National Survey: American Businesses Struggling to Hire STEM Talent Due to Increasing Scarcity, Higher Costs and Government Fees

Feb 25, 2016, 11:00 ET from American Competitiveness Alliance (ACAlliance)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Competitiveness Alliance (ACAlliance), a coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing common-sense immigration policies, today released a national survey highlighting the increasing challenges businesses face when recruiting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and IT professionals, including scarcity of talent, climbing administrative and regulatory costs, and constricting wage pressures.

As a result of this scarcity, wages have steadily increased for high-paying, in-demand positions in STEM fields, with three in four executives reporting higher salaries for their STEM workers than in the previous five years. Further, many of these jobs go unfilled for weeks or even months due to the limited pool of qualified candidates and increasing costs associated with recruitment and retention of skilled employees. Subsequent economic pressures decrease productivity and limit expansion, negatively impacting the marketplace and hampering job growth.

The survey – conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group – analyzed responses from 400 hiring managers and executives from companies nationwide and found that:

  • 8 in 10 executives report their company is investing more in STEM recruiting as a result of IT hiring challenges;
  • 82 percent of business professionals report hiring a skilled foreign worker costs as much or more than hiring a U.S. worker;
  • 3 in 4 professionals say the costs associated with sponsoring and complying with the H-1B visa program are already too high for most American companies.

The recent doubling of H-1B visa fees for some employers is particularly troubling in light of these data. In December 2015, the U.S. Congress included a provision in the omnibus spending bill which increased the visa processing fee from $2,000 to $4,000 per application. Businesses without the resources to pay this and other increasing costs – typically, smaller, local businesses already struggling to compete against their larger rivals – will be hardest hit. Large businesses, meanwhile, may relocate operations outside the U.S., where a large base of skilled talent is readily available to ensure they remain globally competitive.

"These data make clear that we need a multi-faceted approach to tackling America's SKILLS gap," said Matthew Slaughter, Dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Academic Advisor for the American Competitiveness Alliance. "While a robust investment in STEM education will help our economy in the long-run, we clearly need policies from Washington that support growth, not slow it."

A 2013 Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report found that the U.S. is already on track to face a shortage of five million workers by the end of this decade, with nearly 80 percent of those positions requiring various levels of advanced education.

Additional details on the survey, the first of two to be released this year, can be found on the ACAlliance website at www.acalliance.org.

About the ACAlliance
The American Competitiveness Alliance (ACAlliance) is a coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing modern immigration policies that ensure America's global competitiveness through attracting and keeping talent here in the United States.

The ACAlliance is led by co-chairs former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.  The ACAlliance works to educate and inform stakeholders of the positive impact immigration reform can have on our economy, while cautioning against proposals that would do our economy harm. Visit us online at www.acalliance.org or follow us on Twitter: @AC_Alliance

CONTACT:  Elysa Montfort, 410-916-1369, elysa@acalliance.org

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SOURCE American Competitiveness Alliance (ACAlliance)



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