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fwd: age discrimination in IT industry

From: Eric D. Pierce <>
Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2001 10:15:24 -0700
Message-ID: <>

some light reading:

(linked from: )

Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Software Labor Shortage

Testimony to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee   on Immigration

Dr. Norman Matloff

Department of Computer Science
University of California at Davis
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 752-1953
 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

 Presented April 21, 1998; updated August 1, 2001


1 Executive Summary and Frequently Asked Questions

    1.1 Summary: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

        1.1.1  List of FAQs About the H-1B Program
        1.1.2  List of FAQs About the Claims of a High-Tech Labor Shortage
        1.1.3  List of FAQs About Difficulties Faced by Older Tech Workers
        1.1.4  Answers to the FAQs

2 The Players: Industry, Academia, Politicians, the H-1Bs, American Labor
    2.1  Industry: Desires for Cheap Labor and ``Indentured Servitude''
    2.2  Motivations in Academia
    2.3  Politicians and Lobbyists
        2.3.1  Amazing Candor from the Chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign 
        2.3.2  And Amazing Candor from Senator Robert Bennett
        2.3.3  Whatever the Industry Wants, It Gets
        2.3.4  H-1B and Immigration Policy Is Set by a Small Group of DC Insider 
        2.3.5  A Bill Passed in Stealth
        2.3.6  Case Study: The Membership Makeup of the National Research Council's IT 
Workforce Committee

    2.4 The H-1Bs
    2.5 Groups Advocating on Behalf of Programmers and Engineers

        2.5.1  IEEE-USA
        2.5.2  Others: AFL-CIO, AEA, APG, Washtech, Etc.
3 Focus on Software Developers

    3.1 Reason for This Focus
    3.2 Need for Care Regarding Job Titles 4 There Is No Desperate Shortage of Computer Programmers

    4.1 Employers Are Flooded with Re'sume's, But Are Extremely Picky     4.2 Salary and Nonsalary Compensation

        4.2.1  Salaries
        4.2.2  Wage Growth Comparisons to Other Fields
        4.2.3  Bonuses, Stock Options, Etc.
    4.3  Criticism of the ITAA/VPI/DOC ``Shortage'' Survey Methodology
    4.4  The NRC Study on Workforce Needs in IT
    4.5  Comments on Other Studies of a Possible IT Labor Shortage
    4.6 The Central Role of HR in Creating a ``Shortage''     4.7 The Claimed ``Labor Shortage'' - As Defined by the Industry - Will Be Permanent

    4.8 The Situation in 2001
5 Rampant Age Discrimination - at Age 35

    5.1  Quantitative Evidence
    5.2  Underlying Factors
    5.3  Typical Example: Intel
    5.4  Comments by Recruiters and Analysts on the Age Problem
    5.5  Industry Officials and Lobbyists Admit That the Older Programmers and
         Engineers Have Difficulties Getting Hired
    5.6 Shunned Even Though Possessing a ``Hot'' Skill     5.7 Careers in Programming Are Short-Lived

        5.7.1 Unemployment Rates Are Meaningless for Programmers

    5.8  How Re'sume'-Scanning Programs Lock Out the Older Programmers
    5.9  It Is NOT a ``Failure of Programmers to Keep Their Skills Up to Date''
    5.10  Younger Managers, Older Programmers
    5.11  Sample Profiles of Underemployed and Unemployed Programmers
6 Educational Issues

    6.1 University Computer Science Enrollments     6.2 How The Job Market for New Graduates Works

        6.2.1  Not a Seller's (i.e. Worker's) Market
        6.2.2  Fewer Than Half of New Computer Science Graduates Get Programming Jobs
        6.2.3  The Job Market for New CS Graduates in 2001
        6.2.4  Do Employers Hire Non-Computer Science Graduates As Programmers?
        6.2.5  The Role of Internships/Co-ops
        6.2.6  The Role of the Ranking of School
        6.2.7  The Role of Grades
        6.2.8  Case Study: Samuel Lin
    6.3  ITAA Claims About U.S. Youth's Lack of Interest/Qualifications to
            Study Computer Science Are Incorrect
        6.3.1  Exploding CS Enrollment Disproves the Claim
        6.3.2  The Role of Mathematics Education
        6.3.3  PhD and Master's Degrees
        6.3.4  Case Study: Gene Nelson

    6.4 Older People with New Degrees Are Often Shunned by Employers     6.5 No Shortage of Applicants for Computer Science Teaching Positions 7 On Skills Requirements

    7.1 Employers' Extreme - and Ever-Worsening - Obsession with Specific Software Skills

    7.2 Employers Should Hire on General Programming Talent, Not Specific Software Skills

    7.3 New Software Skills Can Be Picked Up Quickly 8 The Retraining Issue

    8.1  On-the-Job Learning, Not Formal Retraining, Is Best
    8.2  Most Employers Are Unwilling to Retrain
    8.3  Retraining Programs Do Not Reduce H-1B Usage
9 The Role of Programmers and Engineers Imported from Abroad

    9.1 Overview

        9.1.1  Nature of the H-1B Visa
        9.1.2  Relevance of the H-1B Visa to Problems Such As Age Discrimination
    9.2  H-1B Work Visas As a Source of Cheap Labor
        9.2.1  Some Cautionary Notes
        9.2.2  Government Analyses
        9.2.3  Analyses from Academia and Research Institutions
        9.2.4  Statements by the Industry and Its Allies Themselves
        9.2.5  Severe Problems in the Concept of ``Prevailing Wage''
        9.2.6  Indirect Salary Savings Gained from Hiring H-1Bs
        9.2.7  The Indian View
        9.2.8  Views of Other Immigrant Communities
        9.2.9  False Claims of High Legal Fees
    9.3  De Facto Indentured Servitude of the H-1Bs
        9.3.1  Why Indentured Servitude Is of Such High Appeal to Employers
        9.3.2  Nature of the Green Card Process
        9.3.3  The Nature of De Facto Indentured Servitude
        9.3.4  De Facto Indentured Servitude, After the Year 2000
    9.4  Enforcement of the Laws Is Almost Impossible
    9.5  A Bogus Threat
    9.6  Most H-1Bs Are Ordinary Workers, NOT the ``Best and the Brightest''
    9.7  The Vast Majority of H-1Bs Are NOT PhD Graduates of U.S. Universities
    9.8  H-1B Fraud
    9.9  Immigrant High-Tech Entrepreneurship
    9.10 H-1B Hiring by Fellow Immigrant Ethnics     9.11 Highly Deceptive Proposals Involving a Master's Degree or a $60,000 Compensation Floor
10 Employers Are Shooting Themselves in the Foot with Their Hiring Policies

    10.1 The Employers Are Harming Their Own Firms' Profitability     10.2 ``But Don't the Employers Know Best?'' 11 Age Discrimination/H-1B Lawsuits Brought Against High-Tech Firms 12 What Should Be Done

    12.1  What Congress Should Do
    12.2  What the Executive Branch Should Do
    12.3  What Employers Should Do
    12.4  What Universities Should Do
    12.5  What Current University Computer Science Students Should Do
    12.6  What Programmers Should Do

13 Author's Background and Further Reading



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Author: Eric D. Pierce

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Received on Wed Aug 08 2001 - 12:15:24 CDT

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