Longwell estimates that "maybe 30 percent of IT organizations are offshoring some -- and only some -- app development work," he said. "This is substantial, and offshoring is certainly having an impact on programmers," he said.
Low inflation, sluggish economic growth, and improving productivity "are important factors in restraining U.S. wages in general, including IT wages," said Longwell.
The EPI report was written as a counterpoint to Microsoft's report (report PDF) urging Congress to make more work visas available.
Microsoft is proposing that companies pay the government $10,000 for H-1B visas in a new 20,000 annual visa pool for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grads. It also asked for setting aside 20,000 green cards annually at $15,000 each.
The company argues that there remains a skill shortage, and it cites shortfalls in computer science degree production nationally, as well as its own experience. Microsoft says, in its report, that the U.S. economy is producing 120,000 additional computing jobs that will require at least a bachelor's degree, but there are only about 40,000 bachelor degrees awarded annually.
That looks like a clear gap, but EPI report author Daniel Costa, an attorney and immigration policy analyst at the policy research firm, said that less than one-fourth to less than one-half of workers in computing occupations will have a computer science degree.
If there was a shortage of skilled workers, it should show up in employment statistics and Microsoft argues that it does. It points to an unemployment rate of 3.4 percent for people in computer-related occupations. It cites the problem it is has to fill its own job openings to make the point.
But the EPI report argues that for computer-related workers, particularly those with college degrees, the actual full-employment unemployment rate is closer to 2 percent.
"As of 2011, the unemployment rate of college-educated STEM workers was still 3.4 percent -- more than double the 1.4 percent rate it stood at immediately preceding the recession that began in late 2007," wrote Costa.
Contrary to Microsoft's claim, Costa wrote that "there are too many educated, experienced STEM workers who are trying to find a job; there is not a shortage of them."
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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