Even Harvard Economists Are Easily Fooled

Today I attended a research seminar given by a young Harvard Business School professor, concerning career choices of STEM college students. Her research was quite interesting, and there was a lively discussion. Yet I found one of her statements quite troubling: She said that it is well-known that we have a STEM labor shortage. She cited the President’s Council of Science Advisers for this “fact” (the council includes people from Google, Microsoft etc. plus other vested interests from academia), but it was clear from context that she took this as one of those “everyone knows that” things. It was an important point, as she was addressing the putative “loss” that occurs if STEM students opt for careers outside of STEM after graduation.

Though I participated quite a bit in the discussion, I didn’t want to go off-topic by suggesting that she look into academic research showing that we don’t have a STEM shortage. However, after the talk, I introduced myself and pointed out that the shortage claims appear to be manufactured for political reasons. She was puzzled by that, but when I pointed out that wages have been flat in STEM, including in CS, she understood. I then suggested that she read Michael Teitelbaum’s book on the matter, to which she replied, “Oh, right! I read the book. He gave a talk at HBS.”

Academics in general should have a healthy skepticism about almost anything, and thus not be  susceptible to industry PR. Arguably, academics at Harvard should be even less susceptible, more knowing and just plain sharper.

As impressive as this professor was, it was profoundly disappointing that she could so readily accept the industry’s claims, and even worse, know about Michael’s work (she even briefly summarized his book for me) and yet still be surprised when someone (myself) points out that no, we don’t have a shortage.

Attention, Walmart Shoppers!

For those who might not get the allusion in my title above, it’s the phrase used on a PA system in the store to announce special sale items and so on. It’s often used as a prop in comedy routines. But it may take on a new meaning in light of an April 11 CIO Story blog item, which says in part,

“Walmart and its IT contractors are driving down standards in the tech industry in the U.S. by using H-1Bs visas excessively to keep costs low. Walmart is among the companies seeking an increase in the H-1B cap,” commented Greg Penner, the vice chairman of the Walmart board of directors

Is this a case of a rogue director, an egregious misquote, or what?

To me, what is more interesting is the paragraph that follows the one above:

Efforts are being initiated by Congress to raise the H-1B visa cap and also restricting its use by offshore outsourcing firms.

This of course is exactly what I’ve been warning about: The unwarranted focus on the IT service firms, oblivious to the industrywide nature of the abuse, will be used as an excuse to INCREASE the H-1B cap (and to create additional H-1B workaround visa programs, such as automatic green cards for foreign students, extension of the OPT period and so on).

Unclear Goal in Senators’ Letter Regarding SCE Case

Sometimes I receive so much mail about a certain topic that I feel compelled to write about it, even though I had not been planning to do so. Such is the case with a letter sent by 10 senators to Attorney General Eric Holder and other top officials, raising questions about the legality of Southern California Edison’s recent replacement of American IT workers by foreign workers.

The letter essentially asks whether SCE, and the Indian IT services firms, TCS and Infosys, that provided the workers, dotted all their i’s and crossed all their t’s. The answer is almost certainly Yes — SCE is a huge company with lots of careful lawyers. For instance, the letter asks whether TCS and Infosys are maintaining an employer relationship with the workers sent to SCE, as required by law and regulations. They are almost certainly doing so, assuming the plan, as typical, is to use the onsite foreign workers to serve as liaisons to offshore workers.

So, one must ask what the point of the letter is. I don’t see any point, which is why I originally had not planned to write about it. Perhaps the point lies in the closing sentence of the letter, which asks the recipients to notify the senders as to any “obstacles in existing law” to preventing abuse such as that in the SCE case. But does the Senate really need “permission” from the Executive Branch to fix the problems with current law?

To me, the only interesting aspect of the letter is who did NOT sign it. As pointed out in a Computerworld article, neither California senator was a signatore. A few years ago, a top aide to Senator Barbara Boxer told me that Boxer would never support any legislation that tightened up any aspect of immigration policy whatsoever, but I am somewhat surprised to see that Senator Feinstein didn’t participate in this very innocuous letter. Even more interesting is that the two most strident senators in expanding H-1B, Hatch and Schumer, didn’t agree to sign what, again, is what we in CS call a “no-op” (a placeholder machine instruction that does nothing).

As I have been warning for so long, there is far too much attention paid to the IT services firms, who provide H-1B and L-1 workers to mainstream firms. Why is it that people think it’s fine for an employer to hire a foreign worker directly but terrible for the same employer to hire a foreign worker through an agent?

And for that matter, why is overtly REPLACING Americans by foreign workers any worse than hiring foreign workers INSTEAD OF Americans? For example, does anyone really think that none of the 18,000 Americans laid off by Microsoft could have done the Microsoft jobs being filled by H-1Bs (and OPTs, etc.)?

Senators, please step up to the plate! Trying to tweak the H-1B program around the edges will only result in some kind of Rube Goldberg-style mechanisms that don’t work. As I explained in a recent post, what really enabled the hiring of H-1Bs to work at SCE was the four-tier system of determining prevailing wage, which makes young workers cheap. The ability to hire cheap young H-1Bs in lieu of older Americans is CENTRAL to the attractiveness of the program to employers, and to their ability to abuse it. Changing prevailing wage to a single number, an overall mean wage rather than four wage levels tied to experience, would have prevented the SCE fiasco in a very simple, direct manner.

And senators, if you do want to stop the abuse (a big “if”), such reforms need to be applied across the board, to ALL hiring of foreign workers. Don’t enact legislation that targets only the IT services firms, and don’t create H-1B workaround programs such as fast-track green cards for foreign students. Don’t create an “out of the frying pan and into the fire” situation for American STEM workers.

All this presumes that those senators have a genuine desire to protect American workers, which is questionable. Senator Sessions, in announcing the letter, noted that “There is no ‘shortage’ of talented Americans, only a shortage of officials willing to protect them.” Senators Sessions and Grassley are the only ones I can see with such a will, sad to say.

Yet Another Pro-H-1B Study, Seemingly Tied to Industry Money

The tech industry may claim a shortage of STEM workers, but they seem to have no shortage of researchers in pro-industry think tanks who can write reports promoting the H-1B work visa program. The new kid on the block in this speciality is David Bier.

A couple of people called my attention yesterday to Bier, asking me, “Who is this guy, and who funds him?” He is with a new libertarian think tank, the Niskanen Center, and though there doesn’t seem to be information about the source of their initial funding, there is something interesting in that regard about Bier’s employer until recently, the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Though CEI doesn’t make their funding details public, they do state who funds their annual dinner: Google gave the largest contribution, $50,000, and Facebook chipped in $25,000.

So, is his study any good? Much of it consists of rehashing old arguments — as with most research tied to advocacy funding, it cites only pro-H-1B research in its references — but it does have one approach which is rather novel (though one that is interpretable as critical of H-1B, contrary to his goal).

Here Bier tries to correlate unemployment rate in computer-related occupations with the months until the H-1B cap is filled (Chart 1). Since in recent years the cap has been filled right away, that second variable is a bit difficult to interpret, and as I’ve said before, unemployment rates in this field aren’t very useful, since tech workers find it necessary to bail from the field after encountering major obstacles in finding work; the former engineer now working as a sales clerk at Radio Shack counts as employed, even though he/she is UNDERemployed.

But putting that all aside, what Bier’s numbers suggest is that as the filling of the H-1B cap approachrd, unemployment in the computer fields goes down. Yet, contrary to Bier’s contention that American tech workers aren’t harmed by H-1B, Bier’s numbers could naturally be interpretable as indicating that as visas become hard to get, employers finally break down and hire some Americans.

Bier does concede that many might reach such a conclusion, but he dismisses the notion:

Opponents of the H-1B could respond that perhaps companies would have hired more American workers if they had no H-1Bs available to them. But if companies were hiring H-1Bs to save money rather than increase production, we would expect to witness, in the aggregate, more H-1B requests at exactly the time that companies are seeking to cut back on labor costs through layoffs when unemployment is rising. The fact that we see the opposite is strong evidence that companies are not basing their decision to hire H-1Bs on a desire to lower the cost of labor.

But this isn’t the way businesses work with H-1B at all. They ALWAYS are keen on hiring H-1Bs (provided they are doing any hiring in the first place). I’ve mentioned often that a central appeal of H-1B to employers is that the program greatly expands the pool of YOUNG workers, who are cheaper. In the tech field, the primary hiring target is the young, year in and year out, in good times and bad; they don’t hire older workers one year and younger ones the next. So, yes, they hire H-1Bs as cheap labor even in good times.

Speaking of age, I must give Bier credit for noticing that the primary way that SCE recently saved money by replacing Americans with foreign workers is that the latter are young. Again, younger is cheaper. Interestingly, Bier says that this was a matter of “penny wise, pound foolish” for SCE, as the foreign workers didn’t do too well at first, which he attributes to their lack of experience. Of course, this echoes the frequent observations by Americans that many foreign IT workers are not terribly competent. But what Bier doesn’t realize is that this won’t change SCE’s plan at all (indeed, they probably anticipated it); there will be a rough period at first, but it will work out to SCE’s satisfaction after a while.

Bier at least showed some novelty in his Chart 1, but Chart 2, unfortunately, shows no sophistication at all. He finds that tech employment rises and falls with the number of H-1Bs. He makes no attempt to bring in other variables, especially the overall state of the economy. So, his chart doesn’t seem to say anything more than, when the economy is good, there are more job openings, and thus more H-1Bs hired. To claim that the H-1B hiring “caused” the number of overall openings to rise, merely on the basis of this chart, is unwarranted.

Bier’s recurrent theme is that the H-1B program doesn’t harm U.S. citizen/permanent resident tech workers. At one point, he goes so far as to say, “…there is no evidence that foreign-born high-skilled workers are harming wages for American workers.” Bier just hasn’t done his homework. The congressionally-commissioned NRC report, written by a commission that included both labor economists and representatives from firms like Intel and Microsoft, did indeed conclude that H-1B was suppressing wage growth for American IT workers. Even the highly pro-H-1B Brookings report made such a statement.

And even though Bier stridently maintains that H-1Bs are not underpaid, he himself says that mobility issues with H-1B and especially employer-sponsored green cards impede the foreign worker’s ability to get the salary they are worth. You can’t have it both ways, Mr. Bier!

One of the arguments Bier rehashes is that wages in the computer field are not going down. He cites figures showing a 5% rise in the computer field (accounting for inflation) since 2003, compared to a 2% fall in the broader economy. It’s unclear why Bier thinks that tech occupations, and others requiring a college degree (lawyers’ wages went up much more than 5%, in spite of the glut), should be compared to wages of those who work at McDonald’s. But 5% is 0.4% a year, clearly contrary to the industry’s claim of a tech labor shortage.

All in all, one of the industry’s weakest offerings to the H-1B debate.

“We’re Desperate to Hire — Unless You Refer Applicants to Us”

One of those testifying in the recent Senate hearing on H-1B was German immigrant Bjorn Billhardt, CEO of Enspire, a startup the develops e-learning software. Apparently, during the course of his testimony, Billhardt offered to introduce American IT workers to employers.  IT worker Virgil Bierschwale, who lives in Billhardt’s general region, wrote an open letter to Billhardt on his blog, asking to avail himself of Billhardt’s offer of introductions. According to Bierschwale’s blog posts, Billhardt never responded. And even after American IT worker Jay Palmer, who also testified at the hearing, personally met with Billhardt and asked the latter to contact Bierschwale, there was still no response.

Billhardt may or may not know someone worth introducing Bierschwale to. But given Billhardt’s claims, he at the very least owes Bierschwale the courtesy of a reply.

One can’t blame Bierschwale for being reminded of the old saying, “Talk is cheap.” In fact, I’ve seen this pattern — someone from the industry claims employers are desperate to hire, but when one offers to connect them with qualified workers, they aren’t interested — occur many times. I’ll give a couple of examples, which I believe will be illuminating.

Some years ago, something like the year 2000, I was invited to appear as a guest on a Bay Area TV talk show, hosted by the late Pete Wilson, a prominent local anchor. The other guest was Coetta Chambers, VP for HR at Intel. A very high-level Intel executive, Tracy Koon, was also present, but not on camera. She said she was Chambers’ ride, though I suspect her job was to make sure Chambers didn’t say something “wrong.” Yet what was most damning was what Chambers  did NOT say.

I told Chambers, on camera, that I could help remedy the desperate labor shortage she described at Intel, as I had CVs for five or six well-qualified engineers and programmers that I could forward to her. She greeted my offer with awkward silence; she just sat there. I repeated the offer, but again no response for her.

Similarly, a March 17, 1999 PR Newswire statement stated (I’ve adapted this material from my University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform article),

“Something is wrong when you put an ad in the Washington Post for a software engineer and the only qualified applicants you receive are from non-U.S. Citizens,'” said John Harrison, CEO and co-founder of Ecutel, one of the nation’s most promising high-tech companies.

In testimony before the House Science Committee today, Harrison told of the extraordinary cost and difficulty he has experienced trying to keep his company staffed with engineers. Harrison asked our nation’s lawmakers to proceed on a two-pronged approach — dramatically stepped up math and science education for today’s students, and for the short-term, eased immigration laws…

Ecutel’s Web site said that the firm was seeking people with the following skills:

Intermediate and Senior Engineer Positions Looking for several energetic and self-motivated Software Engineers with at least 5 years of experience or familiarity in 2 or more of the following: C/C++, TCP/IP, Mobile IP, IPSec, Device Driver, Internet RFC, Mobile Computing, GUI, RDBMS, Networking, Security, Web Development, Microsoft/Unix OSes, general Internet communication protocols.

Bill Halchin had years of work experience in six of the skills this ad expressed interest in, considerably more than the threshhold of two stated by the ad itself. Yet he was not even called for an interview when he applied to the firm, even after two followup e-mail messages to Harrison. A subsequent inquiry under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) showed that Harrison was paying many of his H-1B programmers only $35,000 per year, far below the market rate.

And of course, the following year, Congress, apparently trusting people like Harrison (not to mention Intel), enacted the second increase in the H-1B cap in two years.

And here’s one I’ve told before. In 1998, I spoke at a conference organized by the industry and the Dept. of Commerce. Afterward, a man approached me and said, “You’re wrong. I’m a tech employer, and I really am desperate to hire.” I replied, “My wife is a software engineer. I’ll ask her to apply to your firm. Her surname is different from mine, so you won’t know it’s my wife, and we’ll see how desperate you are.” He immediately backpedalled, saying, “She’s probably too expensive for us!” THAT of course was the nature of his labor “shortage” and “need” to hire H-1Bs.

As the French say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Today we see the industry making exactly the same pitches to Congress as they were doing 17 years ago (more H-1Bs in the short run, develop STEM education for a long-run fix to the “shortage”), and moreover, we see Congress giving credence to the disingenuous statements of people like Billhardt, and 17 years earlier, Harrison.

And one more point about Billhardt: In his verbal statements during the hearing, he said that it wasn’t enough for an American applicant to his firm to have the desired technological skill sets. No, what is also crucial, Billhardt said, was that the applicant be a “cultural fit” into Billhardt’s team. A quick glance at Billhardt’s YOUNG team would seem to indicate that the culture he was referring to was that of 20-somethings, with maybe the odd 32-year-old being marginally acceptable. He may have one or two older accountants, say, but older programmers need not apply. Once again, the age issue is central to H-1B, a tragically overlooked point by not only Congress but also even the critics of the H-1B program.

Billhardt’s testimony, of course, repeats the claim that “for every 100 H-1B workers, an additional 183 jobs are created for workers born in the United States.” omitting mention of the fact that this figure is from an industry-sponsored study. Sadly, none of the senators called him on that point.

The H-1B/Age Connection: So Simple to Explain, So Hard to Understand

If you are a serious follower of the Great H-1B Debate, you may have seen the recent pair of dueling op-ed pieces, one by Ross Eisenbrey  of EPI and the other by Alex Nowrasteh  of the libertarian Cato Institute, concerning the H-1B work visa. Eisenbrey has generally been skeptical about the visa, while Nowrasteh is an outspoken supporter of both an expansive H-1B policy and of liberalized immigration policies in general.

I have points of disagreement with both of the essays, and as you might guess, find most of Nowrasteh’s piece to be based on faulty premises and misinformation. However, there is one kernel of wisdom in his article (emphasis added):

Migrants with H-1Bs are typically young, highly educated and earn high wages. In 2014, 94 percent of new H-1Bs were under the age of 40, while 99.8 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree and 54 percent at least a master’s degree.

This really amounts to a Freudian slip by the pro-industry Nowrasteh. Yes, indeed, this is one of the two primary appealing aspects of H-1Bs for employers — they are young. And young means cheap. Even with a (hypothetical) employer who might give wage parity to his young foreign and domestic workers, that employer is saving a bundle, in both wages and benefits, by hiring young H-1Bs in lieu of older (35+)  Americans.

Though there are other factors, notably a desire for immobile labor, for many employers, H-1B is fundamentally about age. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to get even those who are critical about H-1B to keep this simple fact foremost in mind.

Take for instance the much ballyhooed recent incident in which the giant utility Southern California Edison laid off American IT workers and replaced them by much cheaper imported foreign workers. People were properly outraged, but in all the discussion I haven’t seen anyone seriously raise the question of WHY the foreign workers have such low wages. Yes, some people have correctly mentioned loopholes in the legally-required prevailing wage, fine, but the overwhelming reason SCE can get away with paying those foreign workers much less than the Americans they replaced is that the foreign workers are much younger than the Americans.

Just as Nowrasteh let the cat out of the bag on the age issue, “planted” articles in the press promoting H-1B often unwittingly do the same. An excellent case in point brought to my attention this evening is an April 3 Houston Chronicle piece, “Scramble Is On for Coveted Work Visas,” by Lomi Kriel, containing the priceless passage:

But though [medical device startup Cognita CEO] Gaurav Patel] cast a wide net, 80 percent of the eligible pool turned out to be foreigners. The only American applicants had decades of experience, not a good fit for the entry-level position. So Patel hired a 24-year-old from Mumbai who had just graduated with a master’s degree in engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he specialized in robotics.

And there you have it, a perfect example of Americans being shunned in favor of a foreign worker (and by the way, NOT involving an IT services outsourcing firm). The fact that Patel considers the Americans overqualified should be Patel’s problem, not something for the U.S. Congress to solve for him. On the contrary, Congress should be wondering how in the world they ever wrote laws that allow such a thing.

This is, as I said, one of the core elements of H-1B, which I see all the time, including coincidentally this afternoon, when a well-qualified American applicant told me he had been rejected from a certain up-and-coming employer because he was, in the words of the phone interviewer, “overqualified” for the job in question. Since this American has also applied for other positions in the company without even a phone interview, he is presumably underqualified for those jobs. So my friend is both underqualified and overqualified to work at that firm — doesn’t leave much, does it? And yet I happen to know that this firm does hire foreign workers, who somehow have “just the right amount” of qualification.

What a sad but telling example of how, as pointed out by Neil Ruiz of Brookings from a different point of view, “Our immigration system is broken.”

Interestingly, this would be embarrassingly easy to fix:  Abolish the four-tier experience levels system used in determining prevailing wage, i.e. remove the financial incentive to give hiring preference to young foreign workers over older Americans. Define the prevailing wage to be the 50th (or better, the 75th) percentile for the given occupation in the given region — WITHOUT breaking it down according to experience levels. No solution is perfect, and there would still be room for employers like Patel to play games, but this simple solution would be a big step in the right direction.

But NO useful steps will be taken if the age issue is not on the radar screen of even the critics of H-1B, in spite of being so central to the problem. I urge those of you readers involved in proposing policy to keep in mind HOW those foreign replacements at SCE could be so cheap; the answer is a three-letter word.

Analyses of H-1B Salaries in Silicon Valley Firms

Recently Tech Crunch ran an article with the intriguing title “How Google, Facebook And Others Pay Their H-1B Employees,” by Kiran Dhillon.  It was an ambiitious, I might even say daring, attempt, and though its numbers are consistent with my contention that Silicon Valley firms underpay their foreign workers, it was severely flawed.  In this post, I’ll explain the problem with Ms. Dhillon’s analysis, and then show how to fix it, presenting newly updated data from my previous papers. (Note that I’m using the term Silicon Valley as shorthand for famous mainstream high-tech firms, as opposed to the Indian IT services companies.)

I believe you will find these analyses to be valuable, but it does require that you understand how their approach works. Both Dhillon’s analysis and mine center on the fact that H-1B and green card law require that the foreign worker must be paid the prevailing wage, a legal term defined to be the average wage for the given occupation, region and level of experience. Both she and I get our data from the FLC Data Center, which has data both for H-1Bs and green card sponsorees. For reasons that I and others have explained before, the latter data set is more reliable, and that is what I used exclusively in my analyses.

Dhillon reasoned that firms paying much more than prevailing wage are treating their H-1Bs fairly. She identified some that seemed suspect, writing, for instance, “Foreign systems software engineers may want to avoid Microsoft…” In her detailed analysis, she finds that Intel pays “Very Low [Green Card] Salaries: $85,176 Median Salary (18% lower than the median for employers in the same city and industry).”

Given that both Microsoft and Intel have long been in the vanguard of pushing Congress to expand foreign tech worker programs, these are intriguing numbers. However, Dhillon’s numbers cannot be correct. Employers must by law pay at least the prevailing wage (flawed though its legal definition is), so it cannot be true that Intel is paying below that value. The Wage Ratio (WR), i.e. wage earned by the worker divided by the prevailing wage, must be at least 1.00. (Before 2004, a firm could legally pay 5% under prevailing wage, and the data showed many cases in which Intel was doing so.) Judging from Dhillon’s description of her calculation methods, her problem seems to be that she improperly FIRST aggregated wages and prevailing wage figures across occupations, and THEN took the ratio of wages to prevailing wage. In other words, she took a “wage ratio of medians” rather than a “median of wage ratios.”

Moreover, some firms stated their wages in terms of ranges, typically with quite a spread between the two. It’s not clear how Dhillon handled this. My approach has been to limit my analyses to records specifying a single wage. I did this in my Migration Letters and EPI papers, and will present updated data below. But first, it is vital that readers understand the concept, as follows.

The employers claim to hire foreign workers who are “rare” in one of two senses:

  • Skills: They possess “hot” skill sets, e.g. Android programming.
  • Talent: They have high levels of intellectual talent, i.e. are “the best and the brightest.”

Thus the employers should be paying much more than prevailing wage. How much more? Well, I was able to quantify these notions in the above two papers, conservatively at about 20% and 30%, respectively. In other words, if an employer is paying a substantial number of its foreign workers well under, say, 1.20 or 1.30, then either

  • the foreign workers are underpaid or
  • the foreign workers don’t possess “rare” traits after all, so it was not justified to hire them.

Either way, it would suggest that the industry is not being very honest with us. This is what I found in the two papers cited above, based on 2011 data. Let’s see what the situation is today.  Data for 2014 seem to be available only for Quarters 3 and 4; but as the results are similar for all of 2013, let’s look at the 2014 numbers:

Amazon 1.02 0.80 46
Apple 1.00 0.86 42
Cisco 1.00 0.60 5
eBay 1.08 0.38 425
Facebook 1.23 0.00 4
Google 1.19 0.19 1500
Intel 1.76 0.00 1
LinkedIn 1.19 0.08 26
Marvell 1.00 1.00 95
Microsoft 1.03 0.57 14
Oracle 1.11 0.36 11
Twitter 1.27 0.09 149

Again, the small samples for Cisco etc. are due to reporting salary as a range. The 2013 data have the same problem, though with similar results, i.e. one could get a decent sample size for firms like Cisco by aggregating over several years.

To reinforce the premises behind the analysis, look at eBay. Typically it is paying its foreign workers only 8% above prevailing wage, with the word “only” alluding to the fact that this actually represents UNDERpayment of 10-20% below the market worth of the workers.

Google, on the other hand, is typically paying 19% over prevailing wage.  This is much better, but given the firm’s extremely stringent hiring process, it should be getting “the best and the brightest” (and the people I know there, both foreign and domestic, eminently fit that description), Google is UNDERpaying its foreign workers by something like 10%.

The case of Marvell is interesting, in that the founders, a husband and wife team, are from India and China, respectively. It seems to have the worst record among the firms shown above, suggesting that the founders are overly relying on hiring the countrymen. (I’ll give a breakdown by countries in another post.)

In viewing the above data, keep two key points in mind:

  • The really big wage savings accruing from hiring H-1Bs is avoiding hiring the older (35+) Americans, a factor not reflected above.
  • For many of these companies, wage savings is secondary anyway. What they really like about hiring foreign workers is that the latter are immobile; as I’ve explained before, this is viewed as a huge advantage by many tech companies.

One more point: The numbers for the entire F14 Q3/Q4 data are

all firms 1.00 0.70 89499

Remember, this is green card data, and thus basically excludes the Indian IT services firms, who only rarely sponsor their H-1Bs for green cards. In other words, in the mainstream industry as a whole, the foreign workers are typically being paid 20-30% below market. This illustrates the point I’ve made repeatedly: Abuse of the H-1B program pervades the entire industry, not just the Indian bodyshops.