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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the right-in-the-pride dept.

Businesses 441

theodp writes Following up on news that the White House met with big biz on immigration earlier this month, Bloomberg sat down with Joe Green, the head of Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.US PAC, to discuss possible executive actions President Obama might take on high tech immigration (video) in September. "Hey, Joe," asked interviewer Alix Steel. "All we keep hearing about this earnings season though from big tech is how they're actually cutting jobs. If you look at Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, why do the tech companies then need more tech visas?" Green explained why tech may not want to settle for laid-off U.S. talent when the world is its oyster. "The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge," Green said. "Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture," he added. "The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

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Not exactly endearing you to the public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728911)

I wonder if they realize this is politics, not Silicon Valley, where the meritocratic argument has little, if any weight. You're also not doing yourself any favors by calling yourself a multinational and then asking for special treatment in the US.

Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (5, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 3 months ago | (#47729039)

So this tool just shit on U.S. workers and claims that people who are essentially nothing but ITT Tech graduates from a third world country are superior.

They are cheaper, more subservient, less likely to push for raises, and are perfectly happy work 60-80 our weeks.

I'm sure he has illegals mowing his lawn too. I wonder if Google Car can be programed to run someone down.

Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729235)

They are cheaper, more subservient, less likely to push for raises, and are perfectly happy work 60-80 hour weeks [while getting paid for 35 - AC].

That's what he meant by "truly great."

Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (3, Interesting)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 3 months ago | (#47729245)

As a tech worker myself, I don't see why foreign workers would be inherently worse. I mean I've seen some people, very much home grown, who seem to have such a poor grasp of how things work that I wonder how on earth they even have a job.

Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (5, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about 3 months ago | (#47729463)

"As a tech worker myself, I don't see why foreign workers would be inherently worse."

They are not, *inherently* worse. Not by a long shot. Some of them are very, very good.

The problem is that they are being selected, not on the basis of technical skills, but on the basis of lower costs and more subservience. Companies prefer, not just foreign workers, but H1B workers specifically - because they are powerless and easier to abuse.

Just a look at the 'products' these so-called tech companies are churning out should be enough to give lie to the idea that they have any interest at all in technical excellence. They do not. They want cheap code-monkeys that will crank out utter crap as directed with no back talk, no wage pressures, and no looking for a better job to worry about.

"I mean I've seen some people, very much home grown, who seem to have such a poor grasp of how things work that I wonder how on earth they even have a job."

Sure. But we dont have any kind of monopoly on those people. Outsource to save money and you are likely to get the south asian equivalent - all the same problems, plus communication and cultural difficulties on top of it.

Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#47729527)

" I don't see why foreign workers would be inherently worse."

AS one that has had to work with some great guys I can tell you that communicating took 3-5X longer. Sorry but some accents are so thick that we had to waste so much time it was not funny, we finally gave up on meetings and went to text based communication.

Hamir is a fantastic guy, but I can not understand him, and he had trouble understanding me.

Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 3 months ago | (#47729423)

Not superior, just cheaper. The guy is right when he states that, in tech, "The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge". It stands to reason that you'd pay a hell of a lot more to the truly great compared to the good, and that the good still earn quite a bit more than the sort of ok. Funny how that never seemed to happen, though, except in a few companies I've seen (where you also had management reeling in horror at the fact that some techies made more than them). I bet there's plenty of talent to go around in the US, but top performers command top pay or they'll up and leave. Foreign workers are a cheaper and less mobile work force.

Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (4, Interesting)

knightghost (861069) | about 3 months ago | (#47729503)

Green is a big fat liar. "The Best" account for less than 10k a year - across all disciplines. Cut all other visas then give these people green cards then citizenship.

75% of STEM workers leave the field due to substandard conditions. There isn't a recruiting problem, there is a retention problem.

Re: Not exactly endearing you to the public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729127)

Tech is merocratic. That's why all the Indians and chinese are stealing our jobs.

Re: Not exactly endearing you to the public (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729173)

no, its the fact that they work for 1/10th the salary

Re: Not exactly endearing you to the public (2, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 months ago | (#47729241)

To the employer that is a huge form of merit that can easily outweigh others!

Re: Not exactly endearing you to the public (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729389)

No, it's because the USA's educational system sucks sweaty donkey balls. It's dumbed down, brain dead bullshit, and the smart kids get dragged down, but hey, no child left behind! The USA's standardized tests are a few grade levels behind every other developed country, comparable to Mexico or some other third world shithole. And universities, don't even get me started. Universities are just money making machines with grade inflation so that anyone who pays or blows the professor passes despite not knowing how to write even one line of useful code.

Re: Not exactly endearing you to the public (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729431)

no, its the fact that they work for 1/10th the salary

Not just that.

How many recent college grads in the US are self-entitled, gimme-Gimme-GIMME!!! Occutards?

... tech engineers THAT I TALK TO ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728913)

Joe Green probably had one conversation, once, with an Indian.

Read that statement as follows: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728921)

They aren't interested in building up or maintaining US employees; they want to have foreign countries foot the bill for the training of their workers so they can sit around and reap the benefits of advanced training without laying out money to make it happen--and further, they want these employees dependent upon their employment with the company to remain in the country, rather than being able to move about at will.

Indentured workforce, in other words.

Re:Read that statement as follows: (3, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#47729199)

And the best thing about hiring a vIsa worker isn't even the low pay or the way it artificially drives down wages even for your American workers. It's the fact that you can threaten to have them deported if they complain or ask for a raise. They're the perfect indentured serv...oops...I mean "workers."

Re:Read that statement as follows: (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 3 months ago | (#47729343)

Hmmm - that is normal. Some companies grow to the size where this actually is not only possible but also cheap to move jobs, facilities, taxable income and losses around the world at will and only thing you actually need to do that is to press few keys and then enter. This is especially true of IT jobs but others are the same. It does not usually work for small companies or ones that base their business model on quality of goods and services. As soon as thanx to company size you can generate profit in virtual way by moving income or merger or spinoff etc - you have leverage over your work force and over authorities. The benefit of having such corporation at one given location is sometimes negative as communities have to cater for a behemoth which brings more costs than revenue that is 'taxed' elsewhere. Customers are also not served better by such massive corporations unless huge economies of scale are actually used to win them. Volkswagen and Toyota are trying but I am not sure if an average US based corporation is at all interested in providing good service. A company that has customers in all parts of t he world does not care if John Doe is very satisified - it can leverage a monopoly out of its mountain of cash that is gathered in other areas. No comparison, no competition no pressure on price and quality. This as said is not always working this way but often enough it is. OC I say so only because I am a commie.....

That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728923)

Proof that US slashdotters techies are just sort of OK at best since they don't want high skills immigration. Low skills immigration is fine since it doesn't compete directly with their jobs though.

Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 months ago | (#47729015)

> Proof that US slashdotters techies are just sort of OK at best since they don't want high skills immigration. Low skills immigration is fine since it doesn't compete directly with their jobs though.

What immigration?

H1Bs are an indentured servitude program.

It was a stark realization the first time found out that the imported PhDs in my shop were making less than I was. I was in a much better position to negotiate for better salary despite having less education and a more generic specialty.

I had the legal standing to tell my employer to "take this job and shove it".

I happily took advantage of the situation but never forgot the injustice of it.

Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 3 months ago | (#47729191)

Then your company is breaking the law and you should report them. Companies are required to pay above the prevailing wage for the position and region. We paid both of our H1B workers well above average for our staff and when they worked out sponsored their green cards (and boy is that process a cluster!), we're the kind of employer that the program was actually designed for, we were looking for extremely rare talent sets and had advertised the positions for months before looking abroad. I have to say that I have much bigger problems with the screwups in the green card program than I do with the H1B system, permanently bringing smart people from abroad raises the GDP of the US and brings diversity to the country.

Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (4, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#47729257)

Companies are required to pay above the prevailing wage for the position and region.

First of all, the "prevailing wage" is already artificially lowered because of the presence of H1B's. But, even so, it doesn't matter because there are a million ways around this law anyway. Want to get around having to pay your Indian software engineer the prevailing wage for a software engineer? No problem! Just hire him as a "Junior Programmer."

Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 months ago | (#47729317)

Pretty sure the job description for junior programmer that the DOL uses doesn't qualify for an H1B slot...

Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729439)

And the program is only supposed to be for filling jobs that CANNOT OTHERWISE BE FILLED. It's supposed to bring in geniuses and highly skilled technical workers, not fill the cubicle mazes with bodies.

What the H1B program really needs are some quantifiable metrics, i.e.
= You can only bring in H1B people for jobs where the qualified US applicant pool is smaller than X. (Only allow for highly specialized jobs)
= A person on an H1B visa must be paid at least the average regional salary for their job position (remove the lower wage incentive)
= The job which the H1B person is being hired for must require a 4 year college degree and the candidate must have received said degree from a recognized
      institution.

I also support a tax on these workers, to be paid by the employer in addition to normal wages and taxes, that would directly fund educating/retraining American workers to fill tech jobs that are open. Note, this is a fair tax because only companies that want to use H1B visas would be burdened--it's totally their choice.

Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (2)

meustrus (1588597) | about 3 months ago | (#47729205)

Mod this one up! The idea that we need to import tech workers because US tech workers aren't good enough isn't just wrong. It's blatantly un-American. "Oh yes, we're laying off all these high skilled workers, but what we REALLY need is more skilled workers from other countries. Our American college graduates just can't compete anymore with Bangladeshis (at least they can't compete on price, o ho ho)!"

Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (1)

slashdice (3722985) | about 3 months ago | (#47729251)

Were those PhDs smarter, better, and more productive than you?

Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729217)

You can also expect them to turn against workplace automation once we have systems smart enough to code themselves.

Feeding the PR engine, (4, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | about 3 months ago | (#47728925)

This isn't a tech report, it's political propaganda. There's plenty of awesome U.S. techs to do the jobs that are out of them, just as good as the imports, they just want U.S. wages.

Re:Feeding the PR engine, (4, Insightful)

loonycyborg (1262242) | about 3 months ago | (#47729061)

Beside, best techs from other countries are already in demand at home, no need for them to move. "The best" is not someone US would get from H1B visa program.

Re:Feeding the PR engine, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729273)

news flash: they're not get the best or even likely just ok, but cheap.

Re:Feeding the PR engine, (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 months ago | (#47729421)

Only up to a point if you have seen some of the stuff that employers get away with in India you would not be surprised they want to run a way - also not having property stolen by AK toting gangsters is a plus as happened to a college of mines family back in India - or if your a Muslim or a low caste person American even on h1b term seems like the promised land

Re:Feeding the PR engine, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729511)

This isn't a tech report, it's political propaganda.

No shit screamin eagle! No apply this to the entire Obama administration. I can forgive people voting for this man-child the first time, but the second? "Oh oh....but that mormon" they say. Yeah, that mormon would have been salvation in comparison to what we have now.

Well, all you hipsters techies can choke on a dick. May you lose your lob to an H1B a lesson. Fucking morons!

Must be an alternate earth. (5, Insightful)

The Last Gunslinger (827632) | about 3 months ago | (#47728939)

"The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

I've worked in tech (SE) for 15+ years now, and I don't know of a single colleague that would agree with the sentiment expressed in that quote.

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47728995)

It's not colleagues, duh. It's subordinates.

You ask them: "Do you want to be fired today for saying no, or fired in 6 months when they let us hire a cheaper replacement for you?"

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (1)

deKernel (65640) | about 3 months ago | (#47729019)

Exactly...what a load of crap. It has gotten real hard to find employers that are willing to cultivate people from within these days which is a real shame.

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729053)

It's all about how you ask the question. Ask: "Do you want to work with the very best?". Leave out details like 'best' means best for the bottom line of the company.

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 months ago | (#47729071)

It's the bosses and PHB's who have that line.

Must be an alternate earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729091)

I agree with this statement. The industry believes in the market when it benefits them, they want cheap labor that is all.

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729107)

I've worked in SE for a bit over ten years. The best IT people I have worked with have been from America or Western Europe (England, France, etc.), but I can't say that any country has produced better IT folks than the other.

Now let's talk about India. India seems to be a popular source for software engineers, testing services, documentation, etc., and I cannot for the life of me understand why. Building anything takes forever; standards are ripped apart and tossed to the wind; things crash, don't log, don't even compile, run slowly as hell... This isn't from a single experience either.

Does that mean that every guy I've worked with out of India has been a dope? Nope. Not every one, but most of them. I'm not talking about differences in culture, language, or anything else - I'm looking strictly at an end result here.

The people who are spouting this nonsense that "only foreign-born IT folk are good" are penny pinchers who only look at the short term ledgers. They're not, at all, thinking about the long term consequences of their hiring because they're not in the trenches. They don't understand how software is built or how to determine if something is good or not. They just don't get it.

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729275)

You hit it right on the head, my friend. Companies that send programming work to India or Eastern Europe will eventually regret it. India's best and brightest came here and went to school at a reputable Comp Sci program and are among the best working here. But the folks getting churned out by the diploma mills or coming over on H1B's are most often glorified typesetters not programmers. People are making decisions based on only on cost but many bean counter types forget the adage 'you get what you pay for' because saving money in the short term is often valued and rewarded over making sound long term business decisions, by the time the consequences hit, they have collected their bonuses for hitting their profit targets and have already moved on to another company.

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#47729143)

I've worked in tech (SE) for 15+ years now, and I don't know of a single colleague that would agree with the sentiment expressed in that quote.

Ditto, this!

He clearly means "I have talked with CTOs" and doesn't grasp that that title just means yet-another-stuffed-shirt, not any sort of actual engineer.

Because, while I have no doubt that good engineers exist outside the US - They don't need to come here to work as indentured servants. Thus we have exactly the wrong sort of selection bias in who applies for H1Bs in the first place.


"Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers"? No. Real tech (as opposed to "pointy-haired cat herders") wants Obama to clamp down on importing "Just Sort of OK" foreign workers to displace equally qualified American workers. Simple as that.

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (5, Interesting)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47729279)

I guess I have karma to burn.

I have no problem with the many talented Indian and Chinese engineers and programmers I worked with at my last job. Most of them were excellent. That job was a pretty high-tech joint that didn't just employ software people, but also hardware, RF, scientists, etc.

It was strange when I came to my current job that the Indian programmers applying for jobs here were CLEARLY underskilled hacks, with recruiter-edited false resumes. This place is basically a web shop with a database backed product. Some interesting problems, but nothing like the last one. The guys here couldn't even relate to what I was telling them about the highly talented Indian and Chinese programmers at my last place.

I was once asked point blank, by a union employee of the public school system, "What do you think of the immigrants coming and taking your jobs and lowering your salary. My honest response was, "Without the kind of talent the people I'm working with bring to this country, my company wouldn't exist."

I'm not saying there aren't obvious profound flaws with the rest of what the tool in this article is saying, but I will admit that I am perfectly willing to invite top talent to this country if it means businesses operate here. That's hugely different from the 95% of trade school hacks who account for most of the visas, but I'm still happy to welcome those 5% (or 1%, or whatever).

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729485)

I don't think any of the commenters here are complaining about those H1B visa holders who genuinely are top talent or even talent at a level playing field. It's that other 95% you mention that is the problem and the fact that the tech industry is asking for more H1B visas instead of asking for the program to be fixed. That is highly suspect.

Re:Must be an alternate earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729493)

I've been in the industry for 30 years and I don't know of anybody that would agree with it either.

Take it for what it is. (4, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 3 months ago | (#47728941)

Business lobbying for what what will be best for them. News at 11.... Hopefully, voters make this an issue.

Re:Take it for what it is. (2)

bwcbwc (601780) | about 3 months ago | (#47729155)

One reason I route all email from my company's PAC to my junk folder. Why should I help fund legislation against my own interests as well as those of the country.

Now if there was a permanent residence visa program, I might go for it. The foreign workers would have more bargaining power over their salaries/benefits and they would be long-term paying payroll taxes and other things that would help the US economy and budget.

Moral Relativism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729497)

So, you categorically claim that what helps your employer is against your own interests. However, you continue to fund them, as you provide a service that is very valuable (more than double your salary) to them which clearly harms your interests.

Nah, it's not moral relativism, you just knee jerk to the progressive bullshit without thinking about it. Don't claim you're a liberal; you're not. You're part of the plague that has allowed the tea party to have any traction.

Translation (4, Insightful)

Major Blud (789630) | about 3 months ago | (#47728949)

"The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge"

Especially when you want to keep that person tied to the company for the duration of their visa and pay them less than someone with a non-visa.

Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728953)

Then they'll have no problem paying "The Best" at 300% of the current median wage for the position under consideration, right? I mean the actual wage-into-employee's-pocket, they can also foot the bill for the agency or subcontractor in addition to same.

Oh, and the government will also provide the answer for the Citizen "sort of okay" worker's future livelihood since the government values said international worker ahead of the Citizen's welfare, right? And I mean better than those who were shafted by NAFTA.

What they're really saying is... (4, Insightful)

jtseng (4054) | about 3 months ago | (#47728963)

We're too cheap to hire a less experienced person and train them to do their job properly.

Bullshit (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about 3 months ago | (#47728965)

Of course they want to hire the "very best", where "bestness" is measured by how little money they are willing to work for.

I don't disagree that there are some really smart people around the world who want to work for Google, but really valuable people don't need special programs to come over to work. The existing system is already set up to admit them. This is a smoke screen to hide the true purpose of the program: finding more people who don't know the value of their skills, preferably ones without many existing relationships that are easier to overwork.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Pulzar (81031) | about 3 months ago | (#47729043)

The existing system is already set up to admit them.

Spoken like somebody who didn't have to go through the said systems to be admitted.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729351)

I've worked with several who have gone through the system. Yes it's not all cake and roses, it's not a streamlined process, for some it can take a long time, but in the end I'd rather work with one who went through the process versus the go to the head of the line rushed visa any day of the week regardless of skill level. One wants to be here, the other just wants a free lunch!

Re:Bullshit (4, Informative)

netsavior (627338) | about 3 months ago | (#47729111)

When Google offered me a job, I could not believe how little they wanted to pay me. 67% of what I was making at a megabank doing a small amount of very high level innovative stuff, but mostly brain-dead SOAP integrations and listening to conference calls.

That is why I laugh when I get a recruiter or ex-coworker that tells me I should go work at amazon or yahoo or netflix. The bigger the name, the bigger the h1bribe pool, the lower the salary.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729207)

^^^ That, absolutely.

The visa demands have precisely nothing to do with bringing in foreign talent, and everything to do with how cheaply they can hire that talent. Why get one outstanding US worker when you can hire ten mediocre Indians for the same price? Then, of course, the productivity of anyone who doesn't speak Hindi drops, and it only makes sense to get rid of those under-performing workers. Rinse/repeat until you have the same size or larger workforce staffed almost entirely by foreigners at a fraction of the cost, and a bunch of out-of-work Americans.

This isn't some dystopian future; this is now. I'm surrounded by it every day, as are, I'm sure, many of you. We need to get the word out that people like this are completely full of shit, and have no interest in fair employment/compensation, or anything that fails to improve the bottom line. This shit needs to stop.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729315)

I will leave this here

http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/o-1-individuals-extraordinary-ability-or-achievement/o-1-visa-individuals-extraordinary-ability-or-achievement

Why are they using h1b visa when then talking like it is the 'o' visa? O has zero limits. It is meant for so called 'better workers'.

OR are they lying to us about 'getting the best'?

"Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture" (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47728975)

Let's be honest here: no it isn't.

Tech skills are hard to objectively verify. Technical results are hard to objectively verify. We collectively proxy that by having lots of tests, competitions, selection, and other heuristics. But that's not a symptom of us respecting skill more than other jobs(maybe more than other specific office jobs, but not more than lawyers, doctors, manufacturing technicians, similar things), it's a symptom of it being really hard to tell.

These companies are looking to take shortcuts. And some are looking for excuses to cut salaries. That's it.

Re:"Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729215)

Let's be honest here: no it isn't.

In most companies, tech workers are judged purely by seniority. It does make some sense, since the upper management assumes that lower management would not keep a useless employee around, but very few of the lower managers actually know how to assess the usefulness of tech workers under their watch. This results in newer employees being the first on the layoff list regardless of ability, and anyone who has been in the company for a while has job security that makes tenured professors envious.

Re:"Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture (0)

Drethon (1445051) | about 3 months ago | (#47729295)

Depends on weather or not age led to wisdom or knowledge. One company I worked at they fired the recent hire who just got done working an 80 hour week and I know he was smarter, and cheaper, than half the people they kept. I know what you mean.

This isn't about 'best' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728977)

It's about cheapest workers, not better ones.

There's no lack of talent in the US, except from Java mills, and those are easily weeded out.

This isn't about best of the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728979)

"The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

This is really about cutting the price for the vast middle of the bell curve of tech talent. It isn't about finding best of the best.

What a lying sack of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728981)

I defy Joe Green to parade a single American-born "tech engineer" in front of the press who would say "yes please, import more tech workers".

Because Joe Green and I would have a very different concept of what a tech engineer is. He's talking "company principal or owner who has a pocketbook staked on low cost workers being exploited" ... I - and most other people - would be talking about that exploited worker as the tech engineer.

Rise Up and Revolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47728983)

From TFS, "Green explained why tech may not want to settle for laid-off U.S. talent when the world is its oyster."

When is someone going to call-out these bastards and their biases against the unemployed in STEM?

OK, NOW I'm pissed. (4, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about 3 months ago | (#47729007)

Is this article a troll? If it is then I give it 10/10, gr8 b8 m8, and all that shit, because it makes me want to punch someone. In the face. Repeatedly. I've never heard such total bullshit in my entire life. So, what, I'm supposed to sit back and accept an attitude of 'fuck U.S. workers, they all suck, we'll hire from overseas because they're better'? Bull-fucking-shit. Know what I think? I think they like getting anyone they can that will work cheaper, that's what. I work with engineers, I live in the same house as an engineer, and they all tell me how it really is: They'd rather hire younger workers from overseas, regardless of their lack of experience and education, because they can get them dirt cheap, and to hell with quality.

Re:OK, NOW I'm pissed. (2)

bwcbwc (601780) | about 3 months ago | (#47729185)

More politely - if these guys spent as much (re)training each US worker as they spend on lawyers, visa fees and other costs related to bringing in the replacements, they wouldn't have a problem.

Re:OK, NOW I'm pissed. (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 3 months ago | (#47729517)

So, what, I'm supposed to sit back and accept an attitude of 'fuck U.S. workers

I think what all of "just OK" tech workers are going to have to do is form our own companies and route around the big corps. The big guys seem hell bent on taking the path they want to take, and it doesn't include us. The only viable option for the normal people is to form communities and support each other in these communities. Maybe the Republic of Texas whack jobs were on to something...they just went about it the wrong way. Maybe some community coops that produce something tangible and real -- hiring us "just OK" workers in the process -- instead of storing up guns and food?

In a word..... (0)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 3 months ago | (#47729009)

B U L L S H I T

It sounds like rubbish (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 months ago | (#47729011)

If its anything like the UK, the foreign workers won't all be the very best. I've worked with some top rate foreign workers on visas, but most of them are of an "OK" standard. Almost the same with native British workers, I've worked with some who are the very best, but most are "OK". The one difference is I have seen a couple of really bad native British workers who shouldn't be in the job. I've never seen a foreign worker that bad - presumably they fail to get out of their country.

Works in reverse, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729013)

Culture in business executives is a very meritocratic culture. The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge. Why does this argument only seem to apply to employees?

Really? (5, Insightful)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#47729029)

"The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

Show me ONE.

Just fucking ONE.

He or she must have a pulse,
be conscience,
have an IQ over 30,
full citizenship,
NOT A POLITICIAN,
NOT A CEO,
NOW SHOW ME ONE.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729369)

I'm a foreign contractor.
I've worked all my 35+ career with foreign contractors. Most of them are rubbish. A few of them are great.
I've also worked most of my career with domestic staff. Most of them are rubbish. A few of them are great.

Re:Really? (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 3 months ago | (#47729499)

I'm a foreign contractor. I've worked all my 35+ career with foreign contractors. Most of them are rubbish. A few of them are great. I've also worked most of my career with domestic staff. Most of them are rubbish. A few of them are great.

"90% of everything is crap". What are you trying to say?

Re:Really? (2)

SydShamino (547793) | about 3 months ago | (#47729533)

I am an engineer. I appreciate the folks from other countries I work with, who are smart and capable engineers.

Now, I have no idea why my employer chooses to recruit at certain international engineering schools, nor do I know why they choose to sponsor some people for work VISAs. I interview who I'm told and make no distinction in my recommendations based on their national origin (because I'm a professional, not just because it could be illegal). Those I recommend for hire based on their technical skills, and end up working in my department with me, are very good engineers. I do want to work with smart people, and the foreign nationals I work with are very good at their jobs.

It's possible to generalize people as "citizens" and "foreigners", but when you are talking about actual people, individuals, I'm as ambivalent on national origin as I am on gender or sexual orientation or anything else irrelevant to someone's skill as an engineer. I suppose whether that means I'm "supportive" or not is based on your point of view.

Agree totally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729051)

I would gladly give up my job so some super-dude could do what I do, ony for far less than my cost, even though s/he will want to work twice as long to do the same. That is capitalism at its finest, and I say, wooly-wooly! More power to those on high!

Correct me if I'm wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729055)

Laying off existing employees so you can refill the same positions with new workers at lower salaries ... that's basically illegal, right? Is that why these companies are so desperate to get foreign workers in on temporary visas ... so they can lump those workers into different categories than the US workers they laid off?

Also, this whole idea of tech being "a meritocracy" ... yeah, that may be true among peers. I'll be more impressed by someone with my same job title if they're good at their job. But since when does management view their staff as a meritocracy? Look at how many people in tech have to quit their jobs to get better work, or to get promotions. Maybe that's it, too ... these companies are tired of having to compete with other companies (look at Apple and all the other companies who colluded on secret, illegal non-compete agreements) so they want to hire workers on visas that don't allow them to easily change jobs.

as long as there is a high min wage + OT pay for t (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 months ago | (#47729057)

as long as there is a high min wage + OT pay for them.

As some places use them as cheap workers chained to the job.

also if they want to use them as the best then they should be locked to that job with just about no time to find an other (h1bs have to get out as soon as there job is over) if they get fired or layed off.

You can have your tech visas.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729087)

.. when US Unemployment is below 2%.

Figure out how to put all the tech people to work with living wage jobs and then you can have your tech visa.

The diff between ok us and great outsourcers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729101)

The ok US tech worker is still able to get more work done, with fewer issues than a team of 30 top breed outsourced gits.

The really good US tech worker is worth 100 outsourced gits.

Then, the phenomenal US tech worker, well, the population isn't high enough in India to get enough people to do the same amount of quality work.

Re:The diff between ok us and great outsourcers? (1)

meustrus (1588597) | about 3 months ago | (#47729299)

Be careful AC. You're treading too close to racism. Any argument that "we need to do X because Y people are superior to Z" is very easily struck down in public policy.

You call them Just Sorta OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729115)

I call them "mornin' boss, great haircut".

Quite time = successful engineer (5, Interesting)

ryanmc1 (682957) | about 3 months ago | (#47729129)

Here is a study that was done a long time ago (1985). Skip down to section 5. It states that the most productive engineers were given 78 sqft of dedicated floor space, thought of there environment as quiet, private, and could silence or divert calls, were not interrupted, and thought they were appreciated. Skill had nothing to do with whether the engineer could finish the project they were assigned. http://teaching.davearnold.ca/... [davearnold.ca]

Maybe tech companies need to develop culture that encourages good engineers rather than hiring foreign workers.

Re:Quite time = successful engineer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729531)

thought of there environment as quiet, private, and could silence or divert calls, were not interrupted

One culture shift I've seen and experienced over the past few decades as an engineer is the open floor plan. I've worked in cube farms, private offices, open floor plans and everything in between. I see more and more developers moving to an open floor plan. The endless distractions are mind boggling. I'd take a soul crushing cube farm any day over an open plan. Though I guess the upshot of an open plan for a manager is being able to quickly glance around to see who's sleeping, goofing off, or simply not there.

(Yes, open floor plan have existed through out the ages, but in my line of work it has now become common place. And it stinks for overall productivity!)

Cheap Labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729131)

Enough said..

To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729145)

If slashdot comments are any indication, unemployed natives are more interested in free software and politics than actually honing their skills on the latest technologies. They have a list of varying dislikes as long as my arm (C++11, DRM, Ruby, PHP, etc.). Foreigners that want to work aren't nearly as obstinant.

Let the downvoting begin.

So... what does that mean? (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47729147)

So that means that tech workers from abroad are better than tech workers here? Well, that must then mean that schools abroad are better than schools in the US because, hey, where would they get their knowledge from. And that of course must mean that we'd also find much better managers in India and Pakistan than we can find here, for obviously the same reason.

I fail to see a lot of H1B visa applications for CEOs, though? I really, really wonder what could possibly be the reason. I'd really want to work for a great CEO for a change, I can tell ya. I mean, when we all want to work with superior colleges, I can only assume that we would all just outright LOVE to work for a superior CEO!

And the squeeze continues (1)

illumined (3666963) | about 3 months ago | (#47729159)

So while we're mired in the Second Great Depression American workers keep getting squeezed from below by illegals and above by H1B.

Fwd.US (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 months ago | (#47729265)

Facebook's Wealth Demands Unlimited Slaves

I bet it was intentional, you know the Zuck loves to mock people right in front of their faces.

Response Bias (4, Interesting)

meustrus (1588597) | about 3 months ago | (#47729277)

"The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

I guarantee you that "the vast, vast majority of tech engineers" would not assume that "other countries" automatically meant "the very best". The general consensus in my neck of the woods is that engineers of foreign origin are about on par with our native engineers. The consensus I've seen in pop culture is that the foreign engineers are generally much worse. I can only imagine the question that would lead to the response above:

Q: If faced with a choice between a top foreign engineer or a mediocre American one, which would you hire?

A: The foreign one. I'd want to work with the very best.

Yes OK (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 3 months ago | (#47729293)

So why can't *I* do the same thing with a lawyer, notary, accountant? You telling me *there* I have to use a local person? 2+2=4 in China too.

Oh that's different.

Re:Yes OK (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47729487)

There's quite a bit of this going on particularly in law and accounting. Law jobs have fallen off the cliff in the last 6 years. And in fact there's almost no more radiologists in the US anymore. All you need is some training, a pair of eyes and a broadband connection.

cancel your Facebook account (2)

traveller9 (951983) | about 3 months ago | (#47729309)

As others here have already posted, I call BULLSHIT of this quote by Joe Green. This is nothing more than political propaganda. I worked in the computer industry over 35 years for DEC, EDS, HP, Loral Aerospace, and others. My roles ranged from component repair at customer location (soldering iron & oscilloscope), customer service manager, system engineering project manager, database admin, sales support, system admin, and virtualization work. As also stated by an early poster, I don't know of a single colleague that would agree with the sentiment expressed in the Joe Green quote. I worked with many software people holding visas. Many are very competent and motivated. Others not so much. If Mr Green thinks the 'best' are outside the United States, then perhaps Facebook, Zuckerberg, and Mr Green should relocate to become permanent expatriates.

Then you have this headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729311)

*cough* Bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729327)

The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

That is some grade-A 200 proof certified bullshit. I am involved in a multi-national project team where we support a company in the UK who is outsourcing a good deal of their work to India. We get raked over the coals all the time for how expensive our consulting rates are in comparison to the Indian company. Yet we regularly have situations where a single one of our mid-level software engineers (Good people, $75K salary, 4 year degree from public US university, but not the "very very best") can accomplish in one week what took a team of 10 engineers in India 2 - 3 months.

Send me bright, hard working American programmers. We don't need all these mythical offshore tech workers.

Sounds dubious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729335)

The best foreign workers are hardly going to want to go and live in the United States. After all, what smart person wants to work in a country with such poor healthcare, such a dismal education system, and such a totalitarian government. Smart people don't want that. America will get the talent it deserves instead.

NEWS FLASH talking to own employees (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47729341)

Gets you exactly what you want to hear!

"The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

BS, yet with the tiniest grain of truth (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 3 months ago | (#47729345)

Anyone who has worked in the IT field long enough knows this truth -- there are rockstar, mediocre and just plain awful tech workers in both the foreign and domestic camps. However, other than people complaining in general about how awful people they have to work with are, I've never heard anyone say anything like "All US engineers/programmers/IT guys are universally bad and so my company should hire foreign workers so I get to work with the best of the best." (I've seen a lot of people who *think* they're the best of the best and aren't. I'm pretty good and would *never* give myself the label "rockstar" like some of these idiots do.)

The central argument against something like this isn't "I want my job protected at all costs against competition." It's the fact that large employers are working to reduce the baseline salary for everyone regardless of talent level. It sounds like the "vast, vast majority of tech engineers" interviewed for this aren't really workers -- they're probably startup founders given the lobbying org this guy works for (fwd.us). The guy who came up with Snapchat probably isn't coding anymore -- he's busy trying to convince people that Snapchat is worth 44 billion dollars.

I've worked in a few different companies, and been on lots of projects (I'm in IT services.) I've seen lots of perspectives. I was on the systems integration team for a very large offshored dev project to replace a critical system that basically had to be thrown out, taken back in house and reworked. I've also seen situations where offshore coding and H-1B holders end up doing decent work. The same goes for the US as well...I've been very fortunate to work with a few people who *really* knew their stuff in the little niche I work in. They're few and far between, and very expensive, but worth it. There's also horror stories...I remember one guy who basically BS'd his manager for over 3 years that he was administering a systems management application, but in reality he was doing the absolute bare minimum to keep it from falling over (and yes, I wound up having to clean up the mess.) I've dealt with systems guys who have absolutely no concept of troubleshooting, and just lack a grasp of the basics. Everyone starts out that way, but there are some people (domestic AND foreign) who don't put the effort into getting better. This is why arguments like this are so hard to completely refute, but on the other hand are mostly BS.

I think companies need to get back to investing in their employees and keeping them around for a while to see a return on that investment. If they did that, employees would be more loyal and employers wouldn't feel like (a) training money is "wasted" and (b) they need to hire a ready-made rockstar with every single skillset they could possibly need. Job descriptions are crazy -- they want everything, when in reality a good systems engineer can jump between hardware, software, operating systems, etc. pretty easily given enough time to learn the basics.

well, I for one... (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 3 months ago | (#47729465)

...Like this idea. Let the immigrants come and do the work. Hell they can have the nightmare that has become the technical industry. I quit my job over a year ago, just because of how ridiculous doing work for a technical job has become.

Inherently built into the supporting factor(s) of the tech industry, is the eventual collapse of workers that want to work. Using the same business practices that are practiced today, the overseas folks that are going to be taking these jobs will eventually need to be replaced as well. And then what? The problem's not the workers, it's the work and those that design the work. By the way, those folks will not be replaced.

100% PURE FUCKING BULLSHIT (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47729469)

They don't want 'talent' they want dirt cheap. If they could figure out a way to make everyone an unpaid intern which was only 1% as productive as GOOD talent they'd do that. Everyone needs to pull their heads out of their asses on this. Companies HATE you. They HATE having to pay you. And bringing in a few thousand H1B's is a political ploy to avoid getting slammed for sending the OTHER 3 million jobs to Asia. In ten years there won't be any tech jobs in the US. Wake the fuck up.

Foreign vs US developers (2)

bazmail (764941) | about 3 months ago | (#47729479)

Most of our foreign (European) contractors are better developers (and all round co-workers) than the home grown US developers, unpopular thing to say but there it is. Add to that they are better educated in general than the US devs and US developers have the highest sense of self-entitlement and things start to look clear. I am a senior sysadmin and I prefer to deal with the foreign devs and select them for projects as they are not obsessed with position and work place politics, they just get it done.

We're crazy (2)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 3 months ago | (#47729491)

The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries

That's easy to believe. I feel the same way.

Yet sometimes I hear people bitching about immigrants in other contexts. If they're agricultural workers instead of tech workers, somehow they're undesirable. That doesn't make any sense to me at all. It makes so little sense to me, that I think it's just plain stupid.

But that's just, like, my opinion, man. We don't open the borders. Every election we nearly unanimously scream that we want highly restricted immigration consisting of very few people, and the thought of making any moves toward meritocracy makes us so incredibly angry and resentful, that we go out of our minds with blind rage.

So, tech workers and tech industry customers (i.e. most of America), if this is how you really feel, then you need to live with the consequences. You can't say justice, fairness, and efficiency are important, yet also things you totally don't care about. Make up your fucking mind. If you speak about programmers from India in a fundamentally different way than farmers from Chihuahua, maybe you are the problem, psycho.

Unions (1)

Calsar (1166209) | about 3 months ago | (#47729505)

I don't like unions, but this is one case where the lack of unions is hurting US tech workers. There is no lobbing group to call out companies on this kind of BS. You would need a very large well funded organization to even think of going up against the tech giants in the political arena. Maybe you could call attention to it on something like change.org, but I don't think it would be very effective without some lobbing money behind it. Anyone have any ideas that would actually work, because whining about isn't accomplishing anything as we've seen for many years now.

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