Cost Breakdown of a Bad Hire

Why is there a lack of Qualified IT Programmers’ in the US?

This is a question that I find myself asking quite often as a professional in the IT recruiting industry. IT staffing companies Boston receive daily requests for application developers – therefore you would think that everyone would be jumping on the bandwagon (similar to the buzz when the demand for qualified Pharmacists went through the roof a few years back. The demand for Pharmacists lead to a huge influx of pharmacy students and a growing number of academic institutions from approximately 50-60 pharmacy schools ten years ago to well over a 100 today). 
The information technology industry is not doing enough to create the same buzz regarding the demand for highly skilled developers to attract academic institutions to provide top notch software engineering curriculum (again, being a veteran in the technical recruiting industry, I assure you that the need is there). You hear much more about business, medical, liberal arts and other schools programs in the media than you do computer science programs.  Why is this?  It could be that the role of a programmer does not have the same visibility that sales and marketing positions provide.  These individuals could also be looked at as behind the scenes with the role being much less glamorous.  This is certainly not the case. Rarely do hiring managers request a programmer that will sit at a desk and code all day.  More and more IT managers are looking for candidates that have the right mix of interpersonal and technical skills to thrive in a collaborative environment and be able to work with business stakeholders when needed.

What is ironic is that there are a number of articles written every year stating that software engineers and other application developers are among the highest paid graduates – yet the demand is still there.  Subsequently, companies are forced to off-shore and outsourcing U.S. jobs to countries like India, China, and Philippines or hire H1 Visa software developers to fill their needs locally.  H1 Visa IT consultants provide companies with software resources without having to hire full-time IT staff.  Many companies also prefer to hire H1-V consultants because they demand a lower salary for the same work output.

IT recruiting firms are also forced to source H1 Visa/sponsored programmers for the same reasons.  First, there is a shortage of qualified US professionals to meet the hiring needs of their clients.  Two, especially in this economy, clients are looking at more for less.  Therefore, with budgets slashed and money tight, literally the only way for many companies to meet their development needs is by utilizing an H1 Visa information technology professional.

Currently the theoretical limit to H1-V programmers in the U.S. is approximately 65,000.  That said, most Americans would compete against foreign programmers willing to do the same IT job for less money.  However, when a hiring manager has the option to choose who they want to hire purely on skill set and experience, the U.S. programmer should have the edge. This is due to that fact that they do not require sponsorship to hire and in most cases have superior communication skills that are crucial to positions that are client facings and involve customer contact.  The truth stands that many companies are forced to hire consultants when they have an open full-time IT programmer position because they are left with an extremely small number of candidates to choose from and have to settle for less experience or pay a consultant.
It truly is a shame that many companies in the information technology industry import highly skilled foreign workers to handle programming and other work due to lack of talent in the US.  Proponents of more H1-V’s also say there is a shortage of computer professionals in the US, reflected in an unemployment rate of a mere 2.4 percent.  Subsequently, there are plenty of job opportunities for American programmers.  

American computer programmers are an endangered species in the US.  The number of computer-science students has fallen by 50 percent for many schools since its peak in the 1990s.  Therefore, the first step towards improving these statistics is to obviously increase the number of information technology programs in academia.  Subsequently, the second step is to motivate more and more students towards a degree in computer science.  In parallel, there needs to be a social shift with how IT programmers and developers are perceived.  They’re no longer the quiet people who get shoved in a corner to code all day long.  More and more are tasked with design, development, testing, project management and providing ultimately presentations to leadership.

Being an IT staffing company, we are constantly looking for U.S. programmer candidates and speak with a lot of frustrated hiring managers having trouble finding local programming talent.  Therefore, if you’re a solid IT programmer, then your phone should be ringing off the hook by IT recruiting companies Boston like us.