During the course of his campaign, there were times when the President-elect of the United States of America (US), Donald Trump, pledged to bring jobs back from India to America. He said in one of his speeches that he wanted to scrap all H-1B visas.
Trump is not the first presidential candidate to have made such pledges. The outgoing US President Barack Obama was also relentlessly speaking up against outsourcing during his 2008 campaign, saying his administration would offer tax benefits to firms which specifically created jobs in the country. On taking office though, the natural order of outsourcing stayed in place and Information Technology companies went about their business as usual.
But as this Mint article explains, the cause of this problem lies within America’s schools and colleges. In spite of a strong demand for software developers, the percentage of computer science graduates in all US colleges has remained pretty flat over the last 30 years, stagnating at 2.76 per cent in 2011 as compared to 2.2 per cent in 1981. This information is from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ Digest of Educational Statistics.
In contrast, students who arrive from other countries, primarily China, India and South Korea, receive 10 per cent of bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and statistics, 9 per cent of bachelor’s degrees in mechanic and repair technologies, and 8 per cent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering.
While the Chinese lead with 31 per cent of all international students in the US, 28 per cent of them were studying business and management, and 20 per cent engineering. India sent the second-highest number of students to the US; 38 per cent of them were studying engineering, and 26 per cent math and computer science.
According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, international students earned 11.6 per cent of all American doctoral degrees conferred during the 2012-13 academic year. Of this total, they bagged 57 per cent of the doctoral degrees in engineering, 53 per cent in computer and information sciences and 50 per cent in mathematics and statistics.
These numbers clearly indicate how Indians or other Asian immigrants do not take away American jobs but instead get them because they tend to possess the requisite qualifications for those jobs. Therefore, even if Trump made certain pledges against outsourcing to India, he won’t be able to do much about it. The need for Indian engineers or technologists in American markets will remain.
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