A reader called to my attention this job ad, offering a position for a Java programmer at $85K in Fremont, an Easy Bay city considered part of Silicon Valley. (It actually makes for an interesting case study of changing Silicon Valley demographics, with the Indians becoming prevalent in areas of former Chinese dominance.)
My reader considered this $85K figure fishy, an impression that was worsened by the ad’s statement, “H-1B transfers welcome.” And to advertise a salary is rare in this field. And of course, since 7 years of experience is on the high end, there is further reason for suspicion.
To put this into perspective, consider the current Quora discussion as to whether a salary of $120-130K is enough to live on in Silicon Valley. Almost all the respondents say No (unless one is extremely frugal). They give grim dollars-and-cents expense breakdowns, and some note that the situation drove them out of the Valley, indeed out of the state, so that they could own a home and raise a family. And again remember, careers tend to be short.
So, what is really going on with that $85K figure? Could be lots of things, since there are loopholes galore in the statutes and regs, both for H-1B and green cards. I suspect, actually, that this is a “green card ad.” Whatever the route taken, it certainly shows the huge incentives employers have to hire foreign workers.
Meanwhile, the U.S. citizens/permanent residents are getting squeezed. The influx of foreign workers (a) holds down salaries and (b) raises real estate prices to exhorbitant levels. Ouch!
I’ve made public suggestions before for economists to address issue (b). As a Bay Area homeowner, I’m a major beneficiary, but it is making life tough for those — Americans and others — who want to live the American Dream of a house and a family. So, (b) is something that is crying out for quantification, a sadly overlooked issue in the immigration debate.