Tech Industry With No Shortage Of Workers

Tech Industry With No Shortage Of Workers

Along with temporary deportation relief for millions, President Obama's executive action will increase the number of United States college graduates from abroad who can temporarily be hired by U.S. corporations. That hasn't satisfied tech companies and trade groups, who contend more green cards or guest worker visas are needed to keep tech industries growing because of a shortage of qualified American workers. But scholars say there's a problem with that argument: The tech worker shortage doesn't actually exist.

"There's no evidence of any way, shape or form that there's a shortage in the conventional sense," says Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University. "They may not be able to find them at the price they want. But I'm not sure that qualifies as a shortage, any more than my not being able to find a half-priced TV."

For a real-life example of an actual worker shortage, Salzman points to the case of petroleum engineers, where the supply of workers has failed to keep up with the growth in oil exploration. The result, says Salzman, was just what economists would have predicted: Employers started offering more money, more people started becoming petroleum engineers and the shortage was solved.

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