Friday, July 26, 2013

Computer Occupations & H-1B Report 2012

135,966 H-1B initial employment approvals in FY 2012
  • In 2012, the H-1B cap of 85,000 was exceeded by 53,446. 
  • 83,444(61.4%) of 135,966 initial employment approvals, in known occupations, went to Computer-related occupations
  • Another 924 employment approvals went to Occupations unknown for a total of  136,890 employment approvals. 


At the core of the temporary immigration problem is the static USCIS definition of the Specialty Occupation.  With a static definition of occupations that are open to temporary immigration, we can be assured that work authorizations will be wasted in occupations where they are unneeded, while industries having a genuine need will clamor for higher immigration rates .  Moreover, the temporary immigration programs are completely insensitive to occupational unemployment rates and current degree production.  Adding workforce capacity to occupations where employment levels are declining is –- flat stupid. 
USCIS still reports to Congress using the out of print Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), there is no way to crosswalk DOT occupational titles to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) titles because many titles did not exist at the DOT last printing in 1991. The Bureau of Labor Statistics abandoned the DOT in 1998.

The US now has the capability to determine if individual occupational levels are growing,  if growth in an occupation is stagnant or declining it would be a very trivial process to ‘close’ the occupation to temporary immigration, thus freeing up visas for occupations that are experiencing growth. 

The one year (occupation specific) temporary immigration hiatus would reduce unemployment costs, student loan defaults and home loan foreclosures because it would provide a one year period where employers would be motivated to hire from the unemployment roles if they wish to participate in the early stages of recovery from economic recession(s).

The Data:

The H-1B is a six year visa:  Computer Occupations data, prior six years.
Note: Continuing Employment  the second three year term of the H-1B, included is also one year extension for those awaiting adjustment of status  to PERM.

H-1B in Computer occupations (6 years)
Year Initial Employment Continuing Employment
2007 62,268 77,360
2008 58,074 78,936
2009 29,793 59,168
2010 31,661 59,141
2011 51,570 83,303
2012 83,444 71,425

Total H-1B 316,810 429,333

Employment Levels in Computer occupations
Computer Occupations 2007 3,101,160
Computer Occupations 2012 3,456,500

Total Employment growth 355,340
H-1B Initial Emp. Authorizations 316,810

Percent Employment Growth to H-1B 89.16%

Growth Share to Citizen and Perm Res. 38,530
Growth Share per yr. 4,816

We finally had a good year in employment growth for Computer Occupations. I was interested in seeing how this much growth could occur with the dire “shortage” IT personnel in the US.  There are a few problems that exist in the H-1B program that makes analyzing employment data more difficult than it needs to be.
  1. USCIS uses an occupation classification (DOT) that was abandoned in 1998, from the H-1B Characteristics reports we only get top level occupational data from Computer-related occupations.
  2. The DOT classification cannot be mapped to the Department of Labor’s NAICS, nor Dept. Ed. CIP classification systems 
  3. Some of the occupations within Computer occupations do not require a Bachelors degree and should not be open to H-1B
  4. H-1B allows part-time employment, the characteristics reports do not address this fact.
  5. H-1B is a six year temporary work authorization with single-year extensions for PERM applicants.
As we can see from the table above the H-1B temporary workers are not temporary and that the residual of employment growth available to US citizens and permanent residents has been less than 11% of employment growth.

If there is such a shortage of talent, where did all this talent come from?

Again, 2012 was a very good year for employment growth, as has happened in the past, the industry will shed many of these positions during the next recession, the lion-share of the H-1B will not return to their country of residence.

Computer Occupations Change 2011-12
Educational Requirement
Year Code Title Employment Associate Bachelors Postgraduate

2011 15-1111 Computer and Information Research Scientists 25,160

2012 15-1111 Computer and Information Research Scientists 24,880


2011 15-1121 Computer Systems Analysts 487,740

2012 15-1121 Computer Systems Analysts 482,040
2012 15-1122 Information Security Analysts 72,670

2011 15-1131 Computer Programmers 320,100

2012 15-1131 Computer Programmers 316,790

2011 15-1132 Software Developers, Applications 539,880

2012 15-1132 Software Developers, Applications 586,340

2011 15-1133 Software Developers, Systems Software 387,050

2012 15-1133 Software Developers, Systems Software 391,700

2011 15-1141 Database Administrators 108,500

2012 15-1141 Database Administrators 111,590

2011 15-1142 Network and Computer Systems Administrators* 341,800

2012 15-1142 Network and Computer Systems Administrators 350,320

2011 15-1150 Computer Support Specialists 632,490

2012 15-1151 Computer User Support Specialists 525,630 61,120

2012 15-1152 Computer Network Support Specialists 167,980

2011 15-1179 Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects 272,670

2012 15-1122 Information Security Analysts 72,670
2012 15-1134 Web Developers 102,940

2012 15-1143 Computer Network Architects 137,890

2011 15-1799 Computer Occupations, All Other* 177,630

2012 15-1199 Computer Occupations, All Other 185,730

3,456,500 61,120 175,310 -280

We know that 83,444 of the 175,030 H-1B eligible jobs were assumed by new H-1B holders, assuming that none of the remaining 91,586 were not taken by the tens of thousands of new L-1 Intracompany visa holders, could the US educational system provided these professionals?  If you use National Science
Foundation data, no, but if you use NCES data yes.

Citizenship (standardized): U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents Degrees/Awards Conferred by Race (NCES population of institutions) (Sum) Degrees/Awards Conferred by Race (NSF population of institutions) (Sum)
Academic Discipline, 6-digit Classification of Instructional Program (CIP)

11.0101 Computer and Information Sciences, General 16,579 16,263
11.0102 Artificial Intelligence 25 25
11.0103 Information Technology 11,114 7,416
11.0104 Informatics 340 340
11.0199 Computer Science, Other 245 242
11.0201 Computer Programming/Programmer, General 3,185 2,784
11.0202 Computer Programming Special Applications 793 723
11.0203 Computer Programming, Vendor/Product Certification 13 13
11.0299 Computer Programming, Other 40 16
11.0301 Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician 1,315 1,264
11.0401 Information Science/Studies 9,713 9,735
11.0501 Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst 1,774 1,627
11.0601 Data Entry/Microcomputer Applications, General 225 211
11.0602 Word Processing 5 5
11.0699 Data Entry/Microcomputer Applications, Other 2
11.0701 Computer Science 11,707 11,302
11.0801 Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design 4,157 3,138
11.0802 Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration 231 206
11.0803 Computer Graphics 2,389 1,544
11.0804 Modeling, Virtual Environments and Simulation 206 137
11.0899 Computer Software and Media Applications, Other 933 561
11.0901 Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications 13,470 8,220
11.1001 Network and System Administration/Administrator 3,284 2,562
11.1002 System, Networking, and LAN/WAN Management/Manager 725 570
11.1003 Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance 4,542 3,442
11.1004 Web/Multimedia Management and Webmaster 1,167 973
11.1005 Information Technology Project Management 154 128
11.1006 Computer Support Specialist 278 213
11.1099 Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management, Other 1,143 1,043
11.9999 Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Other 2,386 2,002
Total 92,140 76,705

Security concerns and unemployment samples (Current population Survey)

  • Unemployed Computer occupations Bachelor degree 125,000 (Q4 2012) 
  • Unemployed Computer occupations Some college, associate degree = 25,000 (Q4 2012) 
    • Actively seeking employment with experience in occupation
    • Legally, H-1B cannot remain in country long enough to be counted as unemployed

  Computer and Information Research Scientists: –280 (Postgraduate degree)

This occupation has been declining for years and is the only occupation in Computer Occupations that requires a postgraduate degree for entry, generally a Ph.D.
Unemployed: NA

Computer Systems and Information Security Analysts: 66,970 (Bachelors degree)

We can’t delineate how much growth was attributed to each of these occupations because the 2011 data did not provide that level of detail.  One might think that Information Security Analysts should be staffed by US citizens.
  • Unemployed: Computer systems analysts Q4 2012 = 17,000
  • Unemployed: Information security analysts Q4 2012 =  2,000

Computer Programmers: -3,310 (Bachelors degree)

Another occupation that has been declining for years.  Demand for hardware and Operating System level programming is on the decline.
  • Unemployed: Computer programmers Q4 2012 =22,000

Software Developers, Applications:  46,460 (Bachelors degree)

Applications developers are purported to be the hot occupation for H-1B non-immigrants. This occupation is not rocket science, generally beneath the talent level of Computer Programmers.  Demand for skills deteriorates rapidly as the industry adopts newer applications.

Software Developers, Systems Software: 4,650 (Bachelors degree)

These are the professionals who work much closer to the hardware and operating system level. 
These professionals could hide a “worm” in the firmware that would be very hard to discover.
  • Unemployed: Software developers, applications and systems software. Q3 2012 =  34,000

Database Administrators: 3,090 (Bachelors degree)

These are the professionals that have full access to sensitive data and control dissemination.
  • Unemployed: Database administrators Q4 2012 =  2,000

Network and Computer Systems Administrators: 8,520 (Bachelors degree)

Another high level access position, Edward Snowden was a Network Administrator.
  • Unemployed: Network and computer systems administrators Q4 2012 =  10,000

Computer Support Specialists: 61,120 (Some college)

These positions do not require a bachelors degree and should not be eligible for H-1B
  • Unemployment: Computer support specialists Q4 2012 =  25,000

Information Security Analysts, Web Developers,

and Computer Network Architects 40,830 (Bachelors degree)

Information Security Analysts and Computer Network Architects would have unique information concerning vulnerabilities of sensitive subsystems.
Unemployed: Q4 2012
  • Information security analysts ........................................ 2,000
  • Web developers .......................................................…... 7,000
  • Computer network architects ........................................ 2,000

Computer Occupations, All Other: 8,100 (Bachelors degree)

Various occupations with moderate degree levels of security level concerns.
  • Unemployment: Computer occupations, all other Q4 2012 = 9,000

Source Data:

Unemployment Rates: Table 3. Employed and experienced unemployed persons by detailed occupation and class of worker, Quarter IV 2012 (Source: Current Population Survey)

Employment Levels:  Office of Employment Statistics
National Science Foundation WebCASPAR (Educational Statistics)
H-1B Characteristics Reports “Reports and Studies

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