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Microsoft Businesses

Did Gates Fib About H1-B Salaries? 345

Posted by kdawson
from the little-white-ones dept.
netbuzz writes "While in Washington last year lobbying for higher H1-B visa limits, Bill Gates told David Broder of the Washington Post that Microsoft starts such workers at about $100,000. An analysis by one offshoring critic suggests that's not true. If his analysis is correct, it would undermine part of the case for lifting H1-B ceilings.
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Did Gates Fib About H1-B Salaries?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Are you telling me that Bill Gates lied to the population about their situation? And we gobbled it up?

    Bill Gates: computer scientist, marketer, business man, philanthropist ... politician?

    Who would have thought the term Renaissance Man [wikipedia.org] could have such negative connotations?
    • by kimvette (919543) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:44PM (#17937020) Homepage Journal
      No kidding. I'm shocked -- shocked that Microsoft execs would lie about anything like this.

      Now I wonder about Vista - will it really rock my world? Is it really more secure than Linux? Now I'm not so sure Microsoft was telling the truth about that either. ;)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:47PM (#17937058)
        "Now I wonder about Vista - will it really rock my world?"

        If by 'rock' you mean a short form of 'rock and roll' which was a euphamism for sex, then yeah, you're f**ked
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:55PM (#17937156) Journal

        will it really rock my world?
        From a subjective standpoint, your world rocks if you stand on an unstable platform. So, I think the answer to that might be 'yes.'
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        > shocked that ... execs would lie about anything like this

        <insert well-known HomelessinLaJolla typical political spiel here>

        Even I am beginning to grow weary of reading about the thousands of different ways in which the population is being controlled by one single issue: debt.

        What we need is a really messy revolution. Automobiles can be restored from scratch. I can build Linux from scratch [linuxfromscratch.org] since about version 2.2. I've dissected and analyzed the inner working of world politics for six or seven
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "I'll be more than happy to restructure this world properly..."

          Well, I've been volunteering myself for the post of 'Benevolent Dictator'...a post to last about 2 years, in which I can start by throwing out all current members of both houses of congress...and start anew...and changing some laws to avoid letting money become the horrible necessity it is now to run....and to fix a few other things.

          I'd step down shortly after that...and let things go on their own again. However, no one has taken me up on th

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Darby (84953)
            Well, I've been volunteering myself for the post of 'Benevolent Dictator'...a post to last about 2 years, in which I can start by throwing out all current members of both houses of congress...and start anew...and changing some laws to avoid letting money become the horrible necessity it is now to run....and to fix a few other things.

            My solution which is unworkable, inhuman, incompatible with a free society, and unlikely to make things great although I'm convinced it would make things better is:

            Take every of
      • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @04:07PM (#17938158) Homepage
        Vista made me go "Wow". I went "Wow, I've gotta get me a Mac".
  • by cpearson (809811) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:15PM (#17936612) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be easier for microsft to move to India than to move India here?

    Vista Help Forum [vistahelpforum.com]
  • by Vengeance (46019) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:15PM (#17936616)
    Face facts: To Bill Gates, 10K a year IS pretty close to 100K. Sheerest poverty.
  • Well duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:16PM (#17936630)
    Of course Bill wants to import workers so he can pay them the same money he'd have to pay native-born workers. Duh!
    • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:46PM (#17937046)
      I am a Microsoft manager. The salaries paid for H1-B employees is exactly the same as those paid anyone else. It is not legal to do otherwise. For every H1-B employee I hire, I have to provide a salary comparison against non H1-B employees at that same skill/job level for the government that shows we are not underpaying the H1-B employees. The issue is absolutely finding enough qualified people for the jobs that are available. There are a number of reasons that jobs cannot be filled without the H1-B visas. These include people don't want to work for MS, don't want to relocate, don't like job, don't like salary, etc.

      Gates may not have the exact salary numbers (I'd say the average today is more like $90k base, definitely > $100k w/ bonus). The alternative (which is happening as well) is to hire the employees in their home countries and pay them 1/3 as much and not have that money returned to the local US economy.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        So you're saying you'd have to pay H1-Bs the same as non H1-Bs, but you can't find any non H1-Bs willing to work for the salary you want?

        If that is one of the reasons, then very well could mean that non H1-Bs are finding plenty of work that you're offering for well above the price that you want for it.

      • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:01PM (#17937258) Homepage Journal
        The issue is absolutely finding enough qualified people for the jobs that are available.

        If that's the issue- and I hate to sound like a broken record, but I've posted this in EVERY freakin' H-1b story on slashdot- why not take UNQUALIFIED PEOPLE, and then pay for their traing so that they can fill the jobs that are available? Wouldn't that be cheaper than getting people from half a world away?
        • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by InferiorFloater (34347) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:55PM (#17938000)
          What the hell?

          So instead of looking for the best talent globally, a company should *pay* for a worker who may not have the inclination or drive to master his profession?

          I'm no Republican, but if that's not the road to a stagnant country where entitlements are expected then I don't know what is.

          My girlfriend is on an h1b for architecture; she's from Japan. She's also the hardest, most driven worker her company has, and they offered her ridiculous amounts of money (for architecture) during her review because she's such an asset. They didn't hire her because she's cheaper, they hired her because she's good.

          I can't think of a faster way to torpedo the American character than the parent's idea.
          • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ENOENT (25325) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @04:37PM (#17938594) Homepage Journal
            So it's un-American to not have 10 years .NET experience?

            Most job descriptions for ANY tech company are overly specific, requiring experience with particular technologies that a reasonably skilled programmer can learn in a few weeks at most. And that's what HR departments use when they're screening resumes. Is it any wonder that they can't find the workers they want?
      • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:35PM (#17937730)

        These include people don't want to work for MS, don't want to relocate, don't like job, don't like salary, etc.

        Supply and demand says that you are just simply not offering enough to make it worth someone's while. Offer the right amount and you will have absolutely no problem finding the people locally. All you are doing here is increasing the supply to dilute the value of the job. I can't blame you for wanting to do so, but it would be nice if you would least acknowledge the fact instead of trying to pass the blame on to the workers who you aren't willing to compensate.
      • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:55PM (#17938002) Homepage Journal
        No, the GP is right. The fact that you pay native workers the same means that you are reducing US worker salary to the H1B level. But either way, you're paying the H1B less than you'd pay an American if the program didn't exist.

        There's no such thing as "not enough qualified people". There's only "not enough qualified people for the amount we wish to pay." If you raised what you offered, you get the people you ned. If you competitors did the same, more people would enter/stay in the profession.

        But only if you discount offshoring...

        Once you factor offshoring into the mix, the question becomes whether the jobs move overseas until the US salaries drop to the overseas salaries plus transaction costs.

        So -- the CEOs are right: we do need and H1B program. But not for the reasons they state. Politically, they can't say "give us this program or we'll move our jobs to India," politically it would be seen as blackmail. Tariffs and taxes would be up overnight.

        This is not just an academic distinction. The rationale you have determines the kind of program you create. If you want to depress salaries, you have a program like what we have now. Invite 'em over for a few years, then kick them out of the country when they've achieved seniority, creating knowledge transfer to places with lower salaries ripe for offshoring.

        If you want to prevent jobs going overseas, you invite people over here and encourage them to stay as long as they want; you just don't let in more new inexperienced workers and kick the experienced ones out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rageon (522706)
        Comments like these drive me insane. There aren't enough qualified people for the jobs that are available? Bull. I was the best programmer in my graduating undergrad class. I looked for a job for 18 months, living on money I made from DJ'ing frickin' wedding dances before giving up and going to law school. There are people out there -- talented people -- willing to work. Give one of them a shot before crying about being able to hire more foreign help.
        • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Funny)

          by aclute (94263) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @04:22PM (#17938380)
          I was the best programmer in my graduating undergrad class

          The tallest midget in the circus is still a midget.
      • by melted (227442) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:05PM (#17939020) Homepage
        And here's how this works, folks. They go to Eastern Europe and elsewhere and hire cream of the crop to entry level positions. You see, Microsoft has a system of "levels" according to which salaries and benefits are allocated. Typical starting level is 59. You can hire an average US college grad to that level (good ones go to Google these days), or you can go to, say, Moscow and hire a highly qualified, top notch software engineer with a few years of experience who has no opportunity to interview with Google first and whose negotiation skills equate to those of a squirrel. Who would you rather hire for your $70K? And you can keep L59 foreigner at 59 for much longer than a native, because his H1B process will only _start_ a year after he begins his employment and will take a few years (6 years and counting for some folks), during which moves are risky.

        Now the thing is, both US college grad and experienced H1-B will be at the same starting level and will be paid the same wage. This DOES NOT mean they'll be doing the same job. There's a shortage of experienced folks, so the guy with experience will be doing things that require experience, when college grad will be doing something else. H1-B is therefore paid below the market wage for what he's doing (but not for his level). This, coupled with slower promotion rate puts him at a huge disadvantage. Given that promotion velocity is capped no matter how hard you bust your ass, you may never reach higher levels because you started lower and were promoted slower.

        This is fully within the constraints of law, and not everyone ends up like this. I was in this situation and so were many of my H1-B coworkers.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:22PM (#17936734) Journal
    Mr Gates is also very much removed from reality and he merely parrots what he is told. Look at his comments about "OpenOffice taking for ever to open documents", or his engineers "breaking Mac/Apple security every day", etc. You will realize his role is something akin to a PR man burnishing the nameplate of Microsoft. He does not manage the company. Not its sales force, does not provide any technical or visionary leadership. He is just the brand-ambassador-in-chief.

    He meets politicians and tells them whatever his acolytes ask him to tell them. He would go to India and tell exactly the opposite story. Go look at Indian websites oooohing aaahhing his compliments and how much he is going to invest in India and how important R&D done in India is to Microsoft.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tomstdenis (446163)
      Which makes me question his motives. If he's so far removed from the technical realities of the world (let's face it, he supports Vista...) why even bother? Cash out, live the life of luxory and do whatever the hell you want.

      Tom
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:01PM (#17937260) Journal
        To be honest, I'd be surprised if even Bill knows what his motives are anymore. Once you have enough money that you never need to work again to buy whatever you want, including small countries, the number of goals you can shoot for becomes quite small. As I see it the only real goal that isn't completely trivial is power, in the 'reshape the world as you wish sense.' This only really works, however, if you have a clear vision of how the world should be. From what I've seen, Bill doesn't. Someone like Steve Jobs or Richard Stallman does, and so I'm quite glad neither of them have Bill Gate's money (although Steve Jobs is pretty well off...) since I'm not sure I'd like to live in the world that either of them would create.
        • by westlake (615356)
          This only really works, however, if you have a clear vision of how the world should be. From what I've seen, Bill doesn't.

          I beg to differ:

          "I know what I want to do," [Warren Buffet] said, "and it makes sense to get going." On that spring day his plan was uncertain in some of its details; today it is essentially complete. And it is typical Buffett: rational, original, breaking the mold of how extremely rich people donate money.

          Buffett has pledged to gradually give 85% of his Berkshire stock to five foun

        • Bill's goals (Score:3, Interesting)

          by metamatic (202216)
          Well, to me the interesting thing about Bill Gates is how pathetic his goals seem to be; or how limited the execution is compared to his apparent resources and abilities.

          If I had Bill's money, I'd be funding a mission to Mars, building supercolliders, or something like that that would actually go down in history. Bill, on the other hand... he built himself a big house, lent money to people, and then gave the interest they paid back to charity; plus he made a few tiny (1% of net worth scale) donations himsel
      • by walt-sjc (145127)
        live the life of luxory (sic) and do whatever the hell you want.

        You mean he's not doing that now???
        • He shows up to work. Even if he only works 1 hour a week it's more than I'd want to think of.

          Think about your youth when you had the summer off, unstructured, went where your bike would take you. Replace bike with car/private jet and you get the idea.

          I'd be off doing endlessly long trips, seeing every nook and cranny of the planet. Screw being in one location, tied to an office, saying things I don't really believe...

          Tom
      • It's not that simple. A lot of people think that because he owns X shares of MS, and a share is currently trading at Y, he has $X*Y. That's not true. For the founder and long-time head to quit, and to sell ~10% of the shares would significantly depress the value. Remember, as an insider he must report his sales, which could trigger a selloff. He might finish with a mere $50 million.
        • OMG only 50 million? How will he live!!!

          I'm sure that if he gracefully bowed out and said "fuck you world I'm rich biatch!" they'd keep handing fist over fist of cash to MSFT just like they ar e now.

          Tom
        • Huh? He's near retirement. Cashing out will lower the share price of course. But he's worth $53B. Are you seriously trying to claim that Bill Gates retiring and selling off some of his stock (not that he'd need to) as part of this would lower his net worth a thousand-fold???
      • by guruevi (827432)
        But that's his biggest problem, he can't just cash out whenever he wants, that would wreck MSFT and leave him short on a whole lot of dough. Most of Bill Gates' wealth is invested or IS MSFT stock. Sure he has billions of dollars, but if you take away the stock in MSFT (he holds approx. $24 Billion of that) you will see the problem. If you sell that much stock in a short time (a few days), the stock will probably crash.

        How does Bill Gates change a light bulb? He doesn't. He just declares darkness the new in
        • He doesn't have to WORK for msft to own stock there.

          He could easily cash out a few million a YEAR and still live a life devoid of the 9-5 office and heartless corporate shilling.

          Tom
  • market rates change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gogodoit (512826) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:23PM (#17936756) Homepage
    What's not said in the article is that market rates change. Typically market rates go up (and I'd argue that they are up quite a bit right now). The greencard application process takes some time, and rates likely change in that time. If the greencard takes 2 years to apply for, and it's in process, then those H1-Bs don't want to change jobs and restart the application process. These aren't typical highly-mobile employees: they don't want to change jobs because the application process starts all over again. So, salaries of H1-B employees are likely to be considerably lower than current market rates.

    From another perspective, Gates is saying that current market rates are ~100k. This is about right for mid-level software engineers with 2-4 years of experience, in that area.

    It's not the same as looking at H1-B applications and trying to figure current rates, as they will reflect market conditions from 1-4 years ago (depending on when the H1-B process started for that individual).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by minus_273 (174041)
      "So, salaries of H1-B employees are likely to be considerably lower than current market rates."

      That is illegal. An H1B MUST be paid the market rate. No doing so is the same as hiring an illegal worker.
      • by Detritus (11846)
        So is emigrating from Mexico to the United States without a visa.

        I've seen large corporations intentionally violate labor laws on a regular basis. Many corporate executives consider them to be mere suggestions, that only need to be obeyed when the corporation is presented with a serious threat of legal action.

      • That is illegal. An H1B MUST be paid the market rate. No doing so is the same as hiring an illegal worker.

        So what if it is illegal? There is zero money in the federal budget for enforcement, busting a company for underpaying H1-B's is nearly impossible the way the system is set up. Everybody involved knows this, especially the people in each company that are in charge of paying the H1-B's.
    • by Scorchio (177053) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:45PM (#17937028)
      Yeah, an H1-B application includes a Labor Condition Application (LCA), part of which specifies that the salary that will be paid is at least the mean salary for one year of experience for the specific occupation and geographic location, at time of application. I didn't see any explanation of when or where these figures were from.
    • by Krater76 (810350) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:47PM (#17937054) Journal
      From another perspective, Gates is saying that current market rates are ~100k. This is about right for mid-level software engineers with 2-4 years of experience, in that area.

      Is it the mid-90s again? That's the only possibility if someone is making that much with only 2-4 years experience. And 100k+, even in an expensive city as Seattle, is still awesome money.

      The simple fact is that I've know many people, some very qualified and some not so much, who applied to MS and didn't get so much as a second look. I've known 1 person who's been hired, and he was very young (just turned 22 at the time) and very arrogant.

      I think if you want to work for MS you need to be young, show that all you care about is working long hours at the expense of your social life, and be an asshole. They like assholes who know it all. That's why there's a lot of shit that get spewed from Redmond. If you're a foreigner it's even better because they can pay you more than you'd get in your own country but less than a resident and you'll probably work very long hours because you're just happy to be making 'the big bucks'!
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by gogodoit (512826)
        > Is it the mid-90s again? That's the only possibility if someone is making that much with only 2-4
        > years experience. And 100k+, even in an expensive city as Seattle, is still awesome money.

        Nope, it's 2007, 8 years later, with 8 years of inflation behind it. $100k/year is no longer special. At the same time, the 'Net is hot again, and people are hiring all over, which adds to wage hikes.

        Come on boys and girls, it's time to find a new job (if you're mobile, and not an H1-B that is)!

        Age discriminatio
      • Geez, get a clue.

        Microsoft's benefits and freebies for employees are probably the best in the industry, if not ANY industry. What you said about age could not be more false, especially in the programming ranks. Sure, there are lots of kids, but Microsoft is smart enough to know that kids need supervision.

        Just because nobody in your circle made the cut doesnt mean a thing. I suggest your 'friends' just get a bit smarter, quicker, whatever, and try again.

        The key to getting a job at Microsoft is not to j

      • $100k is about £50K in pounds sterling, which is about the starting salary for someone with a PhD entering Microsoft Research. It's quite tempting, but I somehow don't think I could bring myself to work for Microsoft even for that much money (add a zero on the end, and I might think about compromising, although largely because I'm almost certainly not worth that much as an employee so it would just be a way of preventing them from spending the money effectively).
        • by westlake (615356)
          It's quite tempting, but I somehow don't think I could bring myself to work for Microsoft even for that much money (add a zero on the end, and I might think about compromising

          if that's the attitude you bring to the interview, you won't have to worry about being offered the job---even if it came with the extra zero attached to it.

    • Boo. I have about four years of experience, a degree, and make only a little more than half that. You are telling me that if I move to the Washington area I can double my pay? Where do I sign up?

      Incidentally, thanks for crushing my current pride and sense of satisfaction :-(
    • From another perspective, Gates is saying that current market rates are ~100k. This is about right for mid-level software engineers with 2-4 years of experience, in that area.

      Only if he's putting in 70-80 hours per week!

      I work in one of the highest-salaried markets in the US, and nobody I know in the tech sector is making six figures unless they're in management, have 10+ years of experience relevant to the position, or both. I doubt the situation is much different anywhere else.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:30PM (#17936844) Homepage Journal
    Business Week [businessweek.com] is running a story about how the H1-B visa is ACTUALLY being used, and it seems it is used much more often than not to act as a conduit to offshore outsourcing, ie get the Indians or whoever over to the US, train them at a crappy salary(comparatively) and then send them home. While some firms certainly are using the visas to get foreign talent to the US, they are being crowded out by body dumpers. One suggestion proffered by the article is to only let US companies get H1Bs.
  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:35PM (#17936908)
    TFA says the median is $71,000. Given the nature of salary distributions, the arithmetic mean is likely to be higher. How about full disclosure? Give us a graph.

    Also, TFA cites green card applications, not green card grants.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:42PM (#17936996)
    I know it's completely against the bizarro-world mentality you folks have to even consider this, but wasn't the original quote related by a third party? I know...crazy.
  • Say, H1-Bs are required for cutting costs; and not due to lack of talent in the US. Even then...
    1. No H1-B, means higher costs for US Companies
    2. US Companies compete locally (inside US), and globally with Global Companies
    3. So US Companies' have a higher cost of product development or software services, compared to those from outside (which employ cheaper labor)
    4. ....
    5. ....
    6. Profit! (BUT HOW??!!)

    An alternative is to ship most of the development or services lifecycle outside, so that H1-Bs are not needed
    • by Scorchio (177053)
      But the law requires that H1-Bs be paid the same as their native peers. Add on the legal and possible relocation costs, I don't see how hiring H1-Bs cuts costs, other than reaping the rewards of hiring the best and the brightest from overseas.
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      You have an interesting point, but may I point out something to think about here?

      > Say, H1-Bs are required for cutting costs; and not due to lack of talent in the US. Even then...
      > 1. No H1-B, means higher costs for US Companies
      This is only true under a small group of circumstances.

      > 2. US Companies compete locally (inside US), and globally with Global Companies

      > 3. So US Companies' have a higher cost of product development or software services, compared to
      > those >from outside (which empl
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wtansill (576643)

      An alternative is to ship most of the development or services lifecycle outside, so that H1-Bs are not needed anymore. This is even worse for the US, isn't it? The money wouldn't even get spent in the US. That is, "offshoring" or "bangaloring"

      • Firstly, the H1-B program is not supposed to be about reducing costs -- its only justification is that it is supposed to allow employers to hire talent unavailable locally at any price. If curtailing the H1-B program leads to outsourcing more jobs, I'd say that tha
    • by rlp (11898)
      The alternative is to allow people with the technical credentials to immigrate to the US. That way they are not beholden to a single employer. They compete on a level playing field with US citizens and permanent residents (same salary level and living costs). They have the chance to become citizens (and keep their skills here). And if they are at all entrepreneurial (and anyone would pick up and move to another country is someone willing to take risks) - they could end up starting a company that creates
    • H-1b money doesn't get spent in the US anyway for the most part- anything above bare standard of living gets sent home so that other people in your family can live off it, just like the Mexicans on H-2A visas.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:50PM (#17937094)
    When I first read that, I was as outraged as the rest of you, but if you think about it from his perpective, he's probably right.

    When he says $100K, he's probably thinking salary+ health care + 401K + taxes. When you add that up on an average individual employee, you get to $100K pretty easily.

    The difference is that when we read $100K, we assume salary only. I know lots of people working at MSFT, none of whom are making that much even after 5+ years there. Unless they are paying their H1-B's more, he's either thinking in terms of total compensation package or...he's just plain lying.

    Honestly though, he may not actually know -- why would he care about an operational detail like that at this point in his career?
  • by mikael (484) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:53PM (#17937120)
    Bill Gates told David Broder of the Washington Post that Microsoft starts such workers at about $100,000


    The supply agency charges a company like Microsoft an hourly rate equivalent of $100,000 /year. The agency then takes 60% of this as commission, and the H1-B applicant gets the remaining $40,000.

  • by LibertineR (591918) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:56PM (#17937168)
    When I left Microsoft, the going base rate for new hires averaged $85K. Add stock options to that, and you easily top $100K in overall costs. Even though Microsofts stock packages are nowhere near as generous as they used to be, when then made the change they also increased base salaries.

    So, as hard as it might be for some of you to stomach, Gates is telling the truth. These are not Janitors Microsoft is hiring, but highly trained, highly sought after individuals, regardless of country of origin.

    Deal with it.

  • Those MCSE commercials I hear all the time...
  • It must depend on your definition of the word "about". Is $70 about $100? Is $70k about $100k?

    I am not defending Bill Gates, that's just wrong...ewwwww. But, did he state that ALL H-1B's start at about $100k? If some start in a $90k - $100k range, some start in the $80k to $90k range, and the rest are below $80k is it a lie to say they start at about $100k? I dunno. I'm back to, "It depends on your definition of 'about'."
  • by dsurber (53971)
    It doesn't matter if Microsoft is paying H1B workers $100,000 a year.

    Economic growth since early 2000, when the Dow reached its previous peak, hasn't been exceptional. But after-tax corporate profits have more than doubled, because workers' productivity is up, but their wages aren't -- and because companies have dealt with rising health insurance premiums by denying insurance to ever more workers."
    --NY Times [nytimes.com]

    Compared to the cost of living and worker productivity, workers in the US have not benefited from

  • by travdaddy (527149) <travo@l[ ]xmail.org ['inu' in gap]> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:17PM (#17937500)
    Bill Gates responded by saying, "I always tell the truth... even when I lie."
    • Garak: I've given you all the answers I'm capable of.
      Bashir: You've given me answers all right, but they were all different.
      Garak: My dear doctor, they're all true.
      Bashir: Even the lies?
      Garak: Especially the lies.
  • It doesn't make any difference whether H1-B workers are paid less than American workers when they come to the US. Why? Because they will be competing with US workers no matter where they are.

    If they can't come to the US on H1-B visas, companies like Microsoft will simply grow their overseas research labs further. That way, the US loses the talent, loses the tax revenue, and US workers will have to compete against people paid even less. So, capping H1-B visas will cause high-tech companies to move elsewh
  • former H1B here... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BalkanBoy (201243) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:26PM (#17937638)
    To Bill Gates' point - H1B's that get hired by U.S. companies are required to pay the prevailing wage for the profession the H1B is being hired in, for the region they reside in. I immigrated into the U.S. via the H1B route (I'm a citizen now and I also did my undergraduate in CS here), and have been able to verify that the prevailing wage was indeed paid to me while I was an H1B.

    There is also another law that states that no more than 15% of your workforce can be H1-B based. This law is meant to protect U.S. citizens from being displaced by H1-B's and to assure that only really critical roles can be filled with H1-B workers. No one is going to hire an HR person on an H-1B (well unless they are super critical in an HR-kind of way to the company).

    Another noteworthy thing to mention is, prevailing wage != FMV (fair market value) wage, at least in my experience. This difference between the two may amount to _some_ savings, but I doubt it is as significant as, let's say, hiring a foreign Indian worker in India at 1/2 or less the salary.

    Speaking of hiring offshore - this may or may not prove to be a value added proposition - if you have some seriously senior, super-technical project managers who can divvy up a project into many well-defined/well-bounded specific tasks (e.g. write code for login/logout procedures for a webapp based on Tomcat, using JAAS as the authentication/mechanism, task #2, integrate JAAS with Active Directory on Windows Server, etc.), delegating these tasks to off-shore people, it could work. But this only works in a mature environment like Microsoft probably. It could work in smaller companies too, but it's much riskier, and it could inhibit the company's growth.

    Offshoring is overrated. Hiring local, U.S. talent as well as H1B is much better value. Well, that's my opinion anyway, and I'm sticking to it ;) (for now).
  • That about right for an experienced non-dumbass in the inflated Seattle metro area. It's about as expensive as the SF Bay Area now. He might be padding his stats by including some benefits. And I'd guess MS has a better track record than most about paying H1Bs more or less the same as the natives.

  • With a population of 298 million, there isn't a job description Microsoft can concoct which a single American can't fill.
  • In the quotation, Gates says "salaries for these jobs at Microsoft start at about $100,000 a year. Their counterparts can be hired more cheaply in China or India..." This implies to me that domestic hirees are paid around $100K initially, and that those hired through a visa program cost less. Has Mister Oak misread the quotation or is he purposefully misrepresenting it?
  • H1-B person here.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by locokamil (850008) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @04:08PM (#17938164) Homepage
    Started with a major software company out of college, five months ago. Salary: $95000. No, I'm not a genius, and no I'm not an exception. Five CS people (out of 10) in my graudating class were hired at the same rate by comparable companies. And before you ask, the other five aren't unemployed: they're in grad school. Not because they couldn't find anything else, but because they wanted to go.

    My advice to unemployed US programmers: quit whining. If you aren't getting these jobs, you aren't qualified for them. Get your qualifications, get the experience, and compete with the best. It's what I had to do, and after watching the H1-B flamewar for the last five years, I still don't see why Americans think the global economy-- yes, it's global, accept it-- should go any easier on them than anyone else.
  • Gates and Salaries (Score:3, Informative)

    by Philodoxx (867034) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @04:21PM (#17938376)
    I'm a fresh university graduate working for a Seattle area software development company on a TN visa. My salary +signing bonus+stock options doesn't get me to $100k but it's close enough that I believe Gates. Considering that Microsoft is bringing in people with several years experience (and therefore paid more) under their belts that number could easily get to $100k.
  • by LowneWulf (210110) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @04:32PM (#17938552)
    I and other H-1B's get paid exactly the same, if not better, than my American citizen counterparts.

    While the base salary isn't breaking $100k a lot of the time, Microsoft gives everyone (H-1B or otherwise) a bucketload of benefits that would easily push the cost to MS well over $100k.

    Add into the mix the fact that Microsoft has to pay shiteloads of money for legal services, filing fees, premium processing, etc. just to keep us in the country, and you realize that it costs MS a decent amount more to keep H-1Bs in the country. Plus, the stupid Americans like to randomly tear up your visas from time to time if you come from a "suspicious" country, and let me tell you, those are expensive battles.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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