Motives behind IT Shortages

I read an article today that hit close to home and made me think of your book “Five Short Blasts“. It was regarding our “IT Labor Shortage” being a Myth and as an IT Manager one of my responsibilities is hiring talent. It reinforced some of the things you mentioned in your book such as having a broken immigration system and the need for higher wages here in the states among others. I understand that this is “loosely” tied to the primary message your book is sending and the new Theory but it has such a far-reaching impact on all aspects of our lives. I was interested in your opinion or any comments you have regarding this. Thank you in advance.

The article in its entirety is here (grammar isn’t that great in the article but the message is sound) however I have summarized a few statements that were made in which I found noteworthy.

“In the case of industry business people, the motive is to get the Feds to loosen immigration restrictions for cheap foreign labor, to increase supply of workers in order to reduce labor costs and to justify offshore outsourcing efforts, Hira said.” 

“They want to justify whatever business actions they’re taking or they want to take,”  Wadhwa said. “In this case you have companies are going over seas and they’re trying to say, ‘Look it isn’t us, it’s the fact that American education is not graduating enough engineers. This is why we are doing it.’” 

“Hira believes that the illusion of a shortage has already done harm by helping the industry sneak past politicians for increases in H1-B guest foreign worker visas in an immigration system that Hira believes is broken.” 

“We have a system with certain criteria set out—the H1-B has requirements—the problem is they’re so loosely written that in fact those workers can be substitutes for American workers and in effect American workers can be forced to train the workers who are on H1-B to replace them,” Hira said. “So that certainly runs counter to both common sense in terms of what the programs are supposed to do; but also what the publicly stated goals are both by politicians as well as by the lobbies.” 

“The trouble is that it creates a disincentive for Americans to study these technical fields,” Wadhwa said. “We’re hurting ourselves; computer science enrollment is dropping because the incentive is not there for students to study computer science.” 

–Brian D.

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