More New NACE Data

I’ve often referred to the data on starting salaries for new graduates, compiled by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. NACE gets its data from the schools (who are NACE members), and though there are possible issues with the data, they are very valuable for year-to-year comparisons. Over the years, they have consistently shown that salaries for Computer Science graduates have been flat, indicating that the industry’s constant drumbeat of a dire CS labor shortage is grossly inaccurate.

(I should mention that my last post on NACE data contained a couple of errors, which I have now fixed.)

The latest NACE report involves only a projection, but is still of interest. This one is on graduate degrees. In spite of all the industry lobbyist hoopla over the number of foreign students in U.S. doctoral programs, their focus in hiring foreign students is at the Master’s level. Recruiters from Intel have told me that a few times over the years, and HP said the same in a meeting with my department faculty, referring to the MS as the “sweet spot.” This is important to keep in mind, as the NACE data — taken at face value — would seem to suggest a very recent change to the MS-vs.-PhD situation.

At the Master’s level, NACE projects only a 1% increase for CS over last year, again consistent with previous years. At the doctoral level, though, the projected increase is 7.7%. Let’s take a closer look at that latter figure.

Of course, one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the fact that the 2015 figure is an even multiple of 1,000, $94,000. That suggests that the sample size was small, and that perhaps the median rather than mean was used. Indeed, past announcements by NACE have stated that they had insufficient data to publish figures at the PhD level.

Well, sure enough, the 2015 figure was based on just 13 responses — only a 1.2% response rate. If for instance, Stanford, whose graduates are very highly paid, did not respond in 2015 but did do so this year, that alone would likely raise the average quite substantially. No detail is given for the 2016 projections, but presumably the sample size was quite small there too.

I wouldn’t dismiss this PhD data out of hand, and indeed there may be something at work there related to the recent Big Data/Data Science craze. But as things stand, I wouldn’t put much stock in the PhD data. I do trust the BS/MS data, though, because as mentioned, those data have been consistently flat for many years.

But there is more to say, concerning this data. Specifically, note how small the salary premiums are in CS for pursuing graduate work. An American CS student with a BSCS degree who is considering obtaining a Master’s sees a wage benefit of about $10,000 accruing from that degree (confirmed for me by my campus placement office) — compared to a loss of, say, $100,000 arising from foregoing an industry-level salary during a 2-year MS course. Moreover, this student would see that he/she would likely get that $10,000 wage increment from raises received during 2 years in industry. And I haven’t even factored tuition into the picture here. The bottom line is U.S. students incur a heavy, permanent financial loss by pursuing a Master’s degree. The congressionally-commissioned NRC report reached a similar conclusion back in 2001 concerning the PhD.

All of this is highly relevant, because the industry’s favorite line is “We are forced to hire foreign students because not enough Americans go to graduate school.” For example, here is what I reported on a 2011 House hearing:

Yet, without fully realizing it, Texas Instruments V.P. for HR Darla Whitaker has now essentially admitted that all that “Johnnie Can’t Do Math” stuff was just slick PR. At the October 5 the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement hearing titled, “STEM the Tide: Should America Try to Prevent an Exodus of Foreign Graduates of U.S. Universities with Advanced Science Degrees?”, Ms. Whitaker stated that TI has plenty of engineering applicants with Bachelor’s degrees, and thus does not hire foreign workers at that level. She stated TI does hire H-1Bs, and sponsors them for green cards, at the Master’s and PhD levels, where she says there is a shortage. This naturally led one of the congresspeople on the committee to ask Whitaker, why don’t the American engineering students go on to grad school? She replied that she supposed that the American students were anxious to get out and start making money.

To “start making money” may well be a draw, but as you can see from the data above, foregoing grad school is a good strategy to avoid LOSING money.

This in turn raises the question of why the wage premium for a graduate degree is so small. The answer, of course, is that the influx of foreign students into U.S. grad programs has held down wage growth at that level, as shown in work by UCB economist Clair Brown (1998 paper, 2009 book) and as forecast (and advocated) back in 1989 by an internal NSF report.

In other words, when the industry lobbyists say, “We need the H-1B program because Americans don’t go to grad school,” the reality is exactly the opposite: Americans don’t go to grad school because of the H-1B program.

Finally, a word about the generally high level of the wages, relative to, say, journalists. I say that because a journalist who interviewed me recently asked, as her very first question, “Even if the H-1Bs are bringing down wages for Americans, why is that a problem? They’re still making good money.” Apart from revealing likely bias in favor of the H-1B program, she is missing the point: Lots of American techies aren’t making that money,  because they can’t get tech jobs at all, as they are passed over by employers in favor the  foreign workers.

And as I so often point out, this is closely related to the age issue: Employers hire younger, thus cheaper, foreign workers in lieu of older (age 35+), thus more expensive, Americans. As a result, many qualified Americans either work sporadically as consultants, or leave the field altogether.

In my ASEE presentation earlier this week, I gave the example of “Dan” and “Ike,” two older Americans I know in the Bay Area, both of whom have been seeking positions in Data Science for over a year now. They both have Master’s degrees from top universities, and contrary to industry claims concerning older workers, they both have modern skill sets. Yet I see my foreign students getting jobs from the same employers that are rejecting Dan and Ike, in spite of not having any better skills or talent.

And clearly, these examples, and many others I’ve seen, show that the industry claim to hire foreign students due to having a graduate degree are false.

 

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29 thoughts on “More New NACE Data

  1. Thanks for this article, Norm. It provides more evidence that the foreign work visa programs (e.g. OPT extension to the F-1 Visa, B-1, and H-1B for examples) have morphed into bloated government-sanctioned foreign STEM worker hiring programs. Bachelor’s degrees, where the workforce gluts are highest, yield employers tending to choose the least expensive employee, which will in almost all cases be the foreign-origin worker. As noted in other articles, the foreign worker is also effectively indentured for almost all work visa classes, making the foreign worker even more desirable. The OPT program, where the employer determines the wages and working conditions (with no disclosure requirements nor annual caps) becomes particularly harmful for American graduates at the masters and Ph.D. level. I offer additional recent commentary at http://tinyurl.com/STEM-Glut

    I appreciate that your analysis above includes a Master’s Degree (MS) opportunity cost analysis, demonstrating as a consequence of the STEM workforce glut that even a two year MS program is an economic loss for most Americans. Since Ph.D.s typically require in excess of eight years, the economic penalties for American students are exacerbated, particularly when coupled with widespread employment age discrimination in high-tech fields where a 35-year-old often is labeled “too old” by many prospective employers. Coupling that with the huge student loan balances carried by many Americans, as documented in 2012 here http://tinyurl.com/victimizer-University2 the foreign work visa programs are “nailing Americans to the wall.”

    These “bad laws” in the form of U.S. work visa programs should be immediately repealed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. >“Even if the H-1Bs are bringing down wages for Americans, why is that a problem?
    >They’re still making good money.”

    Compared to what? Norm, you know this is my hot-button, but compared to pre-H1B times ALL salaries are now depressed by 50% or more in real terms. STEM jobs used to pay well, they started well and went up steadily over long careers. Now they start OK, and go up a little for five years, and in about ten years most are out, and even if you stick around the wages stay flat.

    (it is as much the lack of career progression in rates, as any other factor, that makes up my comparison claim of overall salaries being that much worse now)

    >U.S. students incur a heavy, permanent financial loss by pursuing a Master’s degree.

    This was also not true back in the day – college cost much less, and the relative premiums were larger.

    What about a “preference” for masters, or masters being a “sweet spot”? Eh. Disclosure: I have a masters in CS, and have worked besides all sorts over many years – and very few other CS masters, that I can recall. Any “preference” today would be some sort of rationalization. I’ve seldom seen much correlation between degree and productivity at work, probably somewhat negative for PhDs who generally seem to think they’re too good to write code, and then aren’t very good at it when they try. And really, if half the developers have “only” bachelors or less and in general* cut code at an acceptable level, why should a fancy degree carry more weight?

    *Actually I do NOT believe that in general developers cut code at an acceptable level, it’s an overriding law of nature that 80% of the work gets done by 20% of the staff, and if the bottom half of the development staff were cut, projects would get done much faster as the problems they cause outweigh any positive contributions they make. But that’s a topic for another day.

    A *lot* of the pro-H1B arguments seem to be based on the facts as they were pre-H1B and completely ignore the facts today, 25 years after the start of H1B.

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    • Josh, you ask, “Salaries high relative to what?” What I wrote was, relative to journalists.

      You also didn’t note that when I said employers prefer a Master’s, this was for foreign students, not programmers and engineers in general. In fact, the trend the last few years has been toward an unwritten (maybe even unconscious) rule that for American workers, they prefer just a Bachelor’s, because these are people whom the employers are tracking for the “talking jobs.”

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      • My question was rhetorical, Norm, as maybe the journalist was being a bit arch by being jealous of STEM salaries even if she knew they were still down 50%. Anyway she would be WRONG in asserting the “high” salaries if she knew the historical facts.

        And there simply is no space between what employers prefer for programmers and engineers and what they prefer from foreign students, if we’re talking the STEM world and H-1B. If as you say there’s an unwritten rule that *Americans* should *not* have masters, is that not just one more trick to subordinate the Americans? Or it could be that they realize the Americans at the bachelor’s level outperform the foreigners at the masters level, but who would dare suggest that!

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        • I was not defending the employers’ actions at all. On the contrary, placing them on the “talking jobs” track is another form of abuse (at least if the worker is not aware of it).

          Re your comment, “Or it could be that they realize the Americans at the bachelor’s level outperform the foreigners at the masters level, but who would dare suggest that!”, actually I’ve done just that, in one setting, http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/georgetown.pdf where I find that “Chinese MS [patent] application count much less than American Bachelor’s.”

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  3. Hi Norm,

    Very timely article.

    I’d like to bring to your attention the sale of communications electronics stalwart Broadcom, to Singapore based Avago. While this does not directly involve the use of the H-1B visa, it does involve the sale of a premier employer of PhD and Master’s level engineers and computer scientists, to a company who has already demonstrated that its primary business model is the “knowledge transfer” of technologies such as Bluetooth, WiFi, LTE cellular, and Network Processors, from California to Singapore, China and India.

    The recent announcement of a 700 person layoff of top-of-the-line engineering positions by Avago/Broadcom is probably only the first round of layoffs for this company. (Avago has already “knowledge transferred” and laid off much of LSI, another of its recent acquisitions.)

    http://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2016/02/11/broadcom-plans-nearly-700-layoffs-in-irvine.html?ana=gog

    With these layoffs, gone is the tax base for California. Most of these jobs won’t be taken by H-1Bs. They’ll simply be taken offshore. Gone will be the engine of skill for analog/mixed signal design, something that is critical not only to the commercial communications electronics space, but also to other areas such as satellite communication, power electronics, and national defense.

    Again, Avago is a company known to have a slave like, non-innovative, oppressive work environment. I worked at Avago and spent most of my engineering time there “knowledge transferring” jobs and know how to Shanghai.

    I would also point out that Maria Klawe, supposed advocate for women in STEM, President of Harvey Mudd College, and key Anita Borg Institute Board member, was on the Broadcom Board and approved the sale to Avago. In fact, given her longstanding ties with Singapore, it is likely that she was instrumental in crafting the sale.

    I notice that Maria made $2.3 million for approving the sale of Broadcom to Avago.

    I have to say that if this is the new modus operandi for the American science and technology sector, then let’s just say so. Then we can shut down all the expensive engineering and computer science programs, not burden the American taxpayer with programming they don’t have access to, and just churn out MBAs. Why worry about national sovereignty? That’s so yesterday.

    Also, I am curious as to why Maria keeps relentlessly telling us that we need more women in STEM, especially with so many engineering positions going off shore and what remains here being taken by H-1bs. Are we expecting these women to move to Shanghai, Singapore, and India? I’m not sure these countries are all that interested in hiring American women engineers.

    I notice also that Maria is giving a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) talk at UBC in Vancouver in early March, supposedly promoting the women in STEM issue there. As you probably know, she was CS Department Head, and then Dean of Science at UBC for many years. If you look at the composition of the CS and EE faculty in departments at UBC, you will note that she obviously had no impact at all on advancing the cause of women in STEM in CS or EE at UBC. So I can’t think of why UBC would be inviting her back to give a talk, except as yet another deceptive dog and pony show, once again paving over the central issues that crowd women out of science and engineering careers.

    Also, I would note that Maria is a huge H-1B advocate and never talks about issues such as gender based harassment or discrimination, or the general instability of the STEM workforce that has negatively impacted workplace professionalism. It took her until 2014 to discover the pay gap for women at Microsoft, a company that she had held a board seat at since 2009.

    It’s all corporate friendly jabberwocky coming from Maria. Apparently, that strategy has worked out well for her.

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  4. “Employers hire younger, thus cheaper, foreign workers in lieu of older (age 35+), thus more expensive, Americans. ”

    In my experience, as a top quartile 2002 grad of an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program, they’re not hiring the under-35-year old Americans (or Canadians) either. I haven’t been able to find a job in my field. Most of my classmates couldn’t. I agree with a lot of what Mr. Matloff says, but I don’t think he truly appreciates just how bad the outcomes are for younger US citizen grads who are mostly locked out of the careers they trained for in the tech sector altogether. Not even allowed to get a foothold in the market. Its not just older workers severely suffering, its also the young. Although some of us are getting pretty old and have seen our careers ruined by H-1B and all the shammery thus involved.

    As far as the MS degree is concerned, since MS and PhD degrees are “research” degrees, there is nothing “taught” at the MS or PhD level that is not taught at the MS/PhD level. Most training for STEM employment over and above the BS level is proprietary on-the-job training. Americans don’t do MS/PhD degrees simply because they can’t get hired with their BS degrees and see no point continuing in the field. Many do not have any money after going heavily into debt for their 4-year (which usually ends up being 5-6 year) BS degrees and do not wish to toss more money down the rat-hole.

    Agree with the above poster that the OPT is a catastrophe for US citizen (and even Canadian) graduates, as it allows employers to unilaterally hire foreigners. Additionally, it juvenilizes talent by only hiring them to an ‘internship’, rather than permanent employment.

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    • I’ve occasionally pointed to research by Tony Carnevale at Georgetown that finds that even more new CS grads have trouble finding work in their field. I have not emphasized that data, because I believe it is incomplete. Where do these students live? How were their grades? Etc. I am sure that H-1B/OPT do have a negative impact on new American grads, as you say, but it is difficult to quantify.

      You may be interested in my report at http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/Archive/2014CSGrads.txt

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      • The report looks like a reasonable representation of the facts. Why aren’t CS academics screaming about this sort of stuff from the rooftops? Is it the generally mild mannered nature of CS people? Is it the research support that they might not receive from the big CS-employing firms if they make noise? Is it future employment or consulting opportunities they might forego? Do CS (and even STEM) academics fear for their job security at their own institutions if they basically come out and admit that few of their grads are able to find jobs?

        I also found it interesting that your survey found that some of the brightest students had the most difficulty. That matches what I’ve seen. Employers have been mostly hiring for ‘body count’, or simply to fill chairs at the lowest cost possible, not for skill. People whom they perceive as being brighter, also carry with them a higher implied total cost of ownership. The HR paradigm since the late 1990s has been to hire the minimum required to do a given job to minimize “cost of ownership”, rather than hiring higher-end talent with a view towards the future. Coupled with a significant truncation of traditional career paths into management (accountants and MBA-types have largely been installed as managers), and its no surprise that the brightest face particular difficulties in the marketplace.

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        • Most CS faculty are totally unaware of the problem. But if they were aware, they would stay silent, largely for the reasons you cite/

          I known one professor whose highly-qualified son-in-law, over 35, was laid off by a big-name engineering firm. He had been working in a very modern setting, thus had a modern skill set, but COULD NOT FIND A NEW JOB FOR MONTHS. Yet my the professor continued to state in faculty meetings that we have a tech labor shortage.tell the truth on this.

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          • Months between jobs is not unexpected in general employment, once upon a time there was a rule of thumb, “one month per $10,000 in salary”, that’s probably per $20k now, but I think the rule holds.

            Would this still be true in a world with “shortages”? Perhaps.

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    • I agree, Mark. The shut out is happening below age 35 now.

      If it were just “market forces”, you could perhaps take some of this with a grain of salt, but when industry luminaries, NASA STEM education pundits, and government bodies continue to tout the “STEM shortage”, it becomes increasing difficult not to think that the “STEM shortage” promotion isn’t anything but a salary lowing maneuver, or worse. It’s even more irksome when you meet some of the people crying “STEM shortage” in person, and you realize that many of them don’t even have STEM degrees, or haven’t worked in core STEM fields.

      I was even talking with an IEEE bozo the other day, who was trying to sell the Green Cards for all university graduates thing to me. He started rambling on about Alexander Graham Bell, and how Bell was an immigrant, and how we couldn’t possibly miss out on the chance of hiring all the hypothetical Alexander Graham Bells in the world.

      I pointed out to him that I was, in fact, an immigrant from Canada, and even had some “Bells” in my family tree, who had at one point worked at Bell Northern Research as a telecom design engineer. When I told him that I considered the work environment for engineers in the US today to be slave like for H-1Bs and Americans alike, and not a place where Alexander Graham Bell could ever have invented anything, this guy still argued with. He continued to promote the H-1b and Green-Cards-for-all thing. It was like arguing with someone caught in a time warp at about the year 1960.

      In fact, the situation is dire and getting worse. We’re at the point now where it is no longer just a skilled worker unemployment issue, or an H-1B issue, but an actual threat to the scientific and engineering integrity of the country.

      Canada, the UK, France and some other parts of Europe really aren’t in much better shape. Actually, for years in the 1980s and 1990s, Canada tried to diversify its economy. But then the Harper government and the big oil boom came along. Other industries were neglected. So now, Canada is in even worse shape from a technology ecosystem standpoint than the US.

      Pretty dire.

      My advice to out-of-work engineers: if you can, go to Wall Street, into Law, or Medicine, start your own private business, or work in a protected area of the government where you can leverage your engineering background, but not have to work like a slave for some greedy corporate overlord.

      Liked by 1 person

      • When you say “medicine”, you actually mean becoming a doctor correct? If not, look at Molina healthcare in Long Beach to see what is going on.

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  5. BTW, further to my previous post, when there was a legitimate labour shortage for PhD EE’s in the RF engineering field, in the late 1990s, companies like Lucent weren’t afraid to offer $300k/year packages to new grad PhDs. A friend of mine got one, but didn’t want to move to New Jersey. Do a bit of inflation calculation, and that number is closer to $400-$450k today. I am pretty sure that such offers do not exist these days. But those are the sort of numbers that are more indicative of what would be ‘normal’. Remember that a certain Wall Street “bank” has average employee compensation in excess of $400k/year, so does $450k seem so unreasonable for a research engineer?

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    • @Mark

      ” when there was a legitimate labour shortage for PhD EE’s in the RF engineering field, in the late 1990s, companies like Lucent weren’t afraid to offer $300k/year packages to new grad PhDs.”

      Mmm. I happen to know a few people who graduated in the early to mid 1990s with PhDs in the area of RF and analog/mixed signal. Even then, almost nobody was making $300K as a salary. In fact, salaries at that time for newly minted PhDs in RF or analog mixed signal were more like about $70,000/year. Yes, stock options were a little more generous, and some people made out quite well for a few years until the .com bust. But nobody that I know was making $300K per year in base salary.

      So there again, engineers have not made salaries on par with Wall Street since the 1970s. The problem for engineers is that they don’t have any leverage when it comes to making immediate financial decisions. Often, our jobs keep us very busy just trying to keep the electrons or bits moving, while others end up controlling the purse strings, and setting the hiring, promotion and firing agenda.

      It’s something CS and engineers should pay closer attention to as we react to the wage and benefit arbitrage strategies (H-1B being one of these) of corporations

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      • As far as I know on Wall Street it is mainly the bonuses that made (and still make) some people rich. Especially when they can fake performance numbers, a habit that gave us the recent depression and cost most of us dearly.
        Many Wall Streeters in lower level activities never got much in salary and had to rely on their wits to bamboozle ordinary folks with some capital. Look at The Boiler Room, one of the best movies about this – and Vin Diesel never sounded better.

        About salaries ? Where I live programmers do it for $ 12 an hour.

        Bytheway, AFL-CIO published a report on H-1B in 2009 called “Gaming the System”.

        That all be true, unless attention also goes to L-1, J-1, OPT, as well as permanent immigration with unlimited Immediate Relatives, at absurdum Family immigration, and the ongoing Visa Lottery, you can kill the H-1B program and still the situation wil be bad.

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  6. But Marnie,
    Aren’t you part of the problem, if you’re from Canada? If we’re suggesting a squeezing the labor market at the high end and low end, then we need to have Americans have these jobs before we can let foreigners work here. Your concern is very legitimate but it would carry more weight if it came from an American.
    I am an immigrant in the US but since these days the discussion over immigration also involves severely restricting legal immigration, I believe an immigrant complaining about low wages would seem a bit hypocritical considering that the immigrant contributed in lowering wages when he or she first came in.

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    • First of all, if Marnie is a naturalized citizen, then she is an American. American does not equal native.

      Second, I’ve never understood that “hypocrisy” argument. My father was an immigrant. Does that mean he didn’t have a right to criticize immigration policy? How about me? As a second-generation person, does that give me more right to criticize than my dad? And does that mean my daughter has even more right than I have?

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      • Well if one is a naturalized citizen then of course you have a right to criticize. Anyone for that matter has that right.

        It would just be odd if one starts criticizing the immigration policy the moment one lands in this country. I have seen a few immigrants do that cause they think they’re the “best and the brightest”. The fact is the vast majority of immigrants aren’t. They’re simply among the many who are average workers who did regular jobs that any American could have done. Unless they played in the NBA or had a Nobel prize, that’s another matter. Natural born citizens didn’t move here; they were born here. In any case they have a special right that others don’t – they can run for the highest office. All I’m saying is immigrants criticizing should be aware of the fact that they’re not special.

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    • @Sdev,

      “Aren’t you part of the problem, if you’re from Canada?”

      So, just to illustrate the complexities of international corporate skilled labor artibrage, including the H-1B, I will fill you in, Sdev, on my personal history, as I think it aptly illustrates the overall complexities of what is going on.

      I grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a very international place. My high school is a prominent public high school in Vancouver (Magee, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magee_Secondary_School). Alumni of this school include Robert Christy, the Manhattan Project theoretical physicist, the actress Margot Kidder, Michelle Lang, the only Canadian reporter to die in Afghanistan, the anthropologist Grant McCracken, the actress Carrie-Anne Moss, and the conductor Dar Richards, among others.

      I attended school in Canada, and even worked there for a number of years, at Bell Northern Research, the Canadian Air Force, and at Vancouver, British Columbia based PMC-Sierra, when it was in its early stages. I started there just as PMC-Sierra received its first round of funding from Silicon Valley based Sequoia Capital (yes, Mike Moritz was a prominent VC at the time.) I was employee #49. Having both a Master’s degree in EE with RF and CMOS semiconductor experience, even in 1995, I was still earning only $60,000/yr Canadian (about $45,000/yr US). Once PMC-Sierra was acquired by Sequoia, we ended up with American style dental and retirement benefits, which by Canadian standards at the time were considered to be very meager. Essentially, it became clear that Silicon Valley based Sequoia had bought out and stripped PMC of employee benefits. Prior to the buyout, PMC had been funded by the British Columbia government as a telecom research institute with Canadian tax dollars. It was a one of a kind research institute. For a while, things looked good. A lot of people made huge gains with PMC-Sierra stock. But then again, many of my friends were also laid off. Few today work as semiconductor IC designers.

      Call me foolish, but I actually love being a mixed signal IC designer. I didn’t want to transition into management or become a marketing dweeb. So I saw the layoffs that would eventually come and decided to find a company where there was a greater emphasis on analog mixed signal design. That involved a move to California. I made the move early in 1997, before the huge run up in the use of the H-1B visa.

      In fact, I don’t doubt that there probably was an American that could have done the job I took at Level One Communications.

      As an aside, my grand mother, Gertrude Olmsted, was, in fact, an American. Her grand father, Alden Olmsted was from upstate Vermont. Gertrude is listed as a 13th generation descended of Richard Olmsted, a “Founder” of Hartford, Connecticut (about 1630). And yes, Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of central park and many university campuses, including Stanford, is also a descended from the same family.

      https://books.google.com/books/about/Genealogy_of_the_Olmsted_Family_in_Ameri.html?id=qkJEAAAAMAAJ

      Regarding skilled immigration policy, I don’t have any huge inclinations one way or another. I just think we should stop lying to the kids, telling people that we need the H-1B because there are no Americans to do these jobs. There are highly skilled Americans, from diverse backgrounds, to fill *all* of the STEM positions currently available in the United States. There are highly skilled Canadians to fill *all* of the STEM positions currently available in Canada.

      This business where corporations go around telling the public that Americans can’t do these jobs has reached ridiculous proportions. My daughter attends the Lycee Francais de San Francisco. Many French people at this school, some of them executives at corporations such as Google, continue to promulgate the message that the United States desperately needs skilled foreign workers. It’s a ridiculous situation where the once great Lycee system is cutting back on its excellent math program in order to Google promoted “coder” programs for girls and fake “startup” programs in order to push these kids into jobs that largely don’t exist. Given Google’s terrible track record on dealing with its discrimination issues, its particularly farcical for Google to be foisting its “Girls who Code” program on American (and French) high school students.

      Am I against immigration? No. I do think there is a place for immigration, and especially for asylum seekers and people with PhD level talent. And we should do something compassionate for the undocumented who have worked in the US for many years. But I also think that far greater emphasis should be placed on capacity building and corruption reduction within developed and developing economies. India doesn’t even have a stable power grid. And China derives most of its energy from coal, which is an absolute carbon emissions disaster. Is it really too much to ask that some kind of focus should be put on these issues, rather than almost exclusively on projects like drones, artificial intelligence, non-scalable quantum computers and driverless cars? Because under the current oligarchy, those seem to be the only projects that the likes of Google and Facebook can take on (with their armies of under 30, mostly male, compliant workers).

      Facebook only employs about 12,000 people total. Most of the luminaries at Google are not engineers. Elon Musk dropped out of his engineering degree at Queen’s. These guys are completely ill equipped to take on supercomputing or power distribution system designs that can help us cut green house gas emissions. So why are we listening to Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard dropout, and Elon Musk, Queen’s drop out, regarding the broader manufacturing and research economy and the long term stability of the science and engineering work force?

      By the way, any Americans out there that would like my engineering job back in Canada? Sorry, its been filled. But if you do happen to wiggle your way into my now defunct engineering job, enjoy working for 60 cents on the American dollar, courtesy of international currency manipulators.

      Norm, I’d post a link to the Dead Kennedy’s song, “Holiday in Cambodia”, but somehow I think you might not post my comment.

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      • Marnie,
        Then I believe we both are on the same page. I would go further to state that not only skilled jobs but even unskilled jobs can be had by Americans, it just depends on the price we’re willing to pay. I personally do not care whether the H1-B program stays or is eliminated. Same goes for green cards. I don’t personally think that PhDs are necessarily smarter so making an exception for them along with refugees makes no sense. I have a Masters but I stuck to being in software development because that’s where my passion lies. I know too many PhDs who ended up in management positions. So I’m not sure how that helps. Anyway, I personally couldn’t care less if the US ends immigration as we know it. Maybe a moratorium on immigration might be a good thing. Hopefully that will solve the problems of stagnating wages and everyone will have a job. I’m told President Trump will get it done 🙂
        Only downside is that even after a moratorium if the current economic issues exist, we won’t have “greedy corporations”, Chinese “currency manipulation” or immigrants to blame for it. I say let’s try it out. There’s a good chance it’ll work.

        Like

        • @sdev

          We’re not really on the same page.

          “I personally do not care whether the H1-B program stays or is eliminated. Same goes for green cards.”

          I do care. I think the H1-B program should be eliminated, full stop. We can grandfather in the people on H-1Bs who are here. There is simply no economic need for the H-1B visa program. The United States is a country of 320,000,000 people. Surely among that 32,000,000, we can train the at most 10,000,000 people who work in STEM from this pool of more than 320,000,000 people (*3%* of the total US population.)

          Oh, astronomy and NASA people: the total number of you is only 20,000: (0.006% of the population).

          And electrical engineers? I think there are about 316,000 job openings for EEs, total (0.1% of the total population.)

          Software developers? About one million. About 0.3 % of the total US population.

          Also, I would note that biology gets a special pass on the H-1B visa. Hmmm. Very suspicious. It’s very annoying when I meet people in biology who condescending blabber on about how the H-1B is not really such a big deal. Sure. It’s not a big deal for biologists because most biology careers are not open to H-1B visa employment. Biologists, please note this fact, and stop talking down to your friends in physics, CS and EE, who are taking the H-1B hit, head on.

          The United States is consistently rated with the best STEM programs in the world. Most of the jobs in STEM do not (as Norm has noted) require a PhD, and many don’t even require a Masters degree. Yet American universities continue to crank out some of the most highly trained engineers and scientists in the world, who increasingly have poor prospects for stable employment. No wonder so many of us go to Wall Street and to hedge funds, where we become the evil other, destroying the careers of our former classmates. Perhaps a few more of us need to become attorneys, journalists and politicians.

          So, again, I see no reason at all to continue on with the H-1B visa.

          We also do not need to hand out green cards to *every* PhD graduate. We should use a point system for PhD level candidates, and the point system should be based on labor statistics, and should favor areas where there is truly economic need.

          I am absolutely confident that companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple could easily continue to do well without the H-1B visa. They may even do better, because moral in their workforce would gradually increase. And yes, a few over compensated executives with massive stock options holdings would take a pay cut. Oh darn.

          As to the Tatas and Infosys’s, well, I am not sure. I’ve never worked for one of these companies, but I’m sure that American companies could fulfill these IT support functions. How dreadful that they’d have to roll up their sleeves and start doing some in house training.

          Regarding this comment: “Chinese “currency manipulation”: I did not at all imply in my previous statement that it is the Chinese that are the perpetrators of currency manipulation. I’m sure that’s a quite international effort. Davos anyone?

          Also, could someone please ask Sheryl Sandberg to tone it down. Her skirts are a little short, (Davos Summit and Grace Hopper Women in Computing Annual Meeting) and I’m having trouble comprehending the “toddler wage gap.” Sheryl, you’re not a STEM grad, remember? Also, I noticed that you just sold 2.5 million dollars worth of Facebook stock and that you are a huge Hillary supporter. Obviously, that worked out well for you in Nevada.

          And no, I won’t be voting for Hillary or Trump.

          Like

      • Marnie, I like what I hear from you.
        If you want it, I will make the space available at Keep America At Work for you to tell your stories

        I realize that is not the best offer you will ever receive, but we need Americans like you in America sticking up for Americans in America

        Like

    • @mib8

      I have noticed that anyone who brings up the H-1B issue is almost always spoken down to by management worthies (usually with weak STEM skills) and given “career” advice about how to sharpen up their “IT” skills.

      First of all, there are many sub categories of “IT”, and it is not so easy to arbitrarily “sharpen up” for “hot skills” that often do not even exist or vaporize with the changing Silicon Valley winds. A few years ago, Java was all the rage, and you could go out and spend thousands of dollars sharpening up your Java skills. Those skills are not in very high demand today.

      Furthermore, many people who have experienced layoffs, directly or indirectly due to the H-1B, are not “IT” workers, but work in other areas of STEM. It’s amazing that the larger public does not understand that most highly specialized STEM skills are not easily transferable.

      Especially with the recent Silicon Valley layoffs, (Twitter, Qualcomm, LinkedIn, Yahoo), I have a very hard time believing there are any particular easy instant “hot skills” that will get you an instant raise.

      Like

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