Sunday, May 13, 2007

What Shortage?

There are hot debates everywhere about the shortage of engineers in the U. S. and employers are constantly pressuring the US Congress for more H-1 visas. Is there really a shortage?

We believe the answer is an emphatic NO. All one has to do is look around Silicon Valley, for starters. Following the dot-com bust, thousands of engineers were unemployed for long durations. After drawing unemployment benefits for six months, they no longer appear in the unemployed category. Hundreds of engineers changed their careers -- became school teachers, worked in Starbucks, Home Depot, or Macy's, or opened franchises such as UPS or coffee shops. So, while the US Department of Labor reports unemployment rate in the Valley is ~4.3%, it is more like 15% to 20%, if one includes the underemployed.

Is there a shortage of engineers in the US? No, there is a shortage of cheap engineers! That is one of the reasons why:
  1. Every major hardware and software company in the Valley has laid off employees and hired in Asia or done intra-company employee transfers on L-1 visas from overseas, paying them far less than what they did the employees they replaced.

  2. IBM, inter alia, is reportedly laying off thousands of its employees in the US and aggressively hiring in India and China; see Robert Cringely's pulpit at:

No comments: