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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.
  • 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.

  • Unionize Now? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:36PM (#42950319)

    How many stories like this must happen before workers are compelled to protect themselves?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 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...)

  • by nicholas22 (1945330) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:43PM (#42951003)
    You have a point. But this is goes deeper. It's about keeping salaries down, and IT salaries have been stagnated. So it's working...
  • 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: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 RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:55PM (#42951133)

    I've seen this a few places. Though I where I live it seems like there really is a serious shortage of C#/SQL/ASP.Net developers. Look at the job boards of any major city and those are some of the most proliferated spots that recruiters just cannot seem to fill fast enough (or at all) these days.

    Please do not equate number of job postings with actual job availability. Many postings are headhunter duplications. Some are false postings to present the appearance of meeting legal requirements or for PR purposes.

  • Re:This is very true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BrentNewland (2832905) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:20PM (#42951809)
    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.
  • 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.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:24PM (#42952315) Homepage Journal

    Ahhhhh, echos of the housing bubble? Corporate America has shifted targets from lowly craftsmen, to the formerly elite IT crowd.

    The day will come when a citizen of the US can't buy an IT job, especially if he looks like a white American.

    It's funny that you mention that. I work in IT at a Fortune 500 company. One day last week, I was in a meeting and I was the only black person there and ironically I also had the lightest skin. Indian H1Bs are ALL OVER IT. Anything Oracle related is dominated by Indian H1Bs.

    LK

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @12:21AM (#42952633)

    If hiring cheap and inexperienced employees is a bad strategy, we can expect businesses that do this to start losing ground to the businesses that do not. Then, free market forces will create the right jobs for the right people.

    On the other hand, you can attempt to control the market by passing laws that will force employers to hire expensive Americans and to leave eager-to-work foreigners out of jobs for which they are qualified, and call that a good thing.

    Protectionism is protectionism, whether you are the one demanding protection or not.

    You only want the market to be free when YOU aren't the one being out-competed.

  • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @08:29AM (#42954571)

    IT wages have actually been rising (modestly) and the IT unemployment rate is half what it is for most other professions.

    Oddly, I remember half the people in IT (literally) being out of work nominally overnight. Most of them had to go into other fields then, because there were no jobs. So if the unemployment rate is half what it ought to be, it may well be at least in part because half the people left the job market some time ago, and they haven't been replaced at the same rate that they were being produced back in the dot-com bubble.

    I was there. Spent 3+ years with virtually no income at all during the early 2000's. I got over it. Then Bush Recession II came along and I got whacked again. But that was then, this is now. We've lost a LOT of people, some of which are good riddance, some, not. But I'm a pretty dour person, and I'm feeling better than I have in a long time.

    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.

    Me too, but most of them are bullshit.

    Most of EVERYTHING is bullshit. I get plenty of that as well. But when recruiting departments from some of the biggest names in the business call me personally (and in one case, 2 separate divisions), I can't help but feel that the tide has started moving the other way. These are companies that not only bulk-hire H1-Bs, but normally expect the masses to crowd outside their doors begging for scraps. So when they approach me, I'm inclined to think there's actually some real demand on the supply/demand equation again.

  • by Viewsonic (584922) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @11:30AM (#42955711)

    Any examples for those of us who have no idea outside of military contracting?

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