American Elephants


There Is No Shortage of STEM Workers. It is a Myth. by The Elephant's Child

An article in Computerworld details how an IT worker had to train his H-1B replacement. U.S. workers protested their job losses to foreign workers by displaying American flags in their cubicles.

This is the story of an IT worker who was replaced by a worker on an H-1B visa, one of a number of visa holders, mostly from India, who took jobs at this U.S. company. Computerworld is not going to use the worker’s name or identify the companies involved to protect the former employee from retaliation. For purposes of this story, the worker has been given initials — A.B. (They’re not the person’s real initials.)

At A.B.’s company, about 220 IT jobs have been lost to offshore outsourcing over the last year. A.B. is telling the story because, initially, there was little knowledge among fellow employees about H-1B visa holders and how they are used. They didn’t know that offshore outsourcing firms are the largest users of H-1B visas, or exactly how this visa facilitates IT job losses in the U.S.

“I think once we learned about it, we became angrier toward the U.S. government than we were with the people that were over here from India,” A.B. said, “because the government is allowing this.”

Read the whole thing here.

Business is pushing for increased numbers of H-1B workers, as is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dissenters to that program protest that they are only trying to drive wage costs down. The pro-increased immigration crowd suggests that American universities are not turning out enough STEM graduates, and they need more H-1B visas to fill their needs.

Governments everywhere are pouring billions into efforts to boost the ranks of STEM workers. President Obama has called for government and industry to train 10,000 new U.S. engineers every year as well as 100,000 additional STEM teachers by 2020. Tech companies like Facebook, IBM and Microsoft are lobbying to boost the number of H-1B visas —temporary immigration permits for skilled workers —from 65,000 per year to as many as 180,000.

Alongside dire projections like these, you will find reports that there are more STEM workers than jobs. Wages for U.S. workers in computer and math fields have largely stagnated since 2000. STEM workers at every stage of career development, including PhDs still struggle to find jobs as many companies, including Boeing, IBM and Symantec continue to lay off thousands of STEM workers. Every year, U.S. universities grant more STEM degrees than there are available jobs. Two out of 10 STEM graduates were working in non-STEM fields. Ten years after receiving a STEM degree, 58 percent of STEM graduates had left the field according to a 2011 study from Georgetown University. A recent article from Business Insider carries the headline “Google has Started Hiring More People Who Didn’t Go to College.”

The indication is that there is a STEM knowledge shortage, a solid grounding in science, engineering and math, but you don’t necessarily need a STEM degree. What’s needed are people who are literate, can write and speak well, and have a grounding in math and science.  Having an oversupply of workers is to the benefit of companies who would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits. A larger pool from which they can pick the best and brightest helps keep  wages in check.

The federal government has no expertise in education nor in job-training nor in accurately predicting future needs. This long article clarifies all the gaseous claims.

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(Click to enlarge)

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