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If you do bring in an H-1B employee you must consider the length of the term of their contract and be willing to commit for the term. If you end sooner than anticipated, you can release the employee, but are responsible for the remainder of the financial contract.

You do bring up a good point, many firms are not able to afford to up the ante and pay more to lure engineers away from other firms, but this does not mean that all is lost. What is required is some creative thinking.

§         Is it worth the time and effort to hire a younger engineer with less experience and train? Isn’t this what we intend when we require so much apprenticeship in order to obtain license to practice. The license may not be as important as the capability to do the work and what better way to insure that the work is done to your standard than to train the younger engineer.

o       Yes, this means some down-time, the same as learning new software and becoming proficient at it. However, if you are successful and your firm is fair and honest with your employees then I don’t see why there can’t be some longevity in the process.

o       You can’t guarantee job security. No firm can, but you need to commit to an H-1B contract for a year or two at the least. Some firms will do whatever it takes to carry the employees who are most valuable.

§         Let me preface my suggestions with the facts that I am not running an office with multiple employees. I’ve been self-employed for nearly twenty years and have made a good living at it without hiring or exceeding my capabilities or practicing on jobs that are beyond my ability. However, you can consider a working relationship with another independent firm who is willing to provide support whether they are engineers, draftspersons or office staff working part time. There are alternative ideas to put to work.

§         At one time I suggested the idea of a united consortium of firms who were willing to support each other. I found this to be a difficult venture as of priorities needed to be well worked out.

§         I’ve met other engineers who specialized. Some only set up three dimensional modeling for finite element models, others will model URM buildings while others provide drafting support. The point is that if you are in a bind then you have to think creative solutions rather than committee outside the country for help.

§         If the profit margins are there, then you need to entice senior members to join your firm. With more than three employees, health care can be an important issue and group plans can be obtained at reasonable prices that can be a selling point to another engineer

§         Advertise for help in SEA chapter newsletters. Most SEA Chapters provide free ads for employment. Don’t rely upon Internet based advertising alone although it can offer some help. I don’t think I would trust head hunters or online organizations such as Monster.Com – the choices are simply too broad. Stick with those in your profession and look in other cities for young engineers willing to relocate for a job. I must get three or four résumé’s a month. I would think that the help is out there but as I noted earlier, you may need to train.

These are but a few ideas. There are more and some of you are much more creative in thoughts than I am. I am concerned, though, that we are starting to seek education in place of training because the work demand and the investment in time is cutting into profits and firms don’t want to invest in training. However, how can you expect to find a faithful employee who will learn to provide work the way you want it unless you are willing to invest in training and satisfying their apprenticeship.




-----Original Message-----
From: Jake Watson [mailto:jwatson(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 5:37 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)


This is another topic I have yet to resolve for myself.  We have been trying to hire "qualified" engineers for several years and have had little luck.  We have advertised nationally in several magazines and on web sites.  Maybe it's the approach we used, but we received almost no responses. I see this as a good and bad thing. 


First, supply and demand dictates that as the number of required engineers increases, our compensation should increase assuming the supply remains roughly constant.  Most (all?)statistics indicate that engineering enrollment is down.  The largest problem we are having (at least from my perspective) is competing against incompetent &/or unethical engineers.  When we compete against firms whose work is similar to ours, we do just fine.


The down side is we can't find staff to do the work we have.  We are a small firm and have not investigated H1-b, and if I can help it, don't plan to.  My own opinion is that we simply need to increase the compensation to hire someone qualified locally.  But our market won't yet support a more highly compensated employee.  I am hoping that as time progresses, a stronger market will allow for better compensation or our position in our local market will improve to help.


I have a hope that the H1-b visa won't tamper with supply too much.  Force companies to keep employees overseas and we stand a chance.  Let them bring them here at a reduced rate and allow for oversupply and we are done.  At some point you have to let the market find the right balance.  H1-b's to me seems like a short-circuit on the supply side of the market.


Jake Watson, P.E.
Salt Lake City, UT

-----Original Message-----
From: Rbengrguy(--nospam--at) [mailto:Rbengrguy(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2003 4:18 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Cc: americanworkerscoalition(--nospam--at); rweingardt(--nospam--at)

Attention    SEAINT:

Regarding Stan Caldwell,    David Fisher' post  indicating the H-1b issue is of no concern to structural engineers.........................

That may be true to SE's  for right now,   but as one who has followed the issue for over ten years  with  AEA    ( I don't think this issue is going away.

Members of the IT industry  and   EE's   seem unconcerned   for the H-1B  issue years back.  It was boom times in their profession!    Now the boom has bust!!!
There is record unemployment amongst IT and EE  workers

IEEE-USA  reports that umemployment amongst  EE's is at historic highs!!!

Will we see  the same for the structural engineering profession?

I don't  know.   Time will tell.    

But the give  you some of you an indication  of the H-1B issue that so many of you refuse to be concerned I offer the following:

INTERNET websites protesting the H-1b visa,  offshoring  programs are sprouting.

Chat rooms,  discussion groups have formed attempting to fight the H-1b,
outsourcing programs.   

Angry engineers,  IT  workers  are now beginning to speak out!! 

You might want to call it revenge of the techies!!! 

The following is just a sampling of some of the protest  - discussion groups
on the  unemployment,   H-1b issue,   offshoring .

More seem  to be forming each month as word spreads of the scam - sham that
is the H-1b visa  program.  New concerns over the outsourcing issue are being

H-1B,  offshoring   link  websites:
check there database  the H-1b  applications        maybe your firm  is listed????
Don't forget to review their   LCA database to see if your firm is listed!!!       ( work in Progress)

and there are others!!!!!!

Engineering - IT organization websites:

And there is now even protest songs!!!

Unemployed workers are even making there own  videos!!!

Messages group:

Search Engine for H-1B  stories!!!

pending  (in the works)

Commentary on H-1B

This is not then end,  but just the beginning.   


Engr. Robert B. Johnson,  SE, PE
Chicago.  IL

f.ASCE   Past member  of Committee on Public Involvement
American Engineering Association
American Engineering Alliance
Tau Beta Pi Association
International Technology Institute

The above does not necessary represent the thoughts,  opinions of the many
engineering organization I belong,  but cited only as a reference the degree
of involvement in the engineering profession.    In fact most engineering
societies do not have a position on the H-1B issue with the possible
exception of ASCE,  IEEE.


also see: