What Google, Apple, and 13 Other Tech Companies Pay H-1B Workers

Whoever President-elect Joe Biden selects to head up Homeland Security and other agencies, it’s clear that H-1B (and tech immigration as a whole) could soon end up looking very different than it did under President Trump. Given how radical changes could soon be underway, it’s well worth looking at what some of the nation’s largest and most prominent tech companies pay their H-1B workers—after all, these compensation numbers could change radically in a year or two.

Data from this list of 15 companies comes from the H-1B Salary Database, which indexes the Labor Condition Application (LCA) disclosure data from the United States Department of Labor (DOL)

Some interesting things to note: Some of the largest tech companies (Microsoft, Apple, Google) pay their H-1B workers a relatively low average wage compared to smaller ones (such as Twitter, Waymo, and Airbnb). Why is that? A high degree of specialization might have something to do with it; whereas a company like Microsoft might pull in 32,000 H-1B workers for a variety of tasks, a firm like Waymo (which specializes in autonomous-driving technology) or Bloomberg (finance IT) is likely on the hunt for highly specialized workers.

That Netflix tops this list should come as no surprise to anyone who watches tech-industry compensation. The company is famous for paying huge salaries to technologists who deliver outsized results. In a posting on CNBC, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he believes that “the best programmer doesn’t add 10 times the value” but “more like a 100 times.” Given that, perhaps it’s no surprise that Netflix’s H-1B workers make quite a bit more than their equivalents at other tech firms. 

The big question now is whether tech companies will continue to hire thousands of H-1B workers, or whether the recent changes by the outgoing Trump administration will stick. Back in October, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Interim Final Rule that changed how much companies can pay H-1B workers. 

That rule argued that current wage levels “provide an opportunity for employers to hire and retain foreign workers at wages well below what their U.S. counterparts,” leading to “downward pressure on the wages of the domestic workforce.” Because of that wage floor, it added, some companies could “use H-1B workers as a low-cost alternative to U.S. workers.”

The rule’s language echoes longtime criticisms of the H-1B visa program, namely that it allows consulting and outsourcing firms to contract cheaper workers to tech companies. Indeed, many of the Trump administration’s tweaks to H-1B policy over the past several years have targeted these firms, resulting in a rising rate of H-1B application denials (as well as renewal denials). 

By raising the required wages of H-1B workers, the DOL’s rule could force these outsourcing and consulting firms to readjust their entire business model. It may also force big tech companies to pay in-house H-1B workers a higher salary, which could radically change their hiring decisions.

But all that hinges on the Biden administration continuing the Trump administration’s processes. And at this juncture, that seems unlikely; Biden’s campaign, for example, suggested that it would increase the number of visas in coming years, based on certain conditions. 

14 Responses to “What Google, Apple, and 13 Other Tech Companies Pay H-1B Workers”

  1. Jake_Leone

    I think the key here is that Offshore Outsourcing companies remove jobs from the United States.

    If President Biden wants to keep jobs (rather than take campaign contributions). He should keep the Trump changes that make it unlikely the Offshore Outsourcing companies will use the H-1b Federal Government program.

    Those provisions are:

    – Raise the Salary of the people on H-1b visas, to the average wage (not the prevailing wage).
    – Switch from a idiotic lottery, to a salary ranking.

    As I have said, I have no reason for me to want to see these changes stay. Right now a Silicon Valley company has only a 1 in 4 chance of *** Winning *** an H-1b visa. That automatically cuts down the number of H-1b personnel I have to compete with.

    Also, when people come in on the OPT, they are just beginners. I get to train them. They typically leave after being unable to obtain an H-1b visa, through my company. If they stay, they still don’t have my experience, for decades.

    The low salary bar and the idiotic lottery mean that more than half the H-1b visas are taken up by Offshore Outsourcing companies. Hey, no issue there, because those Offshore Outsourcing companies want to remove whole departments, where the jobs are fix script. Like those in HR, support, accounting…

    The low salary bar doesn’t attract people from Europe and Israel. The pay in Europe and Israel is very close to the pay of people in the United States. The massive relocation costs and the uncertainty of obtaining a Green Card make the U.S. undesirable. Relocation from India and China is desirable, but there are language barriers that prevent people from assuming my position, which requires precise language and zero cultural communication barriers.

    Like the old engineer joke, I am simply greasing the guillotene.

    And I am waiting to laugh when, out of spite and/or campaign contributions, the Democratic administration rejects every single Trump H-1b visa change.

    I will literally laugh my *** off at the insanity and stupidity of people who refuse to think.

  2. Every week, we see the same article here about how much are the largest companies paying H1B holders or which companies are hiring the most H1B holders. The majority of developers in the US do not work for any of those companies and we unlikely to get a job at any of those companies. You have to fit in a certain profile to get into those companies. How about an article about hiring practices at medium-sized companies in the US? Or, hiring practices in the financial sector or the public sector?

  3. As JT said, we see these same articles all the time. What’s the point? OK, we get it already — move along, there’s nothing new to see here. As for Biden, be prepared to see all of the good labor things revert to crap, including illegal “immigration”. Remember, he supports the “working man”… aka, labor unions. IT workers, per se, don’t count, only his big-money supporters. (See the list above.)

    • Tan Frendley

      Same article is posted again and again because — propaganda. Lately the real issue in the IT world is not so much H1-B but offshoring. Million of jobs — in fact the whole departments are being off-shored to India. It’s not only the low-level jobs (call centers and help desk) going offshore but also the senior level jobs, like Database Administration, Network Administration, System Administration, Storage Administration, Hard-line Manager, Sr. Manager, and even Director level jobs are being off-shored to India. Not a single article on Dice I have seen that highlights this issue. If you don’t agree with me, go ask your friends around that are working in IT Services companies.

      • Third Eye

        @Tan Frendley

        I do not know if you work in the American IT landscape but I do for the past 21 years out of 24. I have seen the various transitions that have happened (Good and bad).
        A lot of Dice audience have been fed with H1B related BS by Kolakowski which takes a genuine problem/shortcomings that are present with the H1B program and then try to fit every problem IT professionals face, to plain meaningless scapegoating which brings the racist underpinnings of the society in full display in the comment section.

        WELCOME TO THE WORLD of AAS (As A Service) and we are being made AASholes

        I will start with a simple use case. Previously every company used to have a IT Department, even if that is not a part of the core competency. They used to have MS Admin team maintaining MS Outlook, MS Exchange, MS Office, Sharepoint, Teams/Skype and if needed SQL server. Now with Office 365 all of these go away and a regular Help Desk is more than enough. In addition, for a fixed fee per month per user, MS takes care of availability, licensing, automatic upgrading, storage, scalability. MS is responsible for making sure that the email data is available by replicating between data centers, DR and accessible via Web with a computer (office or personal), mobile device, tablet with/without additional security/controls like MS Authenticator app . It gets integrated with the company on-boarding software so that when I am hiring a person, I would just need to enter the details in the provisioning system and immediately (within hours if not minutes), I will have all those available for my joinee before he/she steps into my office. Similarly when he/she leaves, I as a manager will have access to their Sharepoint for 30 days where in anything important, I have to find another place for it. Once I provision their relieving process, all the disablement is set in motion.
        Similarly project management, workflow management, ticketing systems have all been “cloudified”. Service Now (www.servicenow.com) for example in my company replaced 4-5 distinct internal products in Ticketing, Service Management, Asset Management, Change Management, Vendor purchasing). So previously we had something like 15-20 people who were there to support and maintain these 5 systems (Admin and some basic devs). After Service Now basically that team has been moved internally within the company/let go.

        A lot of Database Administration, Network Administration, System Administration, Storage Administration jobs are disappearing because of the move to Cloud based IAAS (Infrastructure As A Service) providers like

        AWS,
        Azure,
        GCP,

        OCI *
        IBM Cloud *

        * – These are hybrid clouds that can be both in premise as well as outside Cloud Data Center, purely given thrown as a life line to keep the current businesses from migrating to the first 3, but guess where they want to coax their customers into? Wanna Guess?

        Do you know why IBM acquired RH for 35B and is willing to get rid of IBM Global Services division, which like not even 5 years ago, was a huge cash cow?

        The cloud is hugely disruptive to IT business in the sense it consolidates what used to be a “given” in regards to IT Operations and maintenance in every company into a central infrastructure available to any company on demand with unlimited scalability for a minor initial cost increase that can be realized in a couple of years. It has changed the paradigm of code development with Automation and Dev Ops.
        So now you understand why you are barking up the wrong tree here?

  4. The jobs that can be successfully offshored are the ones that follow a specific set of instructions – Database Administration, Network Administration, System Administration, Storage Administration are not really developing new on their own – they are order takers and work on a transactional basis. From what I see, they want to be told to do X and they do it – you then have to say ‘check results’ and report back. The level of work doesn’t get much beyond that. The DBA – wants a script to execute and won’t write that without extensive hand-holding. The offshoring of these areas leaves a lot of be desired in a development group. In an operational area they can be a disaster. Any small loophole in written requirements can mean your system is down for the day. Give me on-shore with American ‘can-do’ attitudes.

  5. The criminal enterprise that is the Biden family will continue UNABATED once that demented Alzheimer’s patient takes up residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Biden is not only corrupt, but he is also a traitor and I’d bet my next pay-check the CCP has him so completely compromised that he will do anything they want.

    Secondly, US companies are no longer AMERICAN; they are globalist in mindset and show absolutely no concern for the destruction of the American standard of living. They care about profits!

    It is NOT the responsibility of government to pander to corporations by providing them with a steady stream of cheap labor from Third World shitholes like India or from autocratic countries like China and Russia. The first role of government is to protect its OWN citizenry and in the USA, administrations of both parties have sold us out on the altar of globalism.

    I predict that the new BIDEN-HARRIS regime will swiftly become the HARRIS TYRANNY when the DEMs remove Biden from office using the 25th Amendment. They’ll cite mental incapacity or perhaps he’ll mysteriously have a stroke or cardiac arrest (induced) and the party of JIM CROWE, the KKK, the internment of Japanese Americans in WW II will complete a coup d’etat against one of their very own.

    If Biden wanted to help US workers, he would continue Trump’s policies and even expand them by HALTING ALL IMMIGRATION to the USA until Covid is behind us. The fake use of asylum claims must stop as well.

    The greatest threat we Americans face is not Covid, it is our government that continues to thwart freedom and becomes ever more tyrannical with each passing day.

    What we really need in this country is a SECOND American Revolution, but instead of removing a Mad German King on the British throne, removing those at the top of the US food chain who have betrayed us to line their pockets and to retain their monstrous abuse of power.

    • Bernard Lambert

      Politics aside…because Trumpers are brain-damaged after 4 years of the Unamerican. America is great when we all can work and do so in a fashion that provides for our family and future. Attempts to target immigrant labor are mirrors of the hate-mongering done by the previous administration. The demand for IT skills is beyond comprehension and statistical analysis. I do well because I have 40 years of IT. I see many imported workers who cannot perform well due to inexperience. Managers seem unable to differentiate between each worker’s skills or to assess them well enough and reward them accordingly. High priced workers are targets of the latest austerity or perceived financial downturn practices of those organizations. The problem is they are filling the seats with inexperienced workers who are parting with a large portion of their income to the “handlers” who brought them into the country. In the report above one would wonder who s really getting those rates. According to H1B folks I have spoken with, the handlers are getting such a cut that the H1B worker is underpaid by skills or practice standards. This is yet another exploitation by corporate HR departments.

    • @PaulC, Just because you are living in US won’t make you superior to anyone else from any other country. I have seen people from the shithole and autocratic countries working day n night burning the midnight oil, so that people like you enjoy ur life. You enjoy so many perks and a good lifestyle here which is not the same, when it is transferred to Offshore.

      I totally agree with the fact that during the COVID times all travel should be banned to prevent the spread.

      From your post, it looks like you have too much problem with the government, why don’t you put some efforts to get elected as a presidential and make the changes as you desire. I guess it is more comfortable to sit in front of an electronic device and write shit instead of doing something good.

    • Interesting article on Facebook but not surprising. Companies exist to make a profit and hire the best person at the lowest price. In the American capitalistic society, profits are more important than people even though the people help the company to make the profit.

  6. Under an alias to prevent blowback from my company (Anthem), but basically the revocation of H1B visas just made them open shop in India. I don’t fault the employees in India (they just want to work as well), but the C-Level leadership of Anthem sent a majority of IT jobs overseas, and now has a flipping mandate to outsource a huge percentage of jobs over there. What I will say, is I hope the penny-pinching and short-sightedness bite them on the but bigtime. As someone who interviewed a lot of candidates overseas, their level of quality (or lack thereof) is laughably bad. I would take a kid fresh out of a University here to a Senior over there. Dang, with their ‘Title Inflation’ I would be a CEO over there. I am sure other companies did the same thing. I know it seems like the revocation of H1B visas would protect American jobs; however, I know first hand that all it did was ship them to India and the Philippines.