U.S. Top 10 Companies Using H-1B Visas

During a recent Minnesota tech event I was part of a conversation on the topic of H-1B visas.

It evolved as it usually does with sides taken on if the number of visas should be increased, eliminated completely or the door open to anyone who has needed skills.

And as usual the conversation changes a bit depending on the economy.

Flash back to the 90’s and the Dot Com days and companies were begging for the cap to be increased.

Then the post Y2K and 9/11 recession happened and many arguments were made for the cap to be lowered or eliminated so U.S. workers would all have jobs.

We had the uptick from 2003 – 2007 (open the doors), the Great Recession (shut the program down) and the recovery beginning in 2010 that has led once again to a shortage of folks with IT skills.

This is a complicated issue and really depends on your industry, if an employer or worker, location, skill set, etc.

And then add in an election year and the politicians get involved which is usually a recipe for disaster and everyone is left unhappy.

Before I get sucked into a debate with myself on this topic here is an article on Computerworld The top 10 H-1B visa users in the U.S.

Continue reading "U.S. Top 10 Companies Using H-1B Visas" »

How To Exclude Qualified American Applicants

Attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby give an explanation on how employers can run classified job ads with the intent of not finding any qualified American applicants. Going one step further they briefly describe how to disqualify qualified Americans who do apply to an ad in order to comply with federal guidelines and secure work for H-1b workers.

I saw a piece of the video yesterday on a cable news channel, not sure which one. Apparently it has been making its way around the web the week.

While I am speechless that this is being taught I am not surprised and hope that karma comes back to get them one day.

I do not in any way condone this practice and have never, ever heard of a company in Minnesota doing this. Certainly not the clients I have worked with.

There are some amazing (crazy) quotes in the video. I am assuming the folks from the law firm are saying things were taken out of context. If so, what was the context because I cannot imagine another one.

What I really want to know is who their clients are. It would be great to shine a very bright light on them and then see if going forward they have a difficult time finding qualified American candidates because they are being boycotted.

Click Cohen Grigsby to be sent to Technorati to see other blog posts on this video and what Congress is starting to do about it.

A couple more good links to follow: Slashdot with How-Not-to-Hire-U.S.-Workers Law Firm Fires Back and BusinessWeek with Outsourcing: How to Skirt the Law.

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A Different Kind Of Outsourcing, The Personal Kind

Originally in the Wall Street Journal and printed in the St. Paul Pioneer Press Personal Outsourcing is sure to raise some eyebrows on Main Street.

"The approach relies on the same model that drives corporate outsourcing: labor arbitrage, or benefiting from the wage differential between U.S. workers and those in developing countries. In the U.S., tutoring services charge $40 to $60 an hour for math help. Some skilled tutors in India are paid $2 to $3 an hour. In India, $20 is enough to buy a week's groceries for two people."

We have all been reading and some of us writing about the positives and negatives of outsourcing and offshoring for a few years now and surely it was bound to trickle down into our non work lives.

Good Reading

Below are articles from recent weeks that I have not yet written about. A few posts in the coming days will be on topics like the job market for IT professionals and information for CIO’s. Until then you should find interesting information in these items:


Dealing With Email

-Hoarders vs. deleters, I am both depending on the day. I go through extremes with email much like blog posts. Either the Inbox is empty and everything answered, categorized, and archived or as is today I have 2000+ messages mostly answered I think, a few not open, many needing to be deleted, and a few to be archived.

-Take These Steps to Avoid Spam Purgatory, including 8 simple rules for making sure your message is received.


Business And The Use Of Technology

-20 Great Ideas From InformationWeek 500 Companies, there is always a lot of hype around the next tool that will change how we operate. I like to wait and see how someone uses it first. I am rarely an early adopter of the next best thing, my use of this blog for business, marketing and public relations being the exception.




-2006 InformationWeek 500



IT Hiring

There have been quite a few articles on the tight job market, good for the professional and bad for the employer:

-IT Job Market Looking Good, even those who have been cautiously optimistic are becoming bullish.

-Careers: IT Hiring Still Strong, CIO’s planned in 2006 4th Quarter to hire 13%, reducing 3%.

-Building the Perfect IT Person, sure would make hiring easier.

-Panel discussion: tech getting easier, employers looking for more than just tech skills.

-Study Shows 95% of IT Pros Happy With Their Jobs, maybe I am reading this wrong but maybe they are happy with their function or what they are working on but less so with their employer.

-Three Experts' Tips for Hiring, Retaining IT Staffs, nothing earth shattering here but worth reading.

IT Salaries Are On The Way Up, 2.8% is not a significant increase but at least its in the right direction.

Older Workers More Loyal to Employers, I thought being loyal had gone out the door.



Outsourcing And Offshoring

-Outsourcing: India Skills Gap Widens, apparently India is not able to produce enough qualified talent and are now increasing training efforts and looking to recruit from abroad.

-In India, even Google finds job recruiting tough, between having the necessary skills and the competition of those that are skilled, even Google has a hard time in India.

-Indian IT recruiting goes global, Tata Consulting Services will double the number of non-Indian workers. Infosys Technologies is hiring grads form foreign universities, training them in India, and send them back home to work.

Insourcing: Is IT Heading Home?, certainly an interesting shift in favor of the in house staff.



US Versus The World

-U.S. Education, Competitive Edge Not Adding Up, hopefully the new funds for science and math will help.



For The CIO’s

-Six Rules for Great IT Project Success, going old school by using Einstein and Pareto.

-Just How Important Is IT Anyway?, and the debate goes on.

-Sink or swim: 10 steps to rescue a foundering project, I like the first one, “Stop the Project”.

-The Team at the Top, a look into the building of an IT team.



Online Social Networks

-Social Networks: Execs Use Them Too, not just for the recruiters and kids.

-Web, Wikis: Models For Business Software, Panelists Say, Wikis and an ant colony.



Web 2.0

-Web 2.0 venture capital increasing, but real success hard to find, maybe this space is not evolved enough yet to realize its money making potential.

-Bubble 2.0?, glass half full or half empty? The previous article talkes about little cash going into Web 2.0. This article talks about it pouring. This does feel like 2000.



Thoughts On Business In Silicon Valley

Can anything good come from outside the Valley?, do they drink a special kind of Kool-Aid out there?



Future Of The Web

-Warning over 'broken up' internet, a UK perspective on the issues facing the Internet.



Impact Of US Elections On Tech Industry

-Few tech changes if Democrats control Congress, written right before the election.

-New Congress Likely To Support Net Neutrality, good news if you want neutrality.

-What the Democrats' win means for tech, including net neutrality and digital copyright.



IT Certifications

-Another Nail in the IT Certification Coffin, I tend to agree that they are not what they used to be.

Tech Employment 2.0

Over the next week I am going to be writing a series of posts on the state of the job market for technology professionals. Recently there have been plenty of surveys, news stories, anecdotes and pr releases that are starting to paint a picture of hiring circa 1999, right before the insanity hit.


I am not suggesting that there is a coming bubble but I will be suggesting that the market is clearly heating up.


For companies that are being proactive in their hiring and offering reasonable benefits and positive work place conditions this is good news as the candidate pool is looking ot make a move.


For companies stuck in the early 2000’s mentality of “you should be happy you have a job here” that sound you hear is your staff boxing up their personal items. They may not be on their way out the door but they are one job ad or one phone call from a friend away from taking the box with them at the end of the day.


I hope it does not get as crazy as the dot-com era. As we learned that was unsustainable and frankly unwarranted. Not all technologists are looking for the cappuccino machine and afternoon foosball tournaments but they clearly are looking for challenging opportunities, better pay, more flexibility, and have a seat at the table when business decisions are made.


It does need to be pointed that some regions of the country are further down this road than others and that some parts of the tech industry are still slowly recovering. Stating that, some generalizations can and will be made.

Outsourcing, Offshoring, H1-B 10/10 - 11/26

Outsourcing, Remember The Employees - October 19

IT Week is a UK site and they have written about outsourcing/offshoring quite a bit. While some of the intricacies of how such deals work are a little different the overarching principles are the same.

Particularly, what to do about the workers. The article includes a case study on a manager who was outsourced after doing the outsourcing and an employee who went from working for a bank to a technology firm.

Proposed H1-B Increases And Fee Increase Before Congress - October 21

Well this is interesting from SiliconValley.com. In an attempt to increase revenue Congress has been talking about increasing fees on workers visas. Because the workers visas were being talked about industry executives and lobbyists asked for an increase in the number of visas.

Global Sourcing Helping The U.S. Economy? - October 31

With all of the articles in recent months I need to find an economist and one without an agenda that can give an honest opinion on offhsoring. Here is a study commissioned by The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) which in part says,

"…finds that worldwide sourcing of computer software and services continues to increase the number of U.S. jobs, improve real wages for American workers, and has many other economic benefits as a result of pushing the U.S. economy to perform at higher levels.”

Outsourcing & Offshoring 9/26 - 10/09

IT Managers Managing Outsourced Projects – September 27

ComputerWorld with an article with tips on managing outsourced projects. Time and time again articles such as this one continue to point out the pitfalls for Managers to prepare for.

Once again cultural differences, word usage, putting plans on paper, and setting deadlines are mentioned.

I hate to be sarcastic but no kidding…

Outsourcing, Offshoring, And Now Nearshoring – October 4

Nearshoring, this is a new one for me. I have linked to many articles on offshoring and also outsourcing to rural America.

I have not seen anything about sending work to Mexico and very little about Canada. It makes sense of course when one thinks of the ability to meet with development teams and commonalities with time zones and language.

Best Buy and Carlson Companies, An Outsourcing Story

The outsourcing under way by Best Buy And Carlson Companies was written about in this article in July from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Somehow I had missed it.

There are a few rumors that other large employers in the Twin Cities are looking at these two companies and how they deal with the outsourcing as a test to see if they too will follow.

596 Best Buy employees became a part of Accenture while 130 were laid off.

Around 400 information technology and finance employees of Carlson were laid off and roughly 140 became employees of IBM.

Another interesting statistic is that 15% who have made the change from corporate employee to contractor with their former employer leave.

The article has two stories of former employees returning as contractors and the hurdles they have faced.

Future IT Workers

With so much rhetoric about outsourcing, offshoring, salary increases, and retiring Baby-Boomers I decided to go on a search of who is choosing IT as career field and why others who would be good candidates to join the ranks are not.

The Seattle Times had a conversation with the David Notkin, head of the University of Washington computer science program. Mr. Notkin believes that part of the issue is that after the Internet bubble burst the perception is that there aren’t any jobs. He also states that there is a demand for higher-level jobs.

The article also states that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a rapid growth in jobs and salaries over the next decade.

I had a July 18th article from NewsDay that quoted Bill Gates from his opening day remarks at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit. NewsDay must have a paid archive system so here are the quotes without the direct link:

Gates said computer scientists need to do a better job of dispelling that myth and conveying that it's an exciting field.

"How many fields can you get right out of college and define substantial aspects of a product that's going to go out and over 100 million people are going to use it?" Gates said. "We promise people when they come here to do programming ... they're going to have that opportunity, and yet we can't hire as many people as we'd like."

Citing statistics from UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, Klawe said students' interest in computer science fell more than 60 percent from 2000 to 2004, even though salaries have increased and more jobs have opened up.

MSNBC.com has a posting titled “Who are the new computer whizzes?” They cite the same study as the Bill Gates article but take a twist on it. The article focuses on the for-profit school like Strayer University and DeVry Institute of Technology. The article goes on to talk about the demographics of the students including great numbers of women, minorities, and the middle-aged.

So lets get this straight, colleges and universities have lower enrollment in IT and related degrees. Bill Gates and others are saying we need more people to get into the IT career field. Women, minorities, and middle-aged are getting into the career as they see jobs available at a good wage.

Maybe the smart tech folks should get together and create a marketing campaign targeting young people that does not paint IT as “Geek Culture”. Hmmm, but apparently that makes too much sense, too much money, or too much time.

So instead, we outsource it.

Smart tech folks, there’s a play on words…

American Indians Entering The Outsourcing Game

I have had two posts on outsourcing to rural America, Outsourcing To Rural America and Outsourcing To Duluth?. This article from AberdeenNews.com talks about how the Oglala Lakota Sioux are doing quality control on data entry done in China for US companies.

This is another example of US companies paying a fair wage for work to be done here. Data entry is not the only work being done:

Ford Motor Co., Dell Inc. and Capital One all are interested in working with tribes instead of sending work to India, Ireland and the Philippines, he said. Language barriers, distance management issues and security-sensitive work that can't be sent overseas are all factors, Brown said.

"In many ways, American Indians are entering the outsourcing marketplace at a good time. There's plenty of work to be had, and for some CIOs the offshore honeymoon is over," he said. "They're looking for a low-cost and high-quality onshore option."

The Cedar Band of Paiutes in Utah is also tapping into government and commercial outsourcing contracts. In 2004 it did $14 million in revenue and 2005 is projected at $40 million.

Four reservations in Utah have created between 150-180 full-time jobs.

What Is The Future Of Outsourcing/Offshoring?

So many articles written by what seem to be intelligent people and so many opinions on the good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, is it sustainable or not.

We hear about offshoring being the new thing, we hear about salaries being driven down in the US, then we hear about baby-boomers retiring and the lack of workers will drive up salaries for the good, ones, but if there is lack of talent does that fuel the offshoring fire?


I confess, I don’t know nor yet have an educated enough opinion. Here is what I do know, if you are a tech person you really need to learn some business skills and vice versa.

Now that you feel enlightened by my simple theory here is some rhetoric from “experts”, or so they seem to think.

In this corner wearing blue trunks we have a study from McKinsey Global Institute written about in Inc.com. It says that by 2008 4.1 million service-side jobs will be outsrouced. They then mention 4.1 is out of 160 million. I grant that the study says 13% of IT jobs will be affected but I come back to how large in terms of % is the baby boomers in IT?

In this corner wearing green trunks we have an article from Outsourcing Journal questioning if offshoring is sustainable. While Indian firms margins are around 20% they are starting to deal with wage inflation and attrition. There answer to this is very similar to US firms years ago. They are locating offices to Tier 2 locations and reviewing business models.

In this corner wearing white trunks we have this Wall Street Journal article saying that projects are getting sent overseas to save money and time. Much of the work is automation and testing of the technology.

We then have a corner wearing red, whit and blue trunks, (getting the analogy yet?) from VNU Network in the UK. Prudential after benchmarking a data center deal with Cap Gemini is bringing the operation back in house. A consultant from Deloitte is quoted as saying some companies are realizing deals should never have been done in the first place.

Finally in the same corner we have this article from Legal Week. In an effort to keep tax dollars and jobs at home US state and federal laws are being passed limiting the amount and kind of outsourcing/offshoring that can be done. It will be interesting to see how these laws stand up to constitutional tests as stated in the article.

Moral to this story? I am not sure I have one. Maybe that common sense needs to be on the front burner when thinking about security, costs, time, etc.

Tech Hiring Increased In 2nd Quarter

Seems like every week there is a story about tech jobs going over seas. Then there is this one from Business Week showing an up tick in hiring state side. New technologies, integration of different programs, and the need of offshore companies to have developers near their clients.

More evidence of techies needing to work with cutting edge technologies and not get caught up in maintenance of old skills. Also, a bad sign for entry-level workers.

Competing In The Global IT Job Market

A good article from InfoWorld on how to survive the trend of outsourcing and offshoring. So many articles lately have been about the gloom and doom of the next ten years but this one has tips on how to survive and what skills will likely be in demand.

While all three pages are a good read, here are a few highlights:

-IT workers with project management skills and the ability to work with non-technical people will be in high demand.

-The inset on page 2, “Seven Keys to Job Security”.

-Having the capability to handle the third party or outsourcer will become a key skill.

The last paragraph, The classic bad news is, your manager calls a meeting and says, ‘Your department is being outsourced’,” Trowbridge says. “The IT worker with a better shot at success is the one willing to study how the work will be migrated, how that transition will be managed, and what all the steps are. Learn that and you’ve just made yourself more valuable.”

We Decided To Outsource Our Jobs, Now What?

With the recent decision of Carlson Companies to outsource much of its IT group to IBM and before them Best Buy sending much of its IT group to Accenture how should it be handled internally? I am sure there are many points of view on how to go about doing it but here is one to start with. I am sure I will be coming across more of these and will be sure to post them.