Thursday, September 11, 2008

Employment Growth for College Grads

Table of BLS Employment growth over Population growth 1993 to present for persons with bachelor's degrees or higher.

By percentage, employment growth is worse now than in 2001. (click image to enlarge)

The reason I created the bachelor's degree eployment growth table was to question the percieved need for high-skill non-immigrant visas, which are averaging about 200,000 per year according to the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division.

Google source HTML format:

More detailed information is published on H-1B visas, here are some interesting notes on the H-1B visa that demonstrates over-subscription in computer-related occupations.

The National Science Foundation frames the problem:

Compared with natives, foreign-born individuals with advanced S&E degrees show no statistically significant salary differences when controlling for age, years since degree, and field of degree. At the bachelor’s degree level, foreign-born S&E degree holders still had a –6.3% salary differential.

At the doctoral level, the addition of occupation leaves no statistically significant difference between the salaries of underrepresented ethnic groups, compared with whites and Asians. For the foreign born, controlling for occupational characteristics actually moves differentials in a negative direction, suggesting that the [doctorate level] foreign born generally have better-paying occupations than natives.

In 2006, 51% of new H-1B recipients were in computer-related occupations, including 48% in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services occupational category of "occupations in systems analysis and programming," which includes many S&E occupations, such as computer scientist, and technician occupations, such as programmer. This actually represents an increase in recent years (from a low of 25% in 2002) in the proportion of new H-1B visas going to computer-related occupations.

In 2006, 44% of those receiving new H-1B visas in computer-related occupations had master’s degrees, and a little more than 1% had doctoral degrees. Over two-thirds of the slightly more than 110,000 recipients of H-1B visas in 2006 are in S&T occupations Education Levels.

In FY 2006, 57% of [all] new H-1B visa recipients had advanced degrees, including 41% with master’s degrees, 5% with professional degree, and 11% with doctorates.

The NSF publication tells us that H-1B computer-related occupations:

...that computer-related occupations accounted for 51% of 110,000 H-1B visas in 2006.

...have a higher rate of non-postgraduates (bachelorate level or lower) than the H-1B program as a whole. (54% to 43% respectively)

...that H-1B non-postgraduate holders are concentrated in computer-related occupations due to very high subscription levels.

...that computer-related H-1Bs with masters degrees earned $400.00 less than those with bachelor degrees. See table:

...that all foreign born S&E workers with only a bachelors degrees earn 6.3% less than Americans.

Obviously, the computer-related H-1B is oversubscribed at the bachelor degree level. If we could get USCIS to deny computer-related H-1B visas at the bachelor degree level. 35,100 of the 65,000 H-1B visa cap would be available to more qualified migrants.

American students at a disadvantage:

Many countries provide free K-16 education while America provides K-12, most Americans carry student loan debt for simple undergrad degrees. The foreign student assumes debt for postgraduate education at a higher "out of state" tuition level -- the colleges are financially motivated to place the higher paying foreign students in postgraduate programs.

The American postgraduate carries six years of student loan debt while many migrant postgraduate workers carry two years of student loan debt. If the American student can get into the postgraduate program in the fist place.

Foreign workers at a disadvantage:

Dual-intent non-immigrant employment visas have over-subscribed the EB PERM green card program. Effectively, the brightest and the best are competing for permanent residency with minimally qualified practitioners.

The better solution is to eliminate the H-1B and L-1 and only allow single year B-1 installation and training visas for temporary workers. Use the Employment-based visa program to the job it was designed to do -- filter employment based admissions by educational level and provide a reasonable (5 year) probationary period for citizenship.

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