentioned most H1Bs have fake resumes full of lies, the degrees listed on their resumes are either fake or nonexistent. They are pretty much incompetent, at best they lack most of the skills the employer needs from them. Their incompetency and lack of skills can be seen as source of more jobs. Because once the company has invested say $1M to build a crappy system, all using cheap labor in the form of H1Bs and outsourced work, and the system is nothing but crap, it is only a matter of time before the maintenance costs of such a crappy system exceed its initial costs savings.

    • If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that you and I worked at the same company. The IT department started out with American workers who knew their craft, but now consists mostly of visa workers onshore and a team offshore who would just reassign support tickets to different teams and point fingers. They would tell stories of how fake college degrees could be purchased in India. How it was the norm to buffer their resume with more experience. In fact, I worked with very junior offshore member, but when she came to the US and applied for a position, she stated on her resume that she was a senior. I recently replaced a worker on visa with a little more than 1 year of work experience, but his Indian contracting company modified his resume that he’s got 8 years of experience, and tons of technologies that he’d never worked with. So, he has to BS during his interviews. He’s got no choice but to go along because the company is sponsoring his visa.

      This is the sad reality within the IT industry.

    • The whole thing is pathetic!!

      Dice opens this topic up periodically. They’re very well aware that it causes a flare up and Americans are super, super PO’ed!!!! They let us vent and get off a little steam.

      BUT what are any of us doing about it??!! Our politicians won’t do anything about it. They work for the businesses that use L1 and H1b visas!!

      Lou Dobbs tried some years back and got dumped by CNN and others tried as well but to no avail!

      So I ask all of you. What can we do?? Start our own lobby maybe?? It would take a lot of money, but could be start!!

    • I agree with this. I have seen that jobs are rates are holding or dropping over the past 20 years. There was a very specific SAP skill set that was being looked for, an indian company told me they could get me $50 a hour, another $65, and then an American company said for the same position that they could get me $102 a hour.

      I have had Indian company’s that are trying to place me have contractors that they have already placed coach me on how to lie. I wouldn’t.

      I know of cases that the person doing the phone interview isn’t the person that shows up for the job.

      Does anyone remember a few years back where Indian colleges said they were going to stop giving everyone an A and may even not graduate students that couldn’t pass the courses. There was a big protest and the colleges switch back. Take a look a some of the dr thesis that they are producing. My favorite one is someone wrote one on how to put paper in his computer( yes from the user manual)

      As far as the work overseas I agree the quality is substandard. And it isn’t cheaper. It tends to take longer to complete. AND in many cases 4-10 people are doing the work of one American.

  4. “… Starting with Y2K, we’ve been flooded by unskilled cheap H1Bs….”

    I fail to understand why an English or History major with an H1B is a better manual software tester than the thousands of out of work English or History majors in the USA who could be pressed into the same role.

  5. There will NOT be any highly-skills workers shortage if businesses were willing to provide with TRAINING…learning new technologies ( like mobile app development, etc …) is time-consuming end costly…Of course, for Corporate America, it is cheaper to poach young graduates from emerging countries with 1000’s of H1B visas, and pay them dirt cheap without ANY benefits , than to nurture and grow their own national workforce…

    • Chris Chandler

      The more difficult jobs aren’t something you can just train anybody for. You can’t take a bad software developer and train them to be a good mobile developer, for any complex software development (I’m not talking small little cell phone apps).

      • Nightcrawler

        I understand what you’re saying, but the problem is that employers refuse to train even for allegedly “entry-level” jobs.

        I got my Math/CIS degree in 2011. I have never spent a day working in IT. This wasn’t because I was not willing to start at the bottom. There is no bottom to start at. Even $8.50/hour help desk jobs require several years of experience. Heck, I’ve seen ads for unpaid “internships” (temp jobs, really) that read like ads for regular jobs, demanding a portfolio, fluency in a laundry list of programming languages, and at least two years of experience. Even if I could have afforded to take an unpaid internship–which I couldn’t–I wasn’t qualified for one.

        I’m not buying that there wasn’t *any* type of job I could have been trained to do, especially since I was willing to work for below minimum wage. I couldn’t have afforded to work for FREE, but I would have gone as low as a flat salary of $300.00/week, for unlimited work hours. I still would, especially since I’m going to be homeless very soon. I’d work 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, if someone offered me $300.00/week right now. Anything to avoid homelessness and what I know will happen to me when I’m living in a car, especially in the winter.

  6. Eric Price

    The only shortage is of people willing to work long hours for low wages.
    Do not be complicit with these corporate bastards.
    Speak the truth. I like the dice web site but for years they have been running articles saying
    “The Captains of industry cannot find skilled people” – utter nonsense.
    They just cannot find sweat-hogs willing to work long hours for low wages.
    That is all no more no less.
    After all Boss Man is just looking after his own bonus: if Boss Man had to pay people
    what they are worth he wouldn’t get that Mac Daddy bonus.

    QED – eric.

  7. I agree with everyone so far. I’m glad I’m not the only one and finally an article that has some truth to it.

    The first hit was after the stock market crash of 2002, and I had to compete with thousands of out of work American IT workers because of the outsourcing.

    Back in 2004 Bill Gates went to Congress and asked for more H1 visas because “He can’t find anyone with skills here in the US – Lies!

    Politicians who receive money from corporations said that Americans aren’t skilled enough – More Lies!

    That was just the beginning of the destruction of the American IT career, it has gotten worse. Longer hours with no extra pay, you have to know more about other areas of IT.

    I have shelves and shelves of books, several dozens of shelves of books that I have read to stay on top of the changing technology, and it will never end and it keeps getting worse and worse. I have to spend my free time reading and reading for the rest of my life. How much is that worth? All of this studying a could have been a doctor 10 times over.

    And let’s face it, there is no job security if you work full-time. I remember the massive lay offs in 2002, then more massive layoffs in 2008. Every contract I go the majority of people working there are from India, like 85-95%, and they all have no idea what they’re doing and they come to me with all their questions. So companies fired the entire qualified workforce to bring cheap hacks with know-nothing nonsense.

    Here’s the worst part. American managers (some are actually replaced with India look-a-likes), they’re ok with this. They look at the numbers and pat themselves on the back. Can’t any of them see the forest from the trees?

    • Neal I agree whole heartedly. It’s so bad that while I was working on fort knox I had a team lead who had been there for over ten years and this joker was so bad that he would sit in the back and sleep his mornings away doing absolutely nothing. Now if uncle sam is so enthralled with hiring these people in critical secure parts of our government what chance does joe american have to secure a position? As far as books I don’t even buy any anymore simply because I feel it to be a waste of time to continually study for a field that thinks I’m to expensive or to stupid to work in it anymore. I had to teach myself how to speed read while in college just to keep up with the requirements and demands of engineering and computer science. This field is nothing but a hobby for me now as after I get done with school this time I have no intention of returning to anything remotely connected to this industry or rather hobby field. What a joke.

  8. I get a lot of calls from recruiters trying to fill intermediate to senior level .NET positions, paying what I can only honestly characterize as joke rates. Sometimes I have exactly the skills they need, plus the track record that shows I can get the job done, and the manager cannot bring himself to increase the rate at all. I’d love to know who they eventually find to fill these positions and how the projects turn out.

    • Jack Norton

      @Jim To answer your question, I know what kind of people eventually fill these positions, highly incompetent people. Companies think they are smart by hiring H1Bs, eventually H1Bs get their greencard, say f u to the company and leave them hanging, but that’s not the worst part, the worst is that the company assumes they were saving money by paying less, until the shit just blows up in their face.

    • Jim I to am an experienced dot netter as well a certified dba in oracle sql server and my sql and for the life of me the rates I’ve seen are just a joke. With simple econ understanding of supply and demand how is it possible for a salary to continue a downward spiral if demand is so high? It is like these business people are trying to break basic econ laws here. Which for the life of me just can’t be done. Even if you apply other outwardly principles to artificially suppress anything only spells a horror down the road that must be faced. Now I’ve managed to get myself interviews here in minnesota only to be turned down time and time again because I didn’t have this or that little thing. To be honest I don’t even respond anymore to any recruiter whether they be corporate or private as the lies that permeate the industry as a whole it just disgusting. I was recently approached by two separate recruiters from two different states one was trying to tell me a certified oracle dba contract is only billable at 40 dollars an hour to a university down south. Talk about a joke and a half. And dice is deplorable in there shoddy articles in favor of this crap. The like main stream media are so far removed that if they think publishing something of this magnitude bypasses the garbage they’ve pumped out in the past in favor of this h1b invasion is in no way a pass on the past. I don’t even use the sight anymore to find jobs as they only jobs they have are hindu scum suckers trying to ‘steal’ information to pass on to their buddies to the stupid management of this system.

      • I don’t know what you think that you’re worth, but I would have jumped at the $40/hr job. I’ve been in IT for 10 years, and I’m making the most I ever have at $18/hr on a 12-month contract with no benefits.

    • >> I’d love to know who they eventually find to fill these positions and how the projects turn out.

      Lots of people willing to do work quite cheap just to keep active … and there local companies set up that mostly just have lower costs workers (outsourcing locally). Sometimes the projects go ok, often there are some issues. For some companies just having the thing work is enough, doesn’t matter if it’s written/designed badly … … If no one peaks under the covers then all is fine.

      No doubt some of the lower cost workers do great jobs. …. But it doesn’t matter who you are … if the time/money is not there to do it right .. then it doesn’t get done right. You just end up with a functioning prototype at best.

  9. Saw it coming

    The same thing that happened to the construction industry is now hitting the IT world. Having gone through both changes ( I have a BSCS and my dad was a building contractor, I jumped ship and moved to I.T. in the 90’s after the Latinos – the H1B equivalent, took over), I can tell you that the quality of work will NEVER be the same in both fields.

    The (construction) work that appeared in the late 80’s until now would have been REJECTED in the 70’s but is now the ‘standard’ for all work hereafter. Same is true for the coding world. What you guys pioneered and set as THE high quality standard for your time is now a thing of the past and won’t EVER come back.

    When you say you want to or are going to change fields, where do plan on going? Every field is impacted. I’ve applied for jobs outside of IT as a stationary engineer and run a (major) hotel or high rise building and they are offering $15-$18/hr and be on call 24/7. No way.

    Ideas anyone????

    • frank thomas

      I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head twice,,,i have two friends who own the largest construction/real estate search firm in the country and have been @ it for 45 years placing talent in those industries,,,,i myself have been in I/t recruiting for 45 years

      ive seen what youre saying in both….

      best of luck, franko

  10. David Justice

    Every Tom, Dick, Harry, Sue, Mary, and Harish contract technical agency or consulting firm recruiter on planet Earth is looking for a skilled IT professional to earn his or her commission. Many work from home in their pajamas and want to pay $25 to $35 per hour to increase their cut of the bill rate.

    Lacking the high value skills to earn a decent living on their own, the only career choice higher than one of these recruiters is that of a used car salesperson at a buy-here-pay-here car store! A used car salesperson sells the same used car over and over again. Cars do not have feelings or families. People do. They should be ashamed! They should tell people that they are PROFESSIONAL LEECHES.

    God meant for people to work and earn by the sweat of their own brow. It is time for them to get off their lazy behind and get a real job.

    • frank thomas

      its obvious you should have hooked up with a solid, skilled honest I/t recruiter like me a long time ago…ive been @ it 45 years and yes work from home in my “jamies”

      best of luck, franko

  11. Old timer here…one who regularly worked huge amounts of unpaid OT…never had a bad review, was always looked at as a leader by my peers because of my ability to quickly grasp both technical and business concepts and apply them…started as a programmer long ago…served in nearly every position imaginable in my 30+ years in the business, which included nearly 20 years consulting.
    IT department went from having NO indians 3.5 years ago to being 90%+ indian today…after the company hired an indian CIO…was replaced by an H1B 1.5 years ago after 10 years on the job !
    Love how the companies get around the rules, they will not contract with H1B’s directly, they contract with other companies to bring them in and hire them as consultants !

  12. One other thing…I voted for Obama the first time, at least partially based on his promise to stem the flow of immigrants taking American jobs…we see how that worked out !

    It’s a shame that he’s as bad a liar as any other politician, it’s a shame that we have the best politicians that money can buy who feel no compunction when they sell our jobs for their “campaign donations” !

    We need a new political party that puts Americans FIRST !

  13. Anyone who thinks this is only an IT issue does not understand.
    I was in the NJ warehouse of a major retailer recently…90+% of the hundreds of people there could not speak English !
    The same game is often played by these companies, they will contract with a third party provider who will do the dirty work so their hands appear clean !

  14. Using H1b visas from India has been going on for years and has only increased and further degraded salaries and rates in the US! So much so, that any attempts to voice opinions by American tech professionals has only fallen on deaf ears.

    Big business lobbies, immigration law lobbies and large Indian tech consultancies have done a fantastic job of making sure our voices are silenced.

    Even though we all know what’s happening, we can’t do a dang thing about it!! We need to push harder and harder and harder. Keep voicing your opinions openly, much, much more frequent,y, louder and louder and just keep the momentum going!!! Don’t let up for a single day!

    Any project that I see these days, is 80% + Indian tech workers!! These jobs need to go to American tech workers. LETS STOP THIS ABUSE OF OUR TECH WORKERS!!!

    IM NOT DISPAGING ANYONE FROM INDIA. American tech workers can relate directly to what I’m saying. We need to stop the H1B AND the L1 visas. Not forever, but put them on freeze status for a few years. Everyone will see, there are more than enough qualified tech pros right here at home.

    We all know… It’s all about the money!!!!!!!!!!!

    • David,

      I agree with you! Enough of fake resumes and lies, people with valid credentials should get the job and American worker must get fairness. If people are found with fake credentials they should be kicked out immediately, if they are foreign workers, they should be deported.

      Kev

  15. I have been cut out of opportunities so many times, I’ve lost count. Working for major consulting firms, where senior management is from India, will result in Indians being placed on those jobs, not Americans!! I’ve witnessed this time and time and time again!!

    The only thing to do at this point is to document these instances and file class actions suits against these companies. This is just plain wrong, it’s making people angry and there absolutely must be lights put on this.

  16. BocaCatLover

    While it’s nice to finally see the truth come out, you know nothing will change. When you have a Congress wanting to take away middle class tax breaks and make corporate tax breaks permanent then there is no chance that anything will change except to bring more of these foreign idiots into America and force those of us who have made IT our life’s work into retirement. If they don’t take your job away by outsourcing then they take it away by insourcing. The end result is the same. Corporate America wants all of us to work in retail and lose everything we have worked our whole lives for. Good thing I’m not bitter!

  17. I was gonna say something but all the other comments are saying the same thing I think.

    Takes a lot (money/time) to be skilled enough for the tech sector. The pay has to reflect that. Local people cannot compete with “extremely lower cost of living elsewhere”.

    My advice … if you’re in tech .. get out …. and for younger folks don’t pursue it in university. Be doctors, lawyers etc. instead … something that has to be local.

  18. I suggest Congress and the President pass the OINK2B visa program without delay. This program I just now made up, provides a work and visa path for foreign politicians and government workers. It’s impossible to find enough skilled politicians and government workers among the domestic workforce.

  19. George F. Corrigan

    In addition to all the above (and quite valid, of course) comments, I’ve just two additional words to add to this discussion (evidently, 40 years experience with CISSP, RHCE, OSCA, MCDST, and A+ ain’t good enough):

    Purple Squirrel

    • frank thomas

      well purple squirrel,,,,,im merely an old fart rpg recruiter, but know just enough to realize that with
      40 years of skills and all those certifications are very strong,,,,,cant figure out what these employers and h/r folks are thinking….

      I truly believe tho that ive seen human resources turn into inhuman resources cause everyone wants to do things electronically,,,,no one wants to talk anymore,,,weve gone way up in technology and way down in human relations………….best of luck, franko

      • It seems obvious to me what the HR people are thinking (or more likely have been told) and that is that they are not to hire “old timers”. Of course they will go their graves denying it but it is clearly true.

        I’m sure some smartass will tell me to prove it and take it to court. There is no point to that as there is nothing to be gained except a large legal bill.

  20. frank thomas

    the one main I/t shortage out there that no one seems to be talking about are the as400/rpg developers. im getting calls/emails every week from employers who say they need the junior/intermediate developers so they can groom them into the retiring managerial slots. my answer to them is “the average as400 TRAINEE now has fifteen years of skills.
    the colleges/tek schools threw out those 38/400 boxes years ago and went c/server for java/vb.net

    I even get asked “where are all the as400 headhunters @ now.

    after 45 years in the game, im still around placing iseries pros nationwide.

    best of luck,,,,frank Thomas,

  21. Michael Muegge

    I am an analog and power supply engineer. After being out of work for a long time and receiving low ball $ offers I deceided to sell my house and use the equity to become a stock market day trader. Although I liked my engineering more, I am doing much better financialy now. (One less engineer in the workforce now.) ! ! !

  22. Some truth by Dice. 3 reason It’s hard for me to get an SAP job /contract. fortune 500 want lower wages via
    HB1. There is no ethical duty to Americans & green card holders
    By these companies.
    I am minority , Latino. Yes, I was born here & a Marine.These visa holders drive wages down
    These companies have lobbyists to pork HB1 Policy in favor of thnese fortun
    e 500 into Obama’s exec order for amnesty. Just watch….

  23. There are other things being mentioned but only minimally here that are in play. There are a great deal of untrained and lazy recruiters some from the United States but also many that call me that can barely complete an English sentence. Therefore your ability to communicate the desire to negotiate is not understood. The greedy recruiting firms have hired outsourced people in their call center to make initial contacts. Its a complete joker really.
    The second thing that is not mentioned is there are almost as many US citizen lying about their skills. I have seen many a recent boot camp graduates who crammed over the weekend to take an Cert Exam that break stuff every time they touch it because all they did was cram for an exam.
    Lastly you have many business owners that are actually clueless and should not be running a company. The issue is often you have the blind leading the blind because of the proliferation of fake resumes even on the TOP CEO levels. I have seen and met with VP of marketing and business operations that probably couldn’t pass an entrance exam into college but they partied with the right people in High School or College.

    • frank thomas

      you are correct, the average recruiter is lazy and too greedy and wants to do everything electronically….if I work with someone I want to place in I/t I make a personal call to them first
      to see what theyre trying to accomplish…..that kind of personal touch is gone none

      best of luck, franko

    • frank thomas

      I don’t know what side of the I/t industry youre skilled in bill, but after 40 plus years placing the rpg/system three thru iseries folks, I can guarantee there is a massive shortage of the one/ten year
      rpg development talent. there is nobody to take over these data centers except I/t managerial talent from the client server side and they don’t know what iseries/rpg is???

      maybe colleges/tek schools will finally reverse what they did fifteen years ago when they threw out the s/38/as400 boxes, brought in c/servers and started teaching java/vb.net.

      I have directors calling every week looking for the one/ten year rpg developer and I have to tell them the average “trainee” now has fifteen years of skills.

      as they say……”virtually no cookies left in the cookie jar to choose from”

  24. Another H1B article on H1Bs and unsurprisingly, another ream of borderline, (or in James’s case, overt) racist remarks from Americans who can’t find work. Dice just seems to attract these kind of readers, which is why I seldom come to this site.

    Here’s another perspective, and I’m the first to admit that my experience may not be the norm (it would be nice if other posters, were less absolutist in their empirical observations).
    I was a H1B worker, now a green card holder who was once once a member of the ‘cheap’ labor force. I’m from a first world country and many of my peers were from Western and Eastern Europe. Not from India as many want to believe, but we still fit the profile: cheap, of varying ability and willing to work for less until we got our green cards. But nobody was clueless and to my knowledge, nobody lied on their resumes.
    Fast forward ten years and I now work for one of the biggest tech firms in the world. The salaries are fantastic and I am surrounded by workers from all over the world. Many are Indians. No resumes are faked (the recruitment process and background checks are far too rigorous for that) and everyone is very, very smart and good at their job. I know this because of the rigorous, technical way in which I was interviewed, the fact that double-blind hiring committees are used to make the decision and the number of smart people I know who still failed the hiring process here. This company’s hiring regimen is also legendary in the industry.

    Basically, if you can’t get into some companies, it’s not because you are too expensive or don’t hold a H1B or ‘the government is discriminating against American workers’. It’s because you aren’t smart enough. Period.

  25. Americans go to school for 12 years. Indians go for 10 years. Our college bachelor degree program is 4 years. Their’s is 3 years. So the Indian degree program is structured to give them the advantage right out the gate. Those of you H.R. departments please keep this mind the next time you turn some of us down based on degree comparisons…

  26. there has been quite a divergence in technology in the last ten years …. this is probably good but it really thins the numbers of people with expertise in a specific area / technology. That means companies will likely have to invest some ramp up time for new hires.

    Is there a shortage? NO … Why? Because if you had high numbers of people in a specific tech area, there would not be jobs for them …. they would have to do some other tech.

  27. But what can be done in the short run? I left a company to go to another who was offering me a new opportunity. I was forced to leave this new place (horrible situation) and I am now confronted with the reality that I do not have the “skills” needed for a typical Software QA position. In hindsight, if I stayed at this new place, I still wouldn’t have had the chance to learn new skills that would make me valuable in the current market, so I think things happen for a reason. Now I have to consider other options, including brushing up on my tech skills in hopes that I can find a place who would be willing to hire me and allow me opportunities to learn and grow or leaving the field entirely.

    What employers want for QA are developers or para-developers. That already puts me a disadvantage. Plus, if your current employer doesn’t have the framework/technologies/techniques that are newer and more currently in-demand and has no plans to implement new methods/software or change their way of doing business, you are also at a disadvantage going into the market.

    I actually think that the people at my former (new) place will all face this if they lost their jobs as what they use and implement are unique to their company (i.e. their testing is set up on a purely homegrown system that was created by the developers who started the company and has evolved into this unwieldly beast). I should probably count myself lucky to be faced with the bleak reality now and make changes to my life before it’s too late.

  28. Mick Marrs

    I can’t speak for full-time rates, but for contract rates they have been going down. I just today got inquiry for a similar type of contract I did in 2007, the rate is exactly the same, so over 7 years no increase in rates. Now I have worked with software developers (both foreign born and born here) and I remember that back in 2010 their billable rates got cut, not significantly on a per hour basis but still a cut in annual salary.

    I took economics in university, and there is a fundamental theory of supply and demand. The only way there can be a shortage in a competitive market is if there a lower price than the market clearing price or the quantity demanded in less than the supply.

    To me that means we either have a wage rate that is too low, or the demand for tech workers is low for the level of supply or the supply of tech workers is too high for the level of demand.

    This all points to this whole tech shortage meme as a fabricated lie. But the real question is why? I can see the value to a individual tech company to promulgate this lie, but what benefit does it have to society at large?

  29. Beside lowballing pay; employers also want nothing to do with you if you’re over 50+
    The third item I found that they use as an excuse is the “Personality” interviews, they say they want people that are socially involved. BS they say they want socially involved but that ends up being the cliques at work, or the little brown nose manager followers.
    I told a friend of mine “what do I need personality for? I talk to machines all day”.
    Thank goodness I’m retired now and don’t have to deal with this. I’m one of the “dinosaurs” that actually does know how to do it all, is still willing to learn, but will never kiss the lower cheeks and work for 1/3 of what I’m worth.

  30. Let me start with the note:
    “highly skilled employees are very hard to find.”

    Without a specific definition, this could mean anything!? Literally.
    Is a “highly skilled employees” someone who knows 10 Op Systems inside-out and
    5 programming languages, or someone who knows 1 OS with 10 years experience of applications support of numerous systems… it really can mean tons of stuff in the IT field.
    And most managers won’t bother about IT terminology. They know “highly skilled employees are very hard to find”…

  31. I is or at least should be obvious that US firms are just plain lying about the tech shortage. There are plenty of tech savvy people around that can do tech work with just a bit of updating of their skills. The problem is that US firms do not want to invest a nickel in their employees for real training. Yes there is the odd corporation that actually will send their employees off for real professional training I’ll grant you that but the vast majority offer at best second rate training from some stale cd they found in the bargain bin and call that employee training. No one in the trenches will be fooled by corporate pr spin. The fact is that they are just cheap and would rather raid another firm rather than create their own. It is disgusting and counterproductive and I think it will lead to the unionization of IT pros. I’m sure that corporation will really like that.

  32. Jake Hansen

    I’ve been in IT since I left the Air Force 15 years ago. Where I’m working now, a new contractor showed up and I can understand maybe 1 out of every 10 words he says. It’s just a matter of trying to put puzzle pieces together. Unreal.

    The other thing that amazes me is the Indian recruiters. Most of them are calling from New Jersey or Dallas. Most of them speak horrendous English. Did they also get H1Bs to come work here as recruiters??

  33. If I might add a few more spins to this controversy:

    First off, yes, it’s about money. But it’s not simply H1B people getting paid less. They often come in through a contracting company, who pay them the bare minimum. The US companies pay the contracting company a flat rate for staffing, no sick time, no health insurance, no Social Security, no Medicare, etc. The contracting company may pay for vacation, sick time, and health insurance, but the certainly do not pay SSA, Medicare or 401K.

    Bottom line here, the H1B people can be paid exactly the same as a US worker, yet still cost the US company less. We might get rid of the legal requirement mandating SSA etc. and put US workers on a more even playing field.

    Secondly, the H1B people sign a contract for two years. So the company knows the person won’t hire on, learn everything they can about the work, then take that knowledge elsewhere in 3 to 6 months. In case you hadn’t noticed (and I know you have), loyalty is dead these days. With an H1B person, the company can buy at least 2 years of “loyalty”, which is worth something (I suppose).

    Perhaps US workers could offer to sign up for 2 or 3 years of contractual loyalty.

    Third, I’m sure there is a certain amount of bias going on, in particular when an immigrant moves to this country, rises through the ranks to management, then only wants to hire new people from his home country. It’s happened to me. I was asked on more than one occasion, “How do you feel about working with people from other countries or cultures?” My answer, which should be the standard reply, was that I have no troubles at all, and believe sincerely in diversity. And I do. But, like an idiot, I went on to complain that everything is fine so long as everyone can speak proper English so we can all understand one another. Too Much Information. Guess who didn’t get the job.

    Seriously, they might as well hang out a sign, “Hindi speakers only,” save us all a lot of time.

    Finally, it’s more than merely trying to get high quality work for less money. When you’ve been on unemployment for extended periods (as I have, more than once), your standards for pay become, shall we say, “less rigorous.” I’d look for just about any position that paid enough to cover my mortgage, which is considerably less than what the market said I was worth. And STILL couldn’t find a job.

    So, they want good workers for less pay, fine, so why can’t I find a job even at less pay?

    I have come to the conclusion that the hiring process in the US has become completely dysfunctional. Hiring managers don’t really know what they want, and on those rare occasions when they do, they aren’t willing to put in the effort to get it. At the end of the day, everybody suffers.

    • “Perhaps US workers could offer to sign up for 2 or 3 years of contractual loyalty.”

      It’s called contract positions. There are no IT jobs in Iowa that aren’t through a contracting agency, and if your contract is cancelled/runs out, they won’t ever get you another position, so you have to be the hardest-working, most brown-nosing employee, watching the older non-contract employees get away with murder while you do their jobs for them and hope they don’t take offense at anything that you do. (I was once threatened with my contract being terminated because I was coughing at that was “annoying” a “real employee”. Never mind that one of my co-workers at the same contract actually died because as a contractor with no health benefits, he couldn’t afford to go to the doctor…)

  34. KATHRYN CASTRO

    The H1b problem won’t last long because curry is now illegal in the US. What are you going to do about the unlimited stay the U.S. grants Russians for QA? Yes, I’m targeting you Wells Fargo!

  35. The only shortage was COBOL programmers leading up to the uneventful Y2K.

    No shortage existed otherwise, only greedy asshats like le nouveaux riche Gates and Zuckerberg, who lied hrough their teeth simply because they did not and still do not want to pay market price. Gates whined enough to say that he’d set up shop in Vancouver if he didn’t get all of the indentured servant visas he wanted.

    It’s also no big secret that Tata, Wipro and the rest of the big Indian outsourcers are even worse offenders with respect to H1B visas.

    I was .bombed in 2001. I no longer desire to deal with network design and maintenance, Microsoft anything, pre-sales, post-sales, blah blah blah. All of that can be done cheaper by someone with a headset and a VoIP connection someplace “cheaper than here”. I work in a call center for crap money, not doing tech, and I see what it has cost the US as a country.I’m the person who cleans up behind the elephants after the circus parade. Not much longer, though.

    There are a few things that can’t be done in some of these countries. These kinds of positions need SME, the ability to simplify the complex, and strong command of
    English grammar.

    I have worked as a liaison between offshored coders and large multinational corporations headquartered in the United States. The language gap can be bridged, but there are needs for multiple “translations” to get to the point where all requirements are known and can be net.

    From where I sit now, I see that contracting almost all IT functions out has led to a completely siloed environment. I know a lot about their business process and systems issues, but why should I care? They don’t even pay me enough to fart in the customer’s general direction. Just need to get the suckers to buy some pos or get the hell off my phone.

    This kind of attitude -pay crap and get a crap job done – has driven every company I’ve worked for, save one, out of business. The way things are going, I suspect the current one well be in that same line in the foreseeable future.

  36. Ever notice how many job postings these days include lines such as “be able to communicate with Client.” This was a given just 10 years ago. Now it has to be explicitly spelled out. That says a lot about the kind of people these companies are looking at.

  37. We need to get back on point with this discussion.

    We understand cause and effect and appreciate all the hardships this has put not only on ourselves but the horrible impact outsourcing has caused to our families!!

    Can we alter the course of the discussion to focus on what we can do about it??

    That’s the challenge!!

  38. I wish Dice could offer some suggestions, but I assume they must remain an impartial third party.

    If you try to contact your local congress person, you’ll get back what don’t want to hear. The majority of them are pro biz, so the tact must be different. Elected officials won’t help you for the most part.

    Also, this has been going on for years and we all know any complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

    Perhaps a suggested approach would be a giant public relations firm to push it to the top and keep it there. Any attempts to quash it could be thwarted to keep pushing it to the top again and again and again until it can get the attention it deserves.

  39. Fred Bosick

    DICE is not impartial. They get the same ad rate whether the job is real, or a ghost job to wangle for more H-1B visa holders.

    Besides, business twerps like yes men.

    “See, I told you Farnsworth, even DICE says we need more IT people and they can only come from offshore because ‘murrican kids are too dumb. Let’s call up Senator Hatch! He did such a nice job for Oracle last time.”

    That’s why my post way above expressing surprise at the publication of this article.

  40. It’s pithetic! What our politicians have done to us is an abomination! We let them openly and freely, bring in people from foreign countries to take our jobs because we let them tell the lie that we didn’t have the talent or skills here at home! Now, these people live here, have set up businesses here by the thousands, only to bring more people from outside the U.S.

    We let it reach the point where we allowed business to set up lobbies in Washington DC, immigration law lobbies, too!

    The only way to stop it would be a lobby presence in Washington DC with representation for us and by us with extremely deep pockets!! And that may not stop this nonsense either.

    We have to insist, and insist hard, like we really mean it, that big biz needs to stop this crap!! Any ideas???!!?!?!

  41. All this talk!!

    Not a darn thing will be done and I’ll bet there may be very knowledgeable readers out there with some influence that probably could suggest something that may be useful.

    Maybe we could make a compilation of all these posts and earlier similar posts that addressed this and send it to one of our politicians that cares and thinks something can be done to stop business from doing this!

    Problem is, the country has been altered to the point that business runs the country. Not us!!