By Tim Sackett
Everyone is taking their side on President-elect Trump. Regardless of the side you take, if you’re in talent acquisition and you’re hiring technical talent, right now is a scary time! During the campaign, Trump spoke out about how we are hiring legal immigrants in the United States and the need for this policy to be better.
What does “better” mean? That’s what is scary!
It’s important to remember that Trump is a businessman first, or so he would like us to believe. He never said he will eliminate H-1B hiring. What he has said is that he feels U.S. companies should be paying both U.S. workers and H-1B workers the same competitive wage, vowing to “end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program” — possibly leading to significant changes to the program such as increasing the prevailing wage requirements and/or mandating a labor market test.
Now, we all love to believe that because there is a shortage of technical talent, the only option we have is to either hire H-1B talent or offshore. But, there are actually other options. You could spend a ton of money training your own workforce in the same skills. Not realistic, but an option. I think Trump believes this is more doable than reality.
For some positions that are being filled by H-1B workers, this could be somewhat true. For most positions being filled right now by H-1B workers, we know this is a pipedream. Our reality is that the worker demographics are shifting so fast in the United States that even if we spent considerably more money training U.S. citizens, this problem is getting worse very fast.
Part of the solution is hiring foreign nationals to help fill the gaps we currently have in the U.S. workforce at very specialized and specific skill levels. At a very high level, business owners, executives and economists get this fact. These are the people who have Trump’s ear, so our hope is that business will ‘Trump’ politics in this case!
I can’t imagine Trump meeting with some of the giant U.S. company leaders, all of whom use H-1B talent, and not listening to them and helping them meet their needs as employers. Will there be some negotiation? I wouldn’t expect less from Trump! He’ll scratch your back if you scratch his.
What’s Trump’s itch? American jobs. American jobs that have been shipped overseas. He wants to be the president that brings back American jobs. So, as HR pros we can expect a few things. First, get ready to figure out how to start ‘on-shoring’ some more employees! Second, continue to advocate to your highest executives the need to maintain and expand the H-1B program for tech talent.
Trump wants to help American workers and grow the middle class. He also wants to help American companies be very successful. H-1B workers are a critical part of the success of so many American companies, and I believe President-elect Trump, his cabinet and those leaders running American companies will ensure this program gets better.
Tim Sackett is the president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and IT supplemental staffing firm that works with leading organizations. Tim advocates for transparent communication and is passionate about workplace culture and organizational values.