Wanna Work For Bill Gates?!?
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Thu Apr 28 20:59:30 MDT 2005
Gates Cites Hiring Woes, Criticizes Visa Restrictions
By David A. Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 28, 2005; Page E05
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said yesterday the software
giant is having enormous difficulty filling computer jobs in the
United States as a result of tight visa restrictions on foreign
workers and a declining interest among U.S. students in computer
Speaking on a technology panel at the Library of Congress, Gates
said a decline in the number of U.S. students pursuing careers in
science and technology is hurting Microsoft in the short run, and
could have serious long-term consequences for the U.S. economy if
the problem is not addressed.
"We are very concerned that the U.S. will lose its competitive
position. For Microsoft, it means we are having a tougher time
hiring," Gates said. "The jobs are there, and they are good-paying
jobs, but we don't have the same pipeline."
Microsoft conducts 85 percent of its research in this country. "We
are very tied to the United States" when it comes to doing
research and development on the company's Windows and Microsoft
Office products, he said.
Gates called on the Bush administration and Congress to relax visa
restrictions so more foreign workers could be hired to fill
technology jobs. Tighter restrictions on foreign workers were
imposed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Gates said visa restrictions are keeping too many bright, educated
people from working in the United States. "A policy that limits
too many smart people coming to the United States is
questionable," Gates said. "The visa issue doesn't make sense."
Rep. David Dreier (R.-Calif.) defended the visa restrictions,
saying they are driven by the responsibility of the federal
government to protect U.S. citizens from terrorism. He said the
Microsoft chairman's description of the problem ignored the harsh
realities of fighting foreign terrorist threats.
"We still have to focus on border security," said Dreier, who also
appeared on the technology panel. "We can't be so naive."
Shirley M. Tilghman, president of Princeton University, said
during the discussion that a significant part of the problem is
that U.S. schools, including universities, discourage girls and
women from sticking with subjects such as math, science and
engineering. With women making up more than half of all U.S.
college graduates, she said such discouragement translates into a
lack of trained computer science and technology talent.
"Too often," she said, of both male and female students, "by the
time they get to us, they are math-phobic or science-phobic."
Richard F. Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research,
said he recently told his son, who is an undergraduate studying
computer science, that he would have plenty of jobs to choose from
when he graduates.
"We're hiring as many people from college campuses as we can, but
there are just not enough of them available," Rashid said.
Gates said the combination of tighter visa restrictions and
increasing opportunity in rapidly growing economies in China and
India means that more foreign students who study at U.S.
universities are returning home to work, rather than seeking jobs
in the United States. China, he noted, is generating four times as
many new engineers annually as the United States.
The Microsoft chairman said rapid growth in China and India also
expands the opportunity for U.S. companies to sell products on
world markets. But he said the nation risks losing competitive
ground to these economies over time if the dearth of scientific
talent translates into a great erosion of the traditional U.S.
advantage in software and technical innovation.
"There is no doubt that the U.S.'s relative position will decline
even if we do all the right things," Gates said.
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