Study Shows H-1B IT Workers are Better Paid and More Educated

February 15, 2012

Indian guy.jpgH-1B workers in the information technology field are better educated and earn more money than US workers in IT field, according to a new report by the Public Policy institute of California. However, the report is not without its critics.

The report found that the average wage income of an H-1B IT worker is 10 percent higher than that of a US worker. The report also shows that the average age of an H-1B IT worker is 30, while the average US IT worker is age 40. Less than 25 percent of US workers have a graduate degree, while nearly 50 percent of H-1B workers have a graduate degree.

The study was conducted by economists Magnus Lofstrom and Joseph Hayes in which they combine the data they obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Census. Specific data about the H-1B worker population was taken from I-129 H-1B visa petitions including occupation, industry, education, age, and annual earnings. Specific data about US workers was taken from the US Census America Community Survey, which uses a 1 percent sample of the US population.

The study is getting attention from H-1B program supporters and critics as well. Norman Matloff, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California at Davis, disagrees with the report's findings. In his own written response to the report, Matloff takes issue with the authors' "incorrect descriptions of previous research findings to inaccurate descriptions of the H-1B visa itself." Matloff also believes the authors' statistical analyses are based on an inadequate understanding of the nature of the labor markets in question, and he further states that the authors cited two of Matloff's research papers several times but missed the central point of his research. The report did not examine some H1-B data factors, including the types of companies that hire H-1B workers.