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How much does H1B get paid ?

Abadula Joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 126
INS report of H1B for FY2001 --
http://www.ins.gov/graphics/services/employerinfo/FY2001Charact.pdf
On page 12, H1B median salary for "computer-related" is $58,000.
How much is USA computer programmer median salary ? look at Bureau of Labor statistics site --
http://stats.bls.gov/oes/2000/oes151021.htm
the median is $60,970 in metropolitan area and $57,590 in non-metropolitan area.
John Dale
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2001
Posts: 399
This may be a nit, but ... If you look at the BLS link, you may want click the "all computer and mathematical occupations" link. The INS stats may include some software engineers mixed in with the programmers and systems analysts. I would suspect this to be the case if the average educational level and age mix of the computer H1B beneficiaries is close to the average educational level of the H1B beneficiaries overall.
Abadula Joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 126
john, I think in INS calculation, they also mixed those "network system admin" and "database admin" and "computer support specialist" among the "All computer and mathematical occupation". Check how much is their median salary in the BLS site.
Abadula Joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 126
Another issue is the age. About 54% of H1B people are at or under the age of 29. What is the average USA programmers' age ? I am not quite sure about the number but I guess the percentage of USA programmers under 29 will be less than 54%. Usually people's salary increase annually anyway, so the comparison here is bewteen a younger group of H1B people and average USA programmers. It is already not very equivalent because USA programmers represent an older average age group and thus we should expect to see higher median salary from them. In other words, if we proportionally pick USA programmers to form a group whose age structure is similar to the structure of H1B people, then we will expect to see even lower median salary from this new group of USA programmers than from the current overall USA programmers. And this new group of USA programmers should be used in the comparion with H1B people. But we don't have this data.
John Dale
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2001
Posts: 399
From the table on page 11, you can get a sense of how small the fraction of people in the INS computer category are network system admin or computer support specialist, compared the number in programmer/system analyst.* However, I wonder if the INS "programmer and system analyst" category, which comprises about 90% of the INS "computer-related" category, includes a substantial mix of people in higher paying BLS categories. The BLS stats suggest that a substantial fraction of software developers are in those categories.
Still, I think the difference I'm talking about may be small compared the point you are making. I thought some of the other posts suggested the H1Bs were paid much less. Your argument paints a different picture, and your citations put enough data under my nose to begin to explore the claims a bit as I run across them again. At this point, I have more questions than answers.
--
* Comparing the proportion of people in the lower paying BLS categories to the proportion of H1B beneficaries in what to be similar categories might bolster a conjecture that the H1B computer beneficiares are not concentrated in the lower paying BLS categories.
John Dale
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2001
Posts: 399
But the age factor cuts several ways. I suspect younger employees, especially in a population with a strong mix of BS and MS degress, are more likely to be in the BLS software engineering category than in the programmer category. And younger computer workers with BS and MS degrees are are more likely to have their degrees in the field in which they work. Older workers are more likely to have moved off into BLS Management Occupations categories or into other fields, and hence be outside your comparison. Again, I don't know enough to do more than ask questions here.
Abadula Joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 126
John, I have one more question though: given a H1B group at an average age of 28, what can be the percentage of them who get very senior and high paying level job positions ? I think not too many of them can get that type of positions, and most of them should be at middle or junior level positions. Of course, some are at very senior level positions, but the curve should be a normal bell curve that most of them are at middle level positions.
John Dale
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2001
Posts: 399
I don't have reason to doubt that H1B beneficiaries are on the average in mid to junior level positions for people in their career track, since they are young and somewhat contrained. My conjecture is that they are more likely to be higher paying categories than the BLS programmer category:
Convert project specifications and statements of problems and procedures to detailed logical flow charts for coding into computer language. Develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information. May program web sites.

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Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Analyze user needs and develop software solutions. Design software or customize software for client use with the aim of optimizing operational efficiency. May analyze and design databases within an application area, working individually or coordinating database development as part of a team.
 
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