Debunking the H-1B hogwash: STEM grads are pouring out of U.S. colleges

Data giants like Facebook say we need more H-1B visas to fill U.S. STEM grad void -- but the numbers don't lie

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"What's more, two out of every three people who have a STEM degree are not working in a STEM field," he says. If there were a labor shortage, salaries would certainly have increased faster, and STEM graduates would be far more likely to hold jobs that are directly related to their education.

There are also indications that IT spending, which had been recovering nicely from the recession, may be slowing, which could affect the labor market as well. A new forecast by IDC predicts that worldwide IT spending will grow 4.9 percent this year in constant currency, down from the previous forecast of 5.5 percent growth and representing a slowdown from the 5.6 percent growth recorded in 2012. As you'd expect, the rapid deterioration of PC sales, the ongoing economic slowdown in the EU, and a shift away from traditional hardware and software to the cloud are responsible, says IDC analyst Stephen Minton.

That's not to say jobs are particularly scarce. They're not. As measured by Dice, the market for tech jobs isn't quite as hot as it was a year ago -- listings are down about 2 percent. But the current roster of full- and part-time jobs listed on Dice stands at 83,086, compared to 63,605 in May 2010, an increase of more than 30 percent.

What's hot in the labor market?
Dice surveyed nearly 900 hiring professionals and recruiters, asking which tech skills are the hardest to find in the labor market. They answered, in descending order: Java/J2EE/Java developer; mobile; .Net; software developer; security; SAP; SharePoint; Web developer; network engineers/networking; and cloud.

A check of the Dice database shows that actual openings don't altogether track with the results of the survey, but the list is reasonably close. The skills in highest demand are J2EE with 18,317 openings; software developer with 14,353; .Net with10,326; and SAP with 5,734.

Interestingly, in Dice's listing of the 13 skills in highest demand, SAP showed the largest decrease over the past year, dropping by 30 percent.

All in all, the latest report is a snapshot of a healthy labor market, but there's no evidence that the industry is facing a deficit of STEM graduates. These are important facts to keep in mind, as Congress and parts of the tech industry (hello, Mark Zuckerberg) beat the drums for higher H-1B quotas.

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This article, "Debunking the H-1B hogwash: STEM grads are pouring out of U.S. colleges," was originally published by Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.


Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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