Tags: foreign workers | high-tech | Hal Salzman | STEM

Rutgers Professor: Guest Workers Are Stealing High-Tech Jobs

By    |   Tuesday, 16 September 2014 06:51 AM

Will borrowed workers make up the workforce of the future in the United States? One sociologist and professor is suggesting that might be the case.

In a piece for U.S. News and World Report, Rutgers University's Hal Salzman argues that guest workers are taking over the STEM jobs — positions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in the United States.

Salzman writes that many high-tech companies are trying to secure enough guest worker visas so that their entire workforce can be brought in from other countries.

"The real concern should be about the dim employment prospects for our best STEM graduates: The National Institutes of Health, for example, has developed a program to help new biomedical Ph.D.s find alternative careers in the face of 'unattractive' job prospects in the field," Salzman writes.

There are jobs available, he writes, but the industry trend — thanks to government policy — has companies looking outside the nation's borders to fill the vacancies.

"The highly profitable IT industry, for example, is devoting millions to convince Congress and the White House to provide its employers with more low-cost, foreign guest workers instead of trying to attract and retain employees from an ample domestic labor pool of native and immigrant citizens and permanent residents," Salzman writes.

"Guest workers currently make up two-thirds of all new IT hires, but employers are demanding further increases. If such lobbying efforts succeed, firms will have enough guest-workers for at least 100 percent of their new hiring and can continue to legally substitute these younger workers for current employees, holding down wages for both them and new hires," he writes.

"Educational and skills improvement is needed for low-income and low-skilled workers, but these problems are masked by cries of shortages or 'mismatches' based on unsubstantiated claims about employees or students with the 'wrong skills.' Such polemics divert attention away from the true clear-and-present danger to our STEM system — namely, debased STEM jobs that discourage domestic students and workers from pursuing STEM careers.

"In doing so, the ultimate outcome will be a nation weakened by the outsourcing of its core competencies."

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is part of FWD.us, a group of company leaders and executives that is pushing for immigration reform. The group also supports the Obama administration's plan to add more guest worker visas.

In a Senate-floor speech last week, Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions challenged Zuckerberg to find more American workers to fill roles at Facebook.

"I read in the news that Facebook, his company, is now worth more than $200 billion," Sessions said. "Is that not enough money to hire American workers for a change?

"Your company now employs roughly 7,000 people. Let's say you want to expand your workforce 10 percent, or hire another 700 workers. Are you claiming you can't find 700 Americans who would take these jobs if you paid a good wage and decent benefits?"

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Will borrowed workers make up the workforce of the future in the United States? One sociologist and professor is suggesting that might be the case.
foreign workers, high-tech, Hal Salzman, STEM
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 06:51 AM
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