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Stamford staffing firm honored

Benchmark personnel, from left: Allison Junquera, John Bemis and Nancy LaPerla Bemis.

Benchmark IT, a Stamford-based information technology staffing firm, received an Excellence Award from the TechServe Alliance during its annual conference in Phoenix. TechServe is the IT staffing industry’s trade and legislative advocacy association. The award recognizes IT staffing and solutions firms that have demonstrated outstanding performance, team productivity and dedication to continuous improvement over the past year.

“The hard news is there are thousands of open jobs and not nearly enough skilled workers,” said Allison Junquera, director of recruiting at Benchmark. 

“We are working diligently with the community on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, as well as with local high schools to encourage kids towards computer science degrees, and with career counselors at local colleges to place graduates into technology roles,” said Nancy LaPerla Bemis, the company’s vice president of marketing.

The current political effort to limit immigration could affect IT staffing, according to John Bemis, Benchmark’s president. “There are 100,000 of guest workers in the U.S. We don’t have enough qualified American workers right now or in the near future to fill their jobs. The potential risk of limiting H1-B visa workers means more outsourcing, which means job loss here in the U.S.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Re: H-1B

    While lobbying Congress for more H-1B visas, industry claims H-1B workers are the “best and brightest”. Come payday, however, they’re entry-level workers.

    The GAO put out a report on the H-1B visa that discusses at some length the fact that the vast majority of H-1B workers are hired into entry-level positions. In fact, most are at “Level I”, which is officially defined by the Dept. of Labor as those who have a “basic understanding of duties and perform routine tasks requiring limited judgment”. Moreover, the GAO found that a mere 6% of H-1B workers are at “Level IV”, which is officially defined by the US Dept. of Labor as those who are “fully competent” [1]. This belies the industry lobbyists’ claims that H-1B workers are hired because they’re experts that can’t be found among the U.S. workforce.

    So this means one of two things: either employers are looking for entry-level workers (in which case, their rhetoric about needing “the best and brightest” is complete B.S.), or they’re looking for more experienced workers but only paying them at the Level I, entry-level pay scale. In my opinion, employers are using the H-1B visa to engage in legalized age discrimination, as the vast majority of H-1B workers are under the age of 35 [2], especially those at the Level I and Level II categories.

    Any way you slice it, it amounts to H-1B visa abuse, all facilitated and with the blessings of the US government.

    The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has never shown a sharp upward trend of Computer Science graduate starting salaries, which would indicate a labor shortage (remember – the vast majority of H-1B visas are granted for computer-related positions). In fact, according to their survey for Fall 2015, starting salaries for CS grads went down by 4% from the prior year. This is particularly interesting in that salaries overall rose 5.2% [3][4].

    References:
    [1] GAO-11-26: H-1B VISA PROGRAM – Reforms Are Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program
    [2] Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report to Congress October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016
    [3] NACE Fall 2015 Salary Survey
    [4] NACE Salary Survey – September 2014 Executive Summary

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