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Large Corporations Displacing Aging IT Workers With H-1B Visa Workers 617

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-out-for-number-one dept.
New submitter genericmk writes "NPR is running an interesting story about the unfortunate status of the aging programmers in the IT industry. Older IT workers are opposing the H-1B visa overhaul. Large corporations want more visa, they claim, because of a shortage of IT talent. However, these companies are actively avoiding older, more experienced workers, and are bringing in large volumes of foreign staff. The younger, foreign workers are often easier to control, and they demand lower wages; indentured servitude is replacing higher cost labor."
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Large Corporations Displacing Aging IT Workers With H-1B Visa Workers

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  • by Serpent6877 (1021937) * on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:20PM (#42950111)
    You have to be able to afford pricey CEO's, CTO's, and any of the C's. To do this you have to compensate by replacing a higher paid employee that know what he is doing with one that half ass knows what he is doing but makes the books like nicer. You can see here (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/05/03/475952/ceo-pay-faster-worker-pay/?mobile=nc) that companies have spiraled out of control. Heck look at AIG, General motors bonuses paid out when we the tax payers were paying their salaries.
  • "Shortage" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:21PM (#42950119) Homepage Journal

    "Large corporations want more visa, they claim, because of a shortage of dirt cheap IT talent"

    There, ftfy

    • Re:"Shortage" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darinbob (1142669) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:32PM (#42950901)

      Many people like to claim that they lack talent with the relevant skills for the particular jobs. I think some of this is true, but most is BS. What it really means is that they don't want to spend even a minute training anyone. They'd rather have the person with the particulars already on the resume than hire someone who might need some minimal introduction. Ie, any older programmer is going to be able to figure out your new fad language of the year very quickly, and will be able to program it far better than your entry level worker who peppers the resume with buzzwords.

      This is where age discrimination comes in, and it's very subtle, and the people doing the discrimination don't even realize they're doing it. Managers want the exact match for a job, HR people are filtering based on keywords, executives want to give out lowest possible salary. It all adds up.

      The visa system is up for abuse, and it is being abused. Those execs who disagree about this should be made to step up and prove that no other suitable workers could be found.

      • As someone who worked with H-1B visa folks, they aren't any better than a competent programmer, except they bet their career to fill a current niche. Anyone with a brain can easily pick up this stuff. This is what we do.
      • Re:"Shortage" (Score:4, Informative)

        by jhoegl (638955) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:05PM (#42951227)
        They are made to show they cant find the talent. Something the NPR story pointed out is that they game the system to do so.
      • Re:"Shortage" (Score:4, Informative)

        by Third Position (1725934) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:20PM (#42951353)

        It's worse than that. They identify the foreign workers they want to import, and then taylor the job descriptions so those workers are uniquely qualified for the job.

        This is as relevant now as it was when it was made. [youtube.com]

        I expect there will be no relief in sight until Americans start electing politicians that put the interests of Americans first. Not that I'm holding my breath.

        • Re:"Shortage" (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tftp (111690) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:45PM (#42951559) Homepage

          I expect there will be no relief in sight until Americans start electing politicians that put the interests of Americans first

          The politicians are already doing that. CEOs are also Americans, isn't it so? Some of the profit is donated to politicians; that's how the feedback loop is operating.

          Or perhaps you meant some other Americans, like those peons in IT? How much do they donate [memegenerator.net] to Congressmen?

          This political system is the best the money can buy. If you don't like its results then perhaps the system ought to be replaced with something else. It would be otherwise foolish to expect a different result.

          From the POV of many CEOs, american workers are overpaid, underexploited, and too pampered with benefits. Foreign workforce - who often comes from countries that we do not associate with widespread wealth - is willing to work on terms of pseudo-slavery. The american worker might just as well curl up and die, he is not needed anymore, aside from a handful of highly educated workers. The american worker cannot even be a customer because he has no job and no income to pay for things. In this aspect a rice farmer in China is a better customer, he has an honest income and can buy a gizmo once in a while. The words "customer" and "employed" are synonyms.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's all about supply and demand. Unless you're a corporation. Look, I would love to work as cheap as an H1-B or an off-shored worker, but guess what? I have to pay American prices for American things for American living. While a corporation might be able to pull from the labor pull of *THE ENTIRE PLANET*, I have to pay whatever price milk is for milk in my city and whatever the rent rate is for rent and whatever health care costs are for health care in my area. I can't farm out my expenses to the same plac

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Stiletto (12066)

        The H1-B workers are living here, too. They pay American prices for American things too. They pay the same price for milk that you do, and the same rent that you do, and the same health care costs. AND, they often send a big chunk of change home to support their families. So, how are they able to do it making so much less, while you can't?

        • Re:"Shortage" (Score:4, Informative)

          by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:19AM (#42953663) Homepage
          Probably the same as in the UK, by living basically in poverty in their own or twenty of them house sharing. That's how the polish do it.
        • The H1-B workers are living here, too. They pay American prices for American things too.

          They live in that situation temporarily, saving as much money as possible because that money is going to buy so much more once they are back home.

          They can live 8 - 12 in a rented house designed for 4 for 4 years because the end game for them is more money than they could have made in a decade at home.

          But someone who is staying here permantently, lives 8 - 12 in a house designed for 4 and after 4 years he'll have sav

    • Re:"Shortage" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Wansu (846) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:12PM (#42952221)

      Yes, a shortage at the nice price. That is what this has always been about.

      Industry groups have been bellyaching about shortages since the 70s. Dire predictions of shortages are regularly made. Only now, they may finally be right. So many citizens have been displaced for so long, the H1-Bs may be the industry's best source of technical talent. It's a self full-filling prophecy. They may have run off so many older citizen engineers, developers and what have you that the young ones see that and opt for a more stable career path. So they may have produced the shortage they've been predicting for so long.

    • Re:"Shortage" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CAIMLAS (41445) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:14AM (#42953633) Homepage

      The sickening thing is, when your business is an IT business, why would you do this to yourself? It's like a dissonant behavior where "prescribed action" doesn't even reflect upon the world it's being acted in.

      Let's say you do indeed get good value out of your Indian H1B workers (you don't, but let's just say you do). Great. This is the best possible outcome of H1B workers. But in the meantime, you're stagnating domestic IT salaries, which means talented people will not look to work for you or will leave the field. And suddenly, your domestic company is 100% dependent on foreign labor, which you need government regulation to acquire.

      And you have no hope of hiring a local, talented or otherwise, because you've effectively priced yourself out of the market - all while handing industrial expertise to foreign nationals.

  • 52 years old.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edmanet (1790914) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:21PM (#42950133)
    And I really thought I'd be in management by now. But I really hate meetings.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:23PM (#42950153) Homepage Journal

    What, you thought only the manufacturing base could outsource? Think again.

  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:25PM (#42950175)
    Indentured servitude is a form of debt bondage, with no wages; it has nothing to do with choosing to work for lower than X wages and less control. Such hysterics don't speak well of /..
    • by kidgenius (704962) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:11PM (#42950693)
      It is a form of bondage though, as those workers have no freedom to move to a different company on that visa. They are tied to the company. Therefore, they have to accept a lower wage because there is no threat of them leaving for a competitor.
      • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:26PM (#42950817)

        It is a form of bondage though, as those workers have no freedom to move to a different company on that visa. They are tied to the company. Therefore, they have to accept a lower wage because there is no threat of them leaving for a competitor.

        The company doesn't have the incentive to increase salary because the barrier to switch jobs for the employee is very high. The employee could grow in experience and skill to be "Senior" while making an entry-level wage (which is still higher than back home). But the employee must work to increase their abilities or the corporation might cancel their visa and hire someone more capable.

  • one solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:25PM (#42950183) Journal
    If they allowed H1B visa holders to find other jobs, then this wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem, because employers wouldn't be able to force them into indentured servitude. If they were able to find other jobs, their salaries would rise to the level of their ability.
    • Re:one solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cob666 (656740) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:00PM (#42951175) Homepage
      If H1B visa holders were allowed to find other jobs then there is no point in issuing H1B visas, just issue s regular work visa. The whole point of the H1B visa is to allow companies to hire people for skilled jobs that they are unable to fill with local talent. They are by design short termed and extremely limited in scope so the visa holder must leave the country when the visa has expired.

      Widening the scope of the H1B visa shouldn't be an option. I'd like to see H1B visas become even MORE restrictive. Cut the number of H1B visas issued, shorten the term, limit the number allowed per company. In fact, I'd also like to see something implemented where once a visa issued for a company has expired they can't apply for another visa for a certain length of time, also require companies applying for H1B visas to fund programs to train people for the skill they are applying for visas for, something in the ballpark of $50K per year per visa. Would accomplish two goals, would guarantee that there is training for skills that are obviously in demand and would make bringing in H1B workers more expensive, thus possibly forcing companies to hire locally again.
      • If H1B visa holders were allowed to find other jobs then there is no point in issuing H1B visas, just issue s regular work visa.

        That is totally fine. Let's cancel the H1B visas and issue work visas instead.

  • I was in IT a bit over a decade ago. This kind of thing was prevalent back then. I don't find it surprising at all.
  • This is very true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:28PM (#42950219)

    I had worked for a major software company that was not Microsoft but worked in the virtualization area.

    Over the last few years saw anybody over 50 terminated and then subsequently replaced with immigrant workers for lower wages. The workers terminated had alot of experience and could do the job more correctly and faster than staff subsequently hired -- suspect longer vacation time and higher wages made them targets for termination.

    This has happened consistently over 3 years.

    This is wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BrentNewland (2832905)
      This is when the workers should band together and try to find positions at other companies. Losing a whole bunch of critical people at once will cripple their business, and the sub-par talent they hire to replace them will tank the company.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      Many American businesses hate their workers.

      American workers are too stupid to hate them in return.

      Hiring Pinkertons to shoot workers is no longer fashionable, but don't think for a second our rulers and their rich puppet masters give a shit about any of the expendable peons they grind under their Juggernaut.

  • by eksith (2776419) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:29PM (#42950231) Homepage
    It's just a race to the bottom in terms of dollar amount spent on manpower. It's basically outsourcing without having the workforce overseas.
    • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:21PM (#42950777)

      I don't know that it's a race to the bottom. A news story this morning mentioned that wages had remained stagnant since 2001. Except 2001 you could be trained chimpanzee that knew HTML and make $100k a year. So maybe we're just finally purging all of the bullshit employees from the dot-com employment orgy.

      All together I don't have that much sympathy. Most of those graybeards are libertarians who don't believe in any protectionism so... welcome to the free market.

      • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:29PM (#42950855)

        I don't know that it's a race to the bottom. A news story this morning mentioned that wages had remained stagnant since 2001. Except 2001 you could be trained chimpanzee that knew HTML and make $100k a year. So maybe we're just finally purging all of the bullshit employees from the dot-com employment orgy.

        All together I don't have that much sympathy. Most of those graybeards are libertarians who don't believe in any protectionism so... welcome to the free market.

        You're out of date and off the mark. The dot-com drones long ago left the building. IT wages have actually been rising (modestly) and the IT unemployment rate is half what it is for most other professions.

        Hardly the heady days of pre-Y2K. but things have been on the uptick for some time and it's a rare day when I don't get calls and emails from headhunters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:31PM (#42950261)

    It is ALL US workers.
    I have personally seen a downsize where ALL US workers were let go and ALL of the H1-Bs were retained.
    This is not a joke or a tall tail.
    And Note that US workers were at or even better in the skills that were retained.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:33PM (#42950273) Homepage Journal

    I've been observing a downward spiral in quality of web applications, sites and services for some years now. Old school programmers/developers wouldn't make some of the bone-headed mistakes I keep encountering. How can we suddenly have so many incompetant people doing this work? Easy - they know how to write code, but do not have the wisdom to avoid drop-through logic, non-intuitive interfaces, extremely fragile code, etc.

    Gotta be a mill somewhere, cranking out code monkeys who are paid by the deadline, not but the quality of their work.

  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@noSpAm.yahoo.com> on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:33PM (#42950275) Journal

    This is an older video, but it shows just how companies manage to avoid hiring qualified Americans just to flood the market with cheap H1B laborers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU [youtube.com]

    • by An dochasac (591582) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:30PM (#42950865)

      Mod parent up. Yes this is a very old problem. Pre Y2K and years prior to my 40th birthday I saw the writing on the wall. I saw how friends with H1Bs were treated as indentured servants, sometimes earning little more than 1/2 what their US-born colleagues earned. I saw how people from certain countries were assumed to have magical mystical IT talent and how people with dubious certificates and knowledge of hot software products (VisualBASIC, DBase 3...), were given the same "irreplaceable" specialized H1B treatment as brain surgeons and PhD level scientific experts.

      I saw where US IT jobs were going-- so I followed my outsourced IT career out of the country. And no, I don't particularly miss the short vacations, high taxes, high medical costs, high education costs, long drives and terrible job security many US workers have to put up with. If US companies continue to abuse the H1B system as a cheap labor pool, American workers should consider emigrating to countries where real IT experience is still valued as being worthy of more than a living wage. (e.g. all of Europe, Brazil, most of Asia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand...)

      • You can do well by moving (I have) but keep in mind Canada and Europe will have the same issues sooner. Cameron is already trying to work out fully selling out UK IT to India.
  • by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:35PM (#42950303) Journal

    As in, cost to much to pay older workers. Why? Because with corporations, greed matters I mean, the bottom line matters. Why should they pay people $60k a year when they can outsource it/hire cheaper foreigners in the states for $30k a year?

    Corporate Greed, giving your job to someone else for cheaper.

    • Because you are paying for experience. They don't want your experience or your know-better. They want to tell you what to do and if you don't get it done, we'll just get more, because hey, we can employ 10 of these guys instead of this old Joe. There has to be SOME good fruit in that pile of compost!
  • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:36PM (#42950309)

    Seriously. Any administration who promises to deal with unemployment, and yet allows this to happen, is just incredibly misguided.

    We have enough problems with unskilled citizens unable to get jobs, let alone trucking in some guest workers to now make the skilled citizen IT workers unemployable.

    • Re:Unemployment? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PRMan (959735) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:24PM (#42950799)
      The other day I was thinking. If you want to deal with unemployment, just federally mandate 40-hour workweeks maximum for anybody who is not a partial owner of a company (minimum of 1%). Some employers would instantly have to hire almost double the workforce, because they couldn't force everyone to work 80-hour weeks anymore. Companies would have to hire and train people. Unemployment would go through the floor and the number of people that could afford things would go up, meaning that it should spike the GDP in a very positive way. It would also, take money back from the rich to the middle class...
      • by Shikaku (1129753) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:40PM (#42950979)

        That's socialism!

        (Yes some asshole will say this and it won't happen even if it makes fucking sense and would 100% without a doubt save the US economy and it won't happen)

      • Problem is, those who are unemployed do not always have the skills, or even the ability to develop those skills, necessary to fill the jobs that would be opened.
        • Bigger problem: I am engineer, and even if I'm not at my desk more than 40 hours a week, I'm thinking about my work on my drive home, in the shower, on the toilet, when I'm otherwise bored...and I count that as honest work. For hourly manual labor, you can have these rules. For intellectual work, you can't enforce something like that. Which is why people in my line of work aren't paid by the hour.
  • Crazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:36PM (#42950313)

    Is there any other business with such an age bias, beyond sports and teen pop idols. You don't see lawyers or accountants being treated like this, nor architects or mechanical engineers. There is no reason whatsoever for a youth culture in IT and programming, experience is more valuable than anything else in this business, moreso than most other businesses.

    • Re:Crazy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:43PM (#42951005)

      Is there any other business with such an age bias, beyond sports and teen pop idols. You don't see lawyers or accountants being treated like this, nor architects or mechanical engineers. There is no reason whatsoever for a youth culture in IT and programming, experience is more valuable than anything else in this business, moreso than most other businesses.

      The problem is, if you're a lawyer or an architect, what you learned in school is fundamentally going to be the same as what you need to know 30 years later. People don't perceive IT that way. New languages, new paradigms, new hardware. There is a common thread, if you stick with it long enough. Like the way apps have bounced between central and distributed systems over and over through the years. But superficially, it looks like all that old tech is "obsolete". Much of it isn't. It just resurfaces in a new form.

      • Re:Crazy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:02PM (#42952129) Homepage

        New languages, new paradigms, new hardware.

        OK, tell me what new languages are more than different syntax on the same old constructs? I see procedural, OO (class-based and/or prototypical, with and without multiple inheritance), set/array based (APL and descendants, SQL), logic (out of favor right now), functional, and macro. That's it. And those were explored thirty years ago. Everything else is library and syntax. BFD.

        New paradigms? Well, you have web and virtual cloud. One's a boiled over client-server architecture, the other's been done since OS/360.

        New hardware? Well, if you've seen one assembler, you've seen them all. Some hardware has additional SIMD functionality (video cards, high-end bespoke processors), and you can make a Beowulf cluster but, other than that, there's nothing that wasn't there (again) thirty years ago.

        The real question is why computer science research has stagnated for the past thirty years, and why companies don't see that people who have been around for the past thirty years can pick up any of these things in about three days (having seen all of this crap for 30+ years).

        In the end, the only answer is that it's all cost. And then people wonder why no one wants to go into software.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:38PM (#42950349)

    job based health care hurts having older people work for companies.

  • by Kittenman (971447) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:39PM (#42950353)
    What the ... ??? "No, I won't take $100 an hour. I insist of $20 at the most".
  • by Grand Facade (35180) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:39PM (#42950355)

    That and using temp workers calling them contract but not paying contract wages.

    Thus avoiding paying for benefits and vacations.

    It's like the trucking industry "driver shortage" an illusion promoted around a business model that uses up (abuses) young drivers.

  • by ewg (158266) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:41PM (#42950373)

    So can I make money hiring underemployed older IT workers and marketing their labor for top dollar?

  • by hguorbray (967940) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:42PM (#42950387)
    I picked a bad time to get old!

    I'm luckier than some because I re-entered IT in '95 and didn't get an AA degree until 2002, so on paper it looks like I'm about 35

    -I'm just sayin'
  • Illegal to pay less (Score:5, Informative)

    by sunderland56 (621843) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:49PM (#42950459)

    It is illegal [doleta.gov] to pay a H1B worker less than the prevailing rate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And R.X. Cringely has a nice piece that explains why it still happens:

      http://betanews.com/2012/10/25/h-1b-visa-abuse-limits-wages-and-steals-us-jobs/

    • by An dochasac (591582) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:43PM (#42951011)

      It is illegal [doleta.gov] to pay a H1B worker less than the prevailing rate.

      Of course it is, but for corporations > a certain size, the risk * cost of punishment is insignificant compared to the benefits of ignoring corporate law. Back in the early 90s, a company was blocked from $2 Billion in contracts because of a bribery scandal, they still came out ahead. BP probably came out ahead after the oil spill, AIG, Bernie Madoff, horse meat scandal... Sorry, but we don't live in a world where the "fictional person" of a US corporation has a non-fictional conscience.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Too hard to enforce. You just give the cheaper worker a title that has a lower pay grade. Ie, you make "Software Engineer 1" do the same work as "Software Engineer 3". If for some bizarre reason this causes problems then you just say "oh, we're doing a title and pay re-evaluation next month, we're just a little behind is all". But don't even worry about that, the Labor Department isn't sending out inspectors, and the H1-B visa holder is in not going to rock the boat and risk being departed.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:52PM (#42950491)

    Of course not everybody older is actually better. Older folks that have refused to learn will be on par or worse than the younger people. But older folks that have kept up are invaluable. True, young programmers can generate a lot more lines of code for the same price, but once you take quality into account and things like design and architecture, most code by young programmers sucks badly. Not their fault, but quite a bit of experience is required for good coding. Unfortunately, incompetent management cannot understand that (and most management is incompetent with regard to IT). What would be needed is something that other engineering disciplines have mastered: Qualification levels, and required minimum qualification levels of personnel used to protect you from becoming liable for software failures. While this may sound old-school, there really seems to be no other way. If electricians were the mixed bag that "programmers" are, houses would burn down all the time and many people would die from electrocution.

    • by PRMan (959735)

      If electricians were the mixed bag that "programmers" are, houses would burn down all the time and many people would die from electrocution.

      If being an electrician were as difficult as being a programmer....

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:53PM (#42950499) Homepage

    Anyone here on H-1B should be allowed to seek any job anywhere for the duration of their H-1B stay. They just need to negotiate with the new employer during the 3 year visa term to provide pro-rated compensation to the company that pre-paid to put the H-1B through. That eliminates the indentured servitude and opens the free market to the technical talent, as it should be.

    • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Interesting)

      by An dochasac (591582) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:47PM (#42951065)

      Anyone here on H-1B should be allowed to seek any job anywhere for the duration of their H-1B stay. They just need to negotiate with the new employer during the 3 year visa term to provide pro-rated compensation to the company that pre-paid to put the H-1B through. That eliminates the indentured servitude and opens the free market to the technical talent, as it should be.

      During one of the Clinton era H1B reforms, this was the proposed policy. I always assumed it was made into law, but when I emigrated to seek better IT employment, I stopped worrying about the fine print of US H1B law, companies rarely obeyed even easy-to-enforce clauses such as the prevailing wage requirement.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:01PM (#42950589) Homepage

    Age discrimination is illegal. You can read the law [eeoc.gov] yourself, where it specifically states:

    It shall be unlawful for an employer-

            (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age;

            (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age; or

            (3) to reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with this chapter.

    It's very clear language, and there's no legitimate reason that the companies who are doing this should not be in court right now about it.

    • Age discrimination is illegal. You can read the law [eeoc.gov] yourself ...

      True. Now try to prove it in court. (a) where will you get the money or find a lawyer to take this on a contingency basis? (b) what do you rate your chances of success, absent a smoking gun memo from some C-level exec located (if they've kept the required email archives) after extensive discovery?

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Proof. How do you prove that they didn't hire you because of your age?
  • by sakti (16411) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:05PM (#42950635) Homepage

    Firing your most skilled employees in a highly specialized and difficult field is beyond stupidity. This will end badly for them. Fortunately for the rest of us this means that there will be some talent freed up. So snatch them up while you can.

  • Cue the xenophobia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:09PM (#42950669)
    I work for a large company that hires based on talent. We can't get enough workers, H-1B or not. We don't discriminate based on age or anything else, just skill. The stories in my area are the same for all companies: we can't get enough skilled programmers.

    This headline will just serve as an excuse for people to post rants about how their talent is being overlooked because of the foreigners invading our shores while ignoring the fact that many people who try to work as programmers are just terrible (see: fizzbuzz).
    • This headline will just serve as an excuse for people to post rants about how their talent is being overlooked because of the foreigners invading our shores while ignoring the fact that many people who try to work as programmers are just terrible (see: fizzbuzz).

      Don't forget rants about how you're expecting to get competent talent for $17K/year.

  • Hypocracy much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:10PM (#42950687)

    Some large fraction of the slashdot crowd enjoys characterizing anti-illegal immigration types as 'racists.' Illegal immigration wiped out meat packing unions. It lowered the wage floor for tens of millions of workers.

    Don't bitch about H-1B pressure if you have no patience for textile workers whinging about their 'jerbs.' Your degree doesn't mean shit; now you're just as fungible as Sally Mae and her meat cleaver, and you have less cause to complain; the H-1B guys are at least legal.

    So don't be racist. Our borders and your job must be open to all... only racists say otherwise.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:28PM (#42950847)

    And the clueless MBAs strike again. Business school graduates forget that the basis of capitalism is capital, not short term profits. You build capital when you care about the company sticking around for a long time, when you intend people to buy your products because of the reputation of your brand, and when you genuinely care about making the world a better place one awesome toothbrush at a time.

    MBAs on the other hand, only care about the company's survival until the next bonus time, believe that people will only buy something if they are tricked and brainwashed into it, and have no interest or knowledge of what the company actually produces.

    And when you do not care about the products you make, why would you want talented employees to make them? If quality is irrelevant, all you need is a bunch of cheap warm bodies to make whatever garbage marketing can sell. It is amazing how fast you can ruin the economy when you only intend to stay on your job until the company dies, rather than until you retire from it.

  • by uncqual (836337) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:51PM (#42951099)
    ...at least in context. From the article:

    KASTE: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages for computer programmers have stagnated. In fact, between 2001 and 2011, the mean hourly wage didn't even keep up with inflation. It's still less than $40.

    Why would this be surprising? 2001 was the end of the tech bubble when salaries were ridiculously inflated. Why would one expect them to keep up with inflation?

    Why not compare 1994 to 2011? That would been more appropriate (although I don't know what it would show!)

    After the bubble burst, it was rare to give an employee a pay cut to reflect the new market realities because of concerns about employee retention and morale. Either you laid them off because you couldn't afford them anymore or you didn't give them raises. Of course, workers who were hired to back-fill attrition or for new projects tended to get lower salaries -- but not dramatically so in part because of the salary inequities that would have caused (only unions seem willing to categorically accept dramatically lower compensation for everyone starting after date X than for those starting on or before date X - odd "good old boy's club").

    This is a little like saying that housing has not kept up with general inflation -- by comparing 2006 prices to 2013 prices instead of comparing 1990 prices to 2013 prices.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:22PM (#42951363)

    Ever had a conversation with these guys about how they do their jobs? They think in the short term and quantitatively, not quantitatively. They figure if they can get 2 subpar H-IBs at the same price as a 50 year-old, it evens out in the end.

    Short story, I had a great conversation with one of these guys years back who was a manager of a chain restaurant. He was explaining to me the glorious logic of shorting ingredients to save money. How, by removing one pickle from a sandwich you could save millions a year. He was wildly enthusiastic about how powerful a management tool that shorting ingredients was. Now, as I listened to this my thoughts were on the long term effects of this policy and the promotion he was angling for.

    So, Joe the manager cuts one pickle, saves the company $10 million a year and gets promoted up. Kelly takes his place and wants to move up too. So, she decides to make the buns 1 ounce smaller. She saves the company mad money and gets promoted up as well. And so on and so on until a premier chain restaurant starts looking more like McDonalds quality. But, none of those guys care because by the time the shit hits the fan they're probably cashed out!

  • by knoware (609841) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:46PM (#42951569) Homepage
    Paul, the PM: "How long will it take to completely redesign that catalog, replace Ubercart w/ a completely custom handcoded Java version instead of that PHP thing?"
    Ralph, the 50+ yo: "Based on my experience, N year(s) if you have a functional spec and unit test designs."
    Vlad, the 22 yo: " , !" (Russian to English: "not more than a month, sir!")
    Paul, the PM: "Fire Ralph! Get me 20 more Vlads! BTW the client is Amazon's remodel!!"
    CEO: "Paul, n-i-c-e job! Here's your raise and mine too!"
    Note: I see this a lot. A whole lot. Sadly, I'm a PM and I see many PMP colleagues fall for this....
  • by cardpuncher (713057) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @06:13AM (#42954071)

    ... I wonder what other people of my age have been doing so wrong that they still need employment - they've had careers with salaries and conditions that noone is ever going to get in the future and ought to have been banking that while the going was good.

    On the rare occasion I stray back into a "real" business to do a bit of consulting, I feel like I'm walking into a kindergarten: it's all competitive attention seeking and fingerpainting (sorry, Powerpoint).

    I would feel desperately sorry for a younger generation if they thought they were going to have to be in that environment all their lives - but mainly because it would demonstrate a lack of ambition and foresight. You really ought to have some control over your own destiny by the time you reach your 50s. If you haven't, you've wasted the last 30-odd years.

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

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