Chutzpah: Big H-1B Employer Joins Trump Job-Creation Hoopla

By David North, February 22, 2017

According to the headline in Fortune, "Accenture Joins Trump's Job Creation Drive". The article goes on to say that the firm will "open ten new innovation hubs in cities around the U.S., and create 15,000 highly skilled jobs in the process." In an earlier, less-hyped day we would have called them branch offices.

The article, perhaps carefully, did not indicate who would fill those jobs, an important variable since Accenture is, in some years, the fifth biggest user of H-1B workers in the country, having filed 5,099 labor condition applications in 2016, for example. The filing of an LCA works only about a third of the time, so it would produce about 1,500-1,800 new H-1B workers, joining perhaps six times that many on a corporation's payroll. (An H-1B visa is good for three years, and there is an almost automatic three-year renewal).

So, with that kind of track record, how many of the 15,000 new jobs will be filled with unemployed/underemployed citizen or green card programmers? Accenture does not say.

It is useful to recall a bit of the firm's history; it was started by a Norwegian-American named Arthur Andersen in the Midwest, grew to be one of the big five accounting firms, assured everyone that things were just fine at Enron, and then it was forced to discard its founder's name and become Accenture and located its (perhaps nominal) world headquarters to Dublin in order to receive huge corporate tax breaks, all at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.

Along the way it moved into the IT business and began providing contract workers to various U.S. employers. According to 2016 Department of Labor data collected by Myvisajobs.com, its average annual salary was $77,953, the sixth among the top 10 H-1B employers, and considerably less than Microsoft's $122,641. Google, 12th largest of the H-1B employers that year, paid an average of $127,898.

Despite the firm's Norwegian heritage, its Irish connections, and its prosperous business in the U.S. no Irish, nor Norwegians, nor Americans need apply for its H-1B jobs. U.S. workers are, by definition not eligible for H-1B, and Accenture, as we reported in an earlier posting, had an H-1B work-force that was 95.4 percent from India. (Its much larger non-H-1B workforce is presumably more diverse.)

Other outsourcing firms had even higher percentages of Indian nationals in their H-1B hirings, undermining the IT industry's argument that it needed access to the world's best and brightest.

Fortune, while skipping over the awkward facts noted above, did say "Accenture has been a leader in the outsourcing business, which some Trump supporters might see as having contributed to moving U.S. jobs overseas."

This non-Trump supporter is certain outsourcing is devastating to the citizens and green card holders who are barred from good jobs by the H-1B program.