On Thursday, a week after former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates argued for amnesty and for an unlimited number of high-tech guest-worker visas, Microsoft announced it would slash 18,000 jobs.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promised his employees that “we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible.” Analysts told USA Today that the number being let go was “larger than expected.”
The “vast majority” of employees will reportedly be notified “within the next six months” and “earn severance and job transition help in many locations.” Microsoft employs 125,000 people.
Bill Gates, along with Sheldon Adelson and Warren Buffett, advocated removing “the worldwide cap on the number of visas that could be awarded to legal immigrants who had earned a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States.”
However, numerous nonpartisan scholars and studies have determined that there is a surplus – not a shortage – of American high-tech workers. Moreover, after a recent Census report found that “74% of those with a bachelor’s degree in these subjects don’t work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs,” the mainstream media may finally be catching on and taking away the high-tech industry’s “free pass.” CBS News, for instance, concluded that the Census data suggest the high-tech industry’s contention that there is a shortage of American high-tech “is largely a myth.”
Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has “said there are 50% more graduates than job openings in the STEM fields.” Microsoft’s announcement hammers home his point that the IT sector has often been “an area of social mobility,” and removing the caps on high-tech guest-worker visas would take jobs away from American workers and make it more difficult to climb the economic ladder.
“You’ve got people who come from working-class backgrounds who go into these sectors,” Hira said on a conference call of scholars earlier this year that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)’s (R-AL) office organized. “It’s a way of getting into the middle class and the professional class, and that’s being cut off.”