Why You Want to Get Involved in H1 Visas, Relocation.
Yes, it’s a pain in the butt and it’ll cost you, but both are winning talent acquisition strategies.
By Logan Knight, Executive Recruiter, IT Division
Let’s face it, the tech talent war continues. With companies lacking the tech talent they need, the healthy employment rate and confidence of the tech labor force, means that attracting and retaining the skilled employees high tech companies want is more of a challenge than ever.
Technology professionals averaged a 3.6% unemployment rate in Q2 of this year. That is less than half that of the 7.6% for the overall U.S. unemployment rate. Dice’s Tech Employment snapshot reports that 33% of corporate hiring managers said more tech pros are voluntarily quitting their positions in 2013, as compared to last year. A PayScale survey of over 4000 companies showed that 67% report having a skills gap in 2013.
How can companies and hiring managers acquire the talent they need?
Differentiation / Culture
Dynamic companies differentiate themselves. This can be done by providing great perks and create a fantastic culture. The companies who have developed a unique and attractive culture and know what to offer their employees to motivate them are more successful attracting and retaining employees.
Agile Hiring Process
Competitive companies make sure they have en effective and agile hiring process. Enabling the hiring process via thorough preparation, and being able to make quick, proactive decisions makes a huge difference in this market. A streamlined hiring process often wins the candidate; if you think someone is a good hire, another hiring manager is thinking the same thing, so don’t lose momentum in your process.
Recruiting Passive Candidates
Strategically you want to be able to choose from a large number of candidates, benefitting from supply and demand. With unemployment in the tech sector so low, there is not often a large pool of the talent you need available. Recruiting passive candidates is a winning strategy, but even then if you limit your pool to local US or naturalized talent, you may be limiting your options.
Expanding the Candidate Pool: H1 & Relocation
Expanding your search parameters to include highly skilled foreign workers who either have or qualify for the H-1B visa program is winning way to enlarge your talent pool. And while it requires additional costs and time, it is an important facet of the US technology community’s ability to harness top talent, boosting competitiveness. Fees are in the ballpark of $2325, with additional fees for premium or expedited services. The Department of Labor has a web app to calculate the fees and provides employer information on the process.
Another strategy to increase your talent search pool is to relocate talent. There are some costs and logistics to relocation above and beyond your local hire to be sure. Setting a hire budget that includes protections for your HR investment is a smart way to go. Moving expense reimbursements or bonuses can be set up such that there is a minimum successful employment period that must be completed before the funds are eligible for example.
Why incur the extra expense and add logistics by hiring through the H-1B program or relocating someone from outside the area?
Besides increasing the number of qualified people to choose from, there are some other compelling reasons:
The leading US Tech Companies like Google, Facebook, YouTube, are embracing foreign-born talent because of the innovation and entrepreneurship that enhances US companies and the US economy. The “New American” Fortune 500 reports that forty-five percent of high-tech firms from the Fortune 500 (2010) had either an immigrant or child of an immigrant among its founders.
Taking the Ego Out of It.
Let’s be frank, when the skilled tech workforce is tight, many in that pool of candidates can get a pretty big ego. Silicon Valley may be a teeming tech hub but the circles overlap and it is not uncommon for those with the most in-demand skills to get multiple requests by their network, former colleagues, industry insiders, and recruiters trying to lure them away. They may have already worked at some of the top tech firms. Having a great culture, unique perks, and a competitive salary may not be enough to secure the talent you want. Candidates are getting multiple offers, counteroffers, and often are playing the field to see how much they can get. Bringing in talent from a less competitive market often means dealing with less ego.
Even with extra costs associated with relocation, candidates from less competitive areas typically have lower salary expectations. Offering bonuses or reimbursements for moving that are attached to successful completion of milestones helps protect against job hopping or courting by the competition.
If your go the route of an H-1B visa, you must pay a wage that is no less than the wage paid to similarly qualified workers. However even superstar visa holders are less likely to be playing the field and trying to leverage the salary above the prevailing wage as they are typically interested in securing a position in which they will be successful over the long term, keeping their legal ability to work in the US in safe waters.
While you can’t lock talent to you forever, you can create loyalty through give and take and good relationships. Providing relocation incentives, going through the logistics of hiring a foreign-born worker, in concert with providing a good work environment, a career path, and competitive compensation, can make for a deeper engagement in the employment contract on both sides of the equation.
Consider the costs of hiring (advertising, recruiting, interviewing, on-boarding, training, pay, benefits, rent, etc.), which Eric Koester of MyHighTechStart-Up estimates “range from 1.5x to 3x of salary for the ‘fully-baked’ cost of an employee”. You don’t want to go through all this and lose your employees right away, just to have to start the whole process and expense all over.
Hiring is a competitive, expensive process. Like any investment, there are up-front costs, and you need to be in it for the long term to get the best pay off. Many companies would serve themselves much better by employing the winning talent acquisition strategies of relocation or H-1 employees despite the additional upfront costs. The benefits are clear – a much larger pool of talent, less ego to deal with, more affordable and realistic expectations, and employee loyalty.
About the Author:
Logan Knight, Executive Recruiter, IT Division
Logan Knight is a technology recruiter. As an outdoor enthusiast, he can’t stay away from scenic mountain towns. After a career in the golf industry, including his starting and running own business, Logan has taken his client rapport building skills and refocused on high tech recruitment.
About Redfish Technology:
Founded in Silicon Valley in 1996, Redfish Technology has been a leading provider of high tech and clean tech professional and executive talent. Partnering with growth mode companies, small and large, Redfish staffs executive functions and builds out the teams below. The company provides services nationwide and has offices in Silicon Valley, the East Coast, and Sun Valley.