Study: American employers need to attract talent from abroad
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, the New American Economy published the results of a study recently carried out in partnership with Envoy Global, which exposes the real figures of qualified workforce shortages in important sectors for the US’ market and international competitiveness such as technology and the healthcare system.
This study also looks at the economic impact of the global Coronavirus pandemic on these critical sectors and the shortage of skilled professionals prior to the health crisis. It is imperative to clarify that the research mainly revolves around the role of immigrants in local companies’ economic behavior amid the international emergency, especially when it comes to highly qualified foreign workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.
To carry out an assertive, thorough and correct analysis, New American Economy took data and figures from LCA (Labor Condition Applications), Burning Glass Technologies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Let’s look at some of the main findings of the study:
- The global COVID-19 pandemic did not irreparably affect sectors or industries that rely heavily on foreign workforce. This is because there was already a shortage of skilled labor in these sectors even before the health crisis, which is the result of restrictive policies and the alarming backlog of immigration cases. The study defines this situation as “chronic labor shortages”.
- The sectors most affected by qualified workforce shortages are related to technology, computer science and mathematics. Adding to that, to fill the gaps in these industries, local employers – that is, American or US-based companies – are trying to attract talent from abroad despite the multiple bureaucratic hurdles of the local immigration system.
- In 2020, the Trump administration stated that foreign workers took opportunities away from local workers. However, the study reveals that during that year, local employers needed at least 1.36 million skilled workers in computer-related fields, but there were only 177,000 local workers available, that is, unemployed, which completely contradicts Trump’s argument.
In other words, for every unemployed local worker, there were more than 7 computer jobs available.
Now, let’s look at the main conclusions of the study:
- The US undoubtedly and urgently needs a more welcoming approach to the processes available to highly qualified foreign workers, that is, business immigration programs. It is extremely important for the government to simplify existing processes so that local companies can attract talent from abroad.
- The study reveals that there are still not enough highly qualified workers in areas such as computer science and technology in general to meet the needs of local businesses or the American population’s demands.
- Technology-related industries tend to grow faster and need brilliant minds. Therefore, the US must improve the immigration system as soon as possible so that local employers can fill existing gaps and reduce skilled labor shortages.
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