Vivek Wadhwa has become the tech industry’s go-to guy for making baseless claims of a skilled worker shortage in the U.S. Mr. Wadhwa has been known to employ complete non-sequiturs and engage in hyperbole, which only highlights that his arguments not only have no basis in fact, but have no connection whatsoever to reality. In his recent testimony before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee (starting at 52:20), Wadhwa was in fine form. He educated the committee on the history of U.S. manufacturing in under than thirty seconds, congratulated himself for helping to cure diseases at light speed, and claimed that if only the U.S. admitted more skilled immigrants we could “save the world,” instantly, no less, and create “unlimited water.” (He really did say that. It’s at the 57:50 mark).
Wadhwa claims that foreign tech workers not only don’t displace American workers but create jobs by driving innovation. Without a massive increase in foreign workers, the U.S. will crash and burn because we just can’t produce enough home grown talent. He references studies that prove this. What he doesn’t say is that all studies not produced by the tech industry say exactly the opposite. In fact, before he became a shill for the tech lobby, even Wadhwa argued that claims of a worker shortage were not true.
Forget the conventional wisdom. U.S. schools are turning out more capable science and engineering grads than the job market can support…. Even if there were a deficiency in math and science education, there are so many graduates today that there would be enough who are above average and fully qualified for the relatively small number of science and engineering jobs. Science and engineering graduates just don’t see enough opportunity in these professions to continue further study or to take employment.
Vivek Wadhwa, “The Science Education Myth,” Bloomberg Businessweek, October 26, 2007