Skilled Job Shortages, Accelerated Technology Heighten Foreign Demand

April 29th, 2013 | by Morris Beschloss | Comments

With high-tech jobs requiring the greatest demand ever in the rapidly-changing U.S. economy, while sophisticated computer technology evolves into the even more complex cyber-science, it’s no wonder that scores of U.S. companies are competing for the 65,000 foreign student job openings available through the immigration and naturalization services.

Each year on April 1, domestic corporations can sponsor this number of prospects, as long as they have graduated with a collegiate bachelor’s degree. In addition, this so-called H-1B visa program allocates an additional 20,000 visas each year to foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. The effective hiring date would be October 1, the start of the next U.S. fiscal year. With the shortage of such advanced education, especially in the areas of all types of engineering, these openings were quickly filled this year shortly after the availability door was opened in April.

The speed with which these jobs were quickly filled is further proof that the fast-growing need for those with such levels of expertise is becoming more severe. It’s common knowledge that both China and India graduate far more engineers than the U.S. But even so, in past years, students from the fast-developing Southeast Asian developing nations had previously chosen to return to their homelands, which, until recently, experienced urgent needs for such levels of collegiate expertise.

However, this year, the U.S. is rebounding from a two-year skilled job demand drought, while most of the rest of the developed world is suffering from a slowdown. This has allowed their indigenous domestic graduating classes to be sufficient for now. The last time this relative shortage of U.S.-based foreign college graduates occurred was in 2008, just before the panic button hit the world economy. But with the global industry deflating in the wake of the two-year global financial crash, there was little need for foreign graduates in their home markets.

But now, absorption of foreign grad students may turn out to be inadequate, as the previously described top of the line skilled jobs are in far greater demand. It’s a reflection of most companies upgrading their manufacturing facilities, technology, and back offices to restructure their systems to match the evolution of an internal infrastructure to optimize productivity and stay in step with systems evolution.

This sets up the paradox of less hands-on employees being required, while top of the line skills openings are going begging. It will further require a much more intensive job-training programs, through a combination of colleges, businesses, and government working together to close the contemporary gap, which is currently widening.

A further paradox may also be in a state of evolution, as a new jolt of “Buy American” by American users, as well as some foreign buyers, manifests itself. This budding opportunity could be lost if domestic U.S. capability is not prepared to absorb this timely set of circumstances.

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