Microsoft's push to hire overseas workers raises eyebrows

In September, Microsoft proposed a new strategy that it claimed would allow the company to hire more workers in the US. Part of its proposal involved a request to the US government to add a new category for immigration services that would allow for 20,000 citizens from overseas to come to the US to work that have the skills that Microsoft says it needs to fill its job openings.

It's that part of the company's idea that has raised some concerns. The Seattle Times reports that some experts and groups believe that Microsoft wants to fill open positions with overseas workers because they are cheaper than US workers that have the same qualifications.

University of Pennsylvania economist Peter Cappelli states, "What companies like Microsoft seem to want is employees with quite specific skills who don't need any training and ramp-up time." He says Microsoft can find those workers outside the US and offer them lower wages versus training workers here in the US and paying them more.

For its part, Microsoft denies these claims. Karen Jones, the company's deputy general counsel for human resources, said, "We simply cannot find qualified Americans to fill these jobs." She added, "If we can find American workers, that's always going to be our first choice."

Source: The Seattle Times

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The only reason Microsoft and others can't find American talent - they don't want to. Here are some key facts that Microsoft and the high tech lobby don't want you to know about high tech immigration reforms:

Fact: Bill Gates and convicted felon/sidekick Jack Abramoff, $influenced$ Congress to pass Microsoft-friendly H-1b visa law that legalizes employment discrimination against American citizens.

Fact: Thanks to Gates and Abramoff Congress pass egregious H-1b immigration laws that:

- Allow companies to exclusively recruit offshore for US jobs - and never consider Americans

- Increase American unemployment by allowing companies to replace high skill Americans currently performing these jobs with foreign citizens.

So What About the “Skills Shortage” ?

Since Microsoft bought the high tech immigration visa law (H-1b), they are not legally required to ever consider Americans for American jobs.

The mythical skills shortage is the big lie. There is NO shortage of American talent more than ready, willing, and able to fill these jobs and take our country forward.

If there's a tech skills shortage, then WHY
- Did Microsoft layoff 5,000 Americans, and hire 5000+ visa worker replacements?
- Won't MS call back the US workforce they laid off before hiring more foreign visa workers?
- Does Microsoft continue to shed 10% of its workforce annually through stack ranking?

Make no mistake, Microsoft's and other high tech companies' strategy has nothing to do with a mythical labor shortage and everything to do with corporate greed and labor arbitrage.

Please get the FACTS. Visit http://www.brightfuturejobs.com

Go to any top CS department on the west coast, and count the ratio of Americans to non-Americans. Let me give you a hint: way more foreigners. The funny part is that PhD advisors pay more for foreigners, at least in state schools, because of out-of-state tuition. And they still choose to do it. Unless you believe that schools are also part of a conspiracy theory, the only reasonable conclusion is that there is indeed a shortage of top-engineering American talent.

Here we have it Microsoft cares not about the U.S.A. citizens. Hire oveseas employees over American employees first means BOYCOT MICROSOFT!

Bwahaha I love the double standards of the USA. They are full supporters of globalization - as long as foreigners get their crappy jobs or they get the great jobs of other countries.

Also, when other countries oppose foreigners in their own countries it's like them being racist, but when the USA does the same, it's "patriotism".

And btw, do you know where this "slave races with crappy jobs + elite race with good jobs" thing was outlined? Bingo, in Mein Kampf. And the USA seems to execute it perfectly.

bviktor said,
Bwahaha I love the double standards of the USA. They are full supporters of globalization - as long as foreigners get their crappy jobs or they get the great jobs of other countries.

Also, when other countries oppose foreigners in their own countries it's like them being racist, but when the USA does the same, it's "patriotism".

And btw, do you know where this "slave races with crappy jobs + elite race with good jobs" thing was outlined? Bingo, in Mein Kampf. And the USA seems to execute it perfectly.

If that were entirely true, Microsoft wouldn't be doing this...

mikeyx12 said,

If that were entirely true, Microsoft wouldn't be doing this...

I'm not talking about the companies. I'm talking about common public standpoints.

bviktor said,

I'm not talking about the companies. I'm talking about common public standpoints.

Most lower and middle class Americans are against globalization. Only individuals that are out to make money off of somebody else's work are for it. Even those individuals are not "full supporters" as you said.

bviktor said,
Bwahaha I love the double standards of the USA. They are full supporters of globalization - as long as foreigners get their crappy jobs or they get the great jobs of other countries.

Also, when other countries oppose foreigners in their own countries it's like them being racist, but when the USA does the same, it's "patriotism".

And btw, do you know where this "slave races with crappy jobs + elite race with good jobs" thing was outlined? Bingo, in Mein Kampf. And the USA seems to execute it perfectly.

You're absolutely right. America has become a country of self entitled know nothings that don't want to take a crap job or work their way up, they want to just be "gifted" a CEO position (Because naturally them, with their inability to balance their own checkbook, would do a far better job than anyone else)... So, they're fine giving crap jobs to other countries, but then cry when there aren't more jobs here. Because naturally there are enough cushy management jobs for everyone in the country to have one, right? And everyone is equally qualified for such a job? It's really ridiculous. And then we have the double standard that everyone is evil for taking jobs overseas (Even ones we don't want), or that no "good" jobs should be taken overseas to begin with...

I don't get it too. Microsoft has a lot of offices outside US. With lot of personell. They could simply hire more workers in these office to do their work. And no more problems with US visas.

rippleman said,
why pay $50 an hour when you can pay $10.... simple math

Except that it doesn't work that way, because they aren't going to be getting that much less. Simple reality.

rdmiller said,
Our country is crawling with unemployed call center workers. Why can't Microsoft hire them?

Because we, as Americans, have demands and high expectations of income.

Sorry, it's the truth.

rdmiller said,
Our country is crawling with unemployed call center workers. Why can't Microsoft hire them?

Because they don't want f***ing call center workers?

and how can they be call center workers if they're unemployed? lol. It's not exactly a career.

I've had a few people apply to work at my company with CS degrees and whatever else is popular at the time. It doesn't mean they are experienced, it just means they took a test and passed it and in my opinion no better off than a normal person trying to learn IT.

I know people who had Masters Degrees in Computer Science / Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon and they didn't even get an interview at MS... yet they had no problem getting one from Apple and HP... I know two people that had PhD's in Comp Sci zero response from MS when they applied to the research department at MS...

you can't tell me they wern't qualified... heck one of them was Japanese not even american

I honestly could care about how ms or any other company hires or who they hire to get the job done. As long as the job that gets done is top-notch and do whatever ms wants them to do, then whatever.

aviator189 said,
I honestly could care about how ms or any other company hires or who they hire to get the job done. As long as the job that gets done is top-notch and do whatever ms wants them to do, then whatever.

If you could care, then what the hell are you on about??

mjhannaf said,
As a soon to be college grad with a CS degree, I hope that it's not the case

If you're good at what you do then there's no reason you can't get a job. Tech companies are literally always hiring - they can't get enough qualified people. This article is a bit on the FUD side.

mjhannaf said,
As a soon to be college grad with a CS degree, I hope that it's not the case
Sometimes you just need someone who will over look your work experience versus education. Once you begin working, this is what you'll discover. Job posting that are considered entry level, yet have ridiculous knowledge + work experience requirements. For example, in 2003, I recalling job postings for entry-level positions with 5-10 yrs industry experience and 5 yrs developing in C#, which only became generally available in 2002.

But, I digress. Basically, you'll find the requirements don't always match what you'd expect for an entry level position.

chAos972 said,

If you're good at what you do then there's no reason you can't get a job. Tech companies are literally always hiring - they can't get enough qualified people. This article is a bit on the FUD side.

I'm all set then

ahinson said,
Sometimes you just need someone who will over look your work experience versus education. Once you begin working, this is what you'll discover. Job posting that are considered entry level, yet have ridiculous knowledge + work experience requirements. For example, in 2003, I recalling job postings for entry-level positions with 5-10 yrs industry experience and 5 yrs developing in C#, which only became generally available in 2002.

But, I digress. Basically, you'll find the requirements don't always match what you'd expect for an entry level position.

Yeah, I have found through my internship that a degree is a piece of paper and as long as you can hit the ground running then you'll be ok.

mjhannaf said,

I'm all set then

Just remember that having a degree doesn't make you qualified for anything. The line on the job posting saying C#, C++, Java, etc is just as important as the line that says B.S. in C.S. or related field. Not meeting both requirements means you are just as unqualified.

ILikeTobacco said,
Just remember that having a degree doesn't make you qualified for anything. The line on the job posting saying C#, C++, Java, etc is just as important as the line that says B.S. in C.S. or related field. Not meeting both requirements means you are just as unqualified.
I've found that what really determines this to be true or not. Is whether HR is directly engaged in the hiring process. If they are, even if you're talented they'll tend to filter you at the door, if you don't meet the education requirements. I personally don't have that problem, but I have worked with a few ppl whom I considered to be smarter and more talented than my other co-workers who attended college. For example, I worked for a company that was a space program contractor, which hired quite a few developers who had work experience over education - I guess they were cheaper. In 2005, the company was acquired by Lockheed Martin. Once Lockheed came on board, their HR started just cutting pay, releasing and/or laying off developers, specifically those who didn't meet their corporate education requirements. A few of my friends were let go, and I left shortly after that because I saw the writing on the wall. They were coming in and basically deleting positions they considered to be overlapping. I was told my position was safe, but I left anyway. I'd rather be able to control my own destiny, then to show up one day and be offered a pittance of a severance.

Your mileage may vary though.

Edited by ahinson, Nov 28 2012, 3:41am :

Same goes here in Canada. We've had 2 job openings for over 6 months and the only dozen or so who applied (even going through agencies as well) are just horrible. This is despite having great benefits and a great company to work for...we are going to have to consider people here on work visas/hire an agency to get someone internationally.

zivan56 said,
Same goes here in Canada. We've had 2 job openings for over 6 months and the only dozen or so who applied (even going through agencies as well) are just horrible. This is despite having great benefits and a great company to work for...we are going to have to consider people here on work visas/hire an agency to get someone internationally.

Link to the job posting?

It's not crap. The company I work for is doing the same thing. Software Developers are extremely hard to come by in the US. The market is large and competitive for a very limited amount of people. We're doing everything we can to hire in the US, but when you have to compete for SDs with the likes of MS, Google, Apple, Facebook, etc, you have to look elsewhere as well.

He says Microsoft can find those workers outside the US and offer them lower wages versus training workers here in the US and paying them more.

This is such a bull**** statement. They can't legally offer wages lower than prevailing market wages. They may be able to push the average wage down by increasing job seekers but then they are no different than any American corporation.

"We simply cannot find qualified Americans to fill these jobs." She added, "If we can find American workers, that's always going to be our first choice."

really...

Kalint said,
"We simply cannot find qualified Americans to fill these jobs." She added, "If we can find American workers, that's always going to be our first choice."

really...


It's not really a secret that engineering is not really a top-pick for Americans. That's why you find so many foreigners in every tech company (and no, they are not getting paid less!). That statement may actually be true.

And the article says that they tried to push the government for higher visa numbers, they got denied, and this is their next choice. It hardly seems like a trick on their behalf for finding cheaper labor.

tanybeen said,

It's not really a secret that engineering is not really a top-pick for Americans. That's why you find so many foreigners in every tech company (and no, they are not getting paid less!). That statement may actually be true.

And the article says that they tried to push the government for higher visa numbers, they got denied, and this is their next choice. It hardly seems like a trick on their behalf for finding cheaper labor.


I've see dozens of college grads in CS degrees get ignored by MS, even people with MSCS. MS is looking for not only cheap(er) labor but a workforce that is more under control. People under work visas are probably less likely to switch companies and be more easy to control. I really don't buy that they can't find the people for the job in US, that's bs.

helios01 said,

I've see dozens of college grads in CS degrees get ignored by MS, even people with MSCS. MS is looking for not only cheap(er) labor but a workforce that is more under control. People under work visas are probably less likely to switch companies and be more easy to control. I really don't buy that they can't find the people for the job in US, that's bs.

thats because they are not qualified. just having a cs degree doesn't mean you have a job. its MS and they look for smart people. if you are not smart you don't get the job.
that's why they said they couldn't find QUALIFIED Americans. btw, not everyone look for fresh grads. experienced people are needed too.

there are tons of programming languages and there are only so many americans who study CS. finding right people with right skills is key here.

If anyone hasn't seen Waiting for Superman then they really ought to. One of the statistics they had is that the US will need around 120,000 skilled workers but that the education system will have only produced around 50,000. That means companies like Microsoft really have no choice but to hire overseas.

The US education system is barely functional and it needs a radical overhaul if the US is to remain competitive in the world market in twenty years time.

still1 said,

thats because they are not qualified. just having a cs degree doesn't mean you have a job. its MS and they look for smart people. if you are not smart you don't get the job.
that's why they said they couldn't find QUALIFIED Americans. btw, not everyone look for fresh grads. experienced people are needed too.

there are tons of programming languages and there are only so many americans who study CS. finding right people with right skills is key here.


There are plenty people with the right skills - unfortunately (me included) refused their noncompetitive offer. It was quite disheartening as I always wanted to work at Microsoft. Quite a few of their recruiters are pricks though, non technical and can't identify talent past a resume.

They haven't been competing with google, amazon, apple on employee benefits for experienced workers(On average 15% less compensation, 30% less stock options). With all the headhunting going around in the software bubble - its a no shocker Microsoft is left with the short end of the stick.