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Microsoft Businesses

Did Gates Fib About H1-B Salaries? 345

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 on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:12PM (#17936570)
    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 m0rph3us0 ( 549631 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:18PM (#17936662)
    You have no idea of the amount of regulation in India. It is much easier for India to move here than vice-versa.
  • 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).
  • by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <aaaaa@@@SPAM...yahoo...com> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:34PM (#17936892) Journal
    "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 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 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.

  • by wtansill ( 576643 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:10PM (#17937404)

    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 that was a cause for investigation, wouldn't you?
    • I'll be more inclined to look favorably on the whole H1-B "issue" when I see CEO's, CFO's, Board Members and the like being brought in under H1-B visas. Given the ever-widening pool of scandals (Enron, MCI, ADELPHI, more recently Dick Grasso, options backdating, etc.) I'd say it's increasingly difficult to find competant management in the US, wouldn't you agree?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @04:35PM (#17938576)

    I'm fresh out of a masters program and have just accepted a job with MSFT for $84,000/yr. Assuming a 4% raise per year, after 4 years that gets me to $98,270/yr before even factoring in bonuses, benefits, etc. And here's the interesting part: it's a "core technical" job, but not a developer (SDE) position. I know another non-SDE finishing a masters here who was offered $87,000. They're offering our SDE peers even higher starting salaries.

    I think $100k sounds about right for 2-4 years experience as a developer, at least with MSFT.

  • by Darby ( 84953 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:12PM (#17939126)
    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 official of the federal government. Shoot them.

    Hold new elections. Shoot everybody who runs.

    Find (magically) the person who had the least interest in being involved in any of that crap, make him do the job. Holding his family and friends hostage if need be to force his cooperation.
    Set some reasonable goals (magically again) for him to accomplish before he can step down.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rageon ( 522706 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:26PM (#17939376)
    You obviously weren't looking very hard for a job, or your expectations were way too high for someone fresh out of school. If you're going to come straight out of school with no experience and demand a high salary or a job that technically interests you, you're not going to find much. Your first job out of school isn't going to be your dream job, and if you haven't realized that by the time you graduate law school, you'll find the same "lack of jobs" then.

    Valid point, but not accurate in my case. I did look very hard for jobs. Even enlisted the help of a job-finding service. I was offered one job immediately after graduating and turned it down because it was barely enough to live on, given the location. After that, nothing. I was willing to take just about anything within 6 months of that point, and went a year without getting a thing. It wasn't a case of me being picky or demanding. Not at all.

    And I did finish law school, and work as a law clerk, which is pretty much the definition of taking a modest first job.

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

    by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:35PM (#17939532) Homepage Journal
    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 himself.

    Meanwhile Paul Allen is financing Burt Rutan's spaceflights; and Ted Turner has set up over a dozen "ranch" nature preserves with an area larger than the two smallest states put together, and created the Goodwill Games. Bill's sending checks to AIDS researchers seems very pedestrian and uninspired by comparison.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @06:04PM (#17940008) Homepage Journal
    And I'd even believe that line (Heck, did believe it) until I started meeting MBE students with 5, 10, or even 20 years out of college in the industry who had been pegionholed as a Cobol programmer, and then gotten dumped for an H-1b instead of the company actually providing traing in newer technologies. I've known far too many American Software Engineers who ended up homeless during the last recession to believe this line of garbage. Near as I can tell, grad schools have become racist against White Americans, and HR departments doubly so, due to this myth.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Malc ( 1751 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @06:29PM (#17940386)
    Where's "over there"? Western Europe? East Africa? An island in the Pacific?

    I can't say I've ever had problems working with foreign-born colleagues. Or at least no worse than somebody born down the road. In fact I'd rather deal with somebody more worldly. Maybe your particular social background means that you haven't been able to adapt sufficiently to communicate well enough to successfully brainstorm with "them". Somebody from even as close culturally as Canada or the UK is going to take some time to learn Americanisms and the correct way to understand customers.
  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @08:27PM (#17942242) Homepage
    Attending law school doesn't automatically mean you want to help people. It can mean a few things, sorted from most common to least:

    1. You like money, or are a controlling asshole

    2. Your father is a lawyer (and a controlling asshole)

    3. You're really smart and think you can use the law to make a difference in the world. Oh by the way, you could dedicate your whole life to a single cause and maybe get the wheels turning. Then some guy with a bomb strapped to his chest will cause a bigger change overnight.

    The fundamental problem with humanity is we're a bunch of selfish lazy assholes. Most people think of their career in terms of income, and vice versa. If janitors earned 150k a year and doctors earned only 20k, then everyone would want to be a janitor.. then someone would invent Janitor University, and govenrment would pass a law forcing people to get their 7 years of reeducation before being issued a license to wave a mop. And you'd see a lot more doctors robbing liquor stores.

    I live in the government capital of Canada, lots of office jobs here. Some people grow up and they want to become doctors, psychologists, engineers... that's great, but for everyone else the common attitude is "I'm gonna get a cushy office job." What the hell kind of life goal is that ? They don't care what they actually do, as long as it's done in an office, with a disproportionate salary and nice benefits. Sure, some of them are highly skilled and would be useful if they weren't suffocated by the sheer number of imbeciles standing in their way. They do it for a few years, start to lose their mind then go on stress leave (paid, of course) because they hate their job and have no sense of self-worth. Some stronger types might choose to travel up the career ladder, until they're under so much pressure they just crack. What's worse is that most people go in with at least some qualities, but the homogenous nature of the office setting quickly breaks them into conformant drones.

    Well what do you do when you're unhappy in your job ? You make changes to be happier, right ? What if all the jobs suck ass... what then ? You go get more money, to try and compensate for your misery. Eventually this cycle leads to fraudulent behavior, and that is why governments are corrupt. A perfectly happy public servant wouldn't dare consider any illegal activity that could jeopardize their career, but those people are greatly outnumbered by bitter wage slaves.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito