Someone in the Gold Forum posted a link to an article entitled Endangered specials: US Programmers
from the Christian Science Monitor
, which I have long thought of as one of the more intelligent and thoughtful newspapers, but which I have not read much in recent years. I have a problem with the premise partly because it sounds like thinly veiled racism (or culturalism, perhaps) to draw this line so clearly between "US programmers" and "foreign H-1B" workers. In particular, the following paragraph seems to suggest that US programming jobs aren't disappearing so much as being taken up by new people:
Although computer-related jobs in the United States increased by 27,000 between 2001 and 2003, about 180,000 new foreign H-1B workers in the computer area entered the nation, calculates John Miano, an expert with the Programmers Guild, a professional society. "This suggests any gain of jobs have been taken by H-1B workers," he says.
Now, it is possible that there are problems with the H-1B visa program, but look at the paragraph lower down:
The average wage for an American programmer runs about $60,000, says John Bauman, who set up the Organization for the Rights of American Workers. Employers pay H-1Bs an average $53,000.
. The wage difference is not so large that I think it poises a fundamental problem, the way a $25/hour being replaced by a $0.75/hour worker in a third world country does. The H-1B workers may be a bit cheaper, but at 88%, their wage differential is less than the wage differential between women and men (usually quoted as 73% these days), so I don't think the competition should drive US programmers out of work as much as into a lower tax bracket. That may be serious, but it does not an "endangered species" make.
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