America Needs 12 Lakh Computer Experts Right Now, But H1B Limitations Makes It Tough

If the demand is not met by increasing supply then it leads to catastrophic economic outcomes for any organization. And what if this phenomenon is not limited to a single organization, but has spread throughout the nation. This might sound alarm for all stakeholders, citizens, and policymakers alike.

The US experiences an acute supply crunch of tech talent

According to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), there are more than 1.2 million unique job vacancy postings in computer occupations in the US, as of September 6, 2021. NFAP is a nonpartisan policy research organization.

To put more than 1.2 million active job vacancy postings in computer occupations in perspective, companies can file for only 85,000 new H-1B petitions in a year—and about two-thirds of company-sponsored new H-1B petitions, or 56,000 a year, are in computer occupations. This means there are more than 20 times more job vacancy postings in computer occupations as new H-1B petitions are typically used by companies in computer occupations each year, even if one adopted a zero-sum approach to jobs.

Companies that already found it challenging to find the right skilled talent, had to face another hurdle – they were subsequently caught in the pandemic-related travel bans. Only a few days ago, the US administration has announced that come November it will lift the travel ban for those who are fully vaccinated.

H1B visa holders foster the growth of the US economy

“H-1B visa holders do not adversely affect US workers. On the contrary, the evidence points to the presence of H-1B visa holders being associated with lower unemployment rates and faster earnings growth among college graduates, including recent college graduates,” according to a May 2020 National Foundation for American Policy study by Madeline Zavodny, formerly an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (and Dallas) and a professor of economics at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville.

It should be noted that the data points to a significant talent gap in the US between the demand for high-skilled technical labor and the ability of the US labor force to fill that demand. At US universities, foreign nationals account for 82% of the full-time graduate students in petroleum engineering, 74% in electrical engineering, and 72% in computer and information sciences.

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