Thu, Jun
4 New Articles

IMHO: IT Labor Shortage?

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Last summer, Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, proposed increasing the number of H-1B temporary labor visas issued each year from the current 95,000 (which was already due to increase to 115,000 in 2000) to 200,000. The majority of H-1B visa holders have technical degrees and are employed as software contractors in the IT field. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), a high-tech industry trade association, has already achieved its goal of increasing the H-1B quota from the old level of 65,000. The cause of this push for increases is the false perception of a high-tech worker shortage. Recent investigations into the reasons for the supposed IT shortage are disturbing.

Dr. Norman Matloff (professor of computer science, University of California at Davis) has amassed a large amount of material on the issue (visit heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/itaa.html). He is considered an expert on the subject and has testified before Congress. Here are some of his more interesting findings:

• Only about 2 percent of those applying for high-tech jobs are hired. If there were a true labor shortage, companies could not be so selective.

• The number of H-1B visas that the industry requested for computer programmers increased by 352 percent from 1990 to 1995, while the number of jobs increased by only 35 percent.

• Companies are relying on cheaper labor. Many companies admit this when they refuse to provide real retraining for employees. (“If John learns Java, he’ll leave us to get a better-paying job.”) This is a not-so-subtle admission that they do not want to pay the market rate for the skills to begin with.

• Age discrimination is rampant. Computerworld magazine reported a 17 percent unemployment rate for programmers over age 50.

I hope this last point startles you; it startles me. Age discrimination is such a problem that a Web site (www. seniortechs.com) has sprung up. The site caters exclusively to programmers 35 and older and has more than 16,000 resumes on file. What it boils down to is that a company would rather pay $40,000 a year for a recent college graduate or H-1B visa holder than pay $80,000 a year for someone with years of experience. The recent college graduate or single immigrant can spend 60 to 80 hours per week working for the company. An older worker has unattractive time encumbrances, such as family commitments.

Another concern is exploitation of H-1B laborers. Chief among the exploitation methods is paying the individual wages far less than the market would allow if the

individual had a choice of employment. It is important to note that contracting firms try to farm out this person at the higher market rate; however, because of ignorance or entrapment in an unfortunate situation, the individual will be paid a substandard wage. Because employers sponsor visa holders and control, to some extent, the issuance of greencards, many H-1B visa holders must work for the same company for an average of five years before they receive a green card. Therefore, the company has a “captive” employee who must accept the company’s terms of employment.

Indeed, the unstated purpose of the H-1B visa is to provide companies with a cheap form of labor. The law of supply and demand dictates that if there were a true labor shortage, companies would pay more than the average 7 percent salary increase. In fact,
U.S. companies have consistently laid off high-tech workers over the past year. I searched for articles on high-tech layoffs and found there were 32,000 layoffs last year from a wide variety of companies. In some cases, these layoffs occurred so that companies could backfill the positions with cheaper H-1B labor. Unless these H-1B laborers acquire a green card, they can remain in the United States for only six years.

To realize our aspirations for continued growth and advancement of the economy, we need a stable, long-term base of high-tech workers, native and naturalized, to proceed into the next century. Don’t ignore this issue. The overall impact of the H-1B program on the IT labor force is quite significant. Companies are motivated to practice age discrimination because of access to a cheaper foreign labor pool. Research and decide for yourself how you want your congressional representative to vote on this issue.



Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: