The first thing I looked up is what are the cities that spent the most on H1Bs. While the top city isn’t quite surprising, the gap between it and number 2 took me a little off guard.
As can easily be seen by the above chart, New York is by far and away the number 1 spender on H1Bs, spending over 4 times as much as second place Houston. And talking about Houston, while I wasn’t surprised to see Redmond high on the list at number 4, I wondered what Houston was spending so much on.
Turns out they’re spending most of their money on software people, albeit with a good chunk of it on accountants. And while they’re certainly spending a lot in aggregate, being an H1B programmer in Houston doesn’t seem to be all that lucrative:
If we take a look at the average over the whole country on the other hand the spots to be hired as an H1B point themselves out quite easily.
It becomes painfully clear that software hubs are where H1Bs make the most on average. All those nicely paid Google, Apple and Microsoft jobs obviously. But wait, all the averages are under 90k? Some entry-level dev positions get better offers than that in major software centers. Let’s see what happens when we drill into the data a little. Let’s take a look at Redmond.
In my initial version of this post looking only at prevailing_wage (which is the industry benchmark, not what Microsoft and others are actually paying) I said that perhaps there was some justification to feeling that H1B was used as a tool to depress wages. However, as is now shown above, Microsoft is definitely paying more than 95k to senior software engineers. I found the numbers I was using earlier fishy and this now makes a lot more sense given that new grads can get offers approaching 90k sometimes.
But enough of that. Let’s move on.
I’m in software myself so I figured I’d filter out industries I didn’t care about and see if we could find anything else that was interesting. I filtered on *developer*, *software*, *computer*, *database*, *dba*, *web*, *programmer*, *systems* and architect (not all but selected titles from the list). This is what I got:
While New York is still number 1, their lead was cut down drastically. Redmond is now second and… Edison? Where is Edison? Turns out it’s Edison, New Jersey. This tiny little place:
(click on the image to head to google maps and check it out)
Now why would Edison, NJ spend almost as much on H1Bs as Google and Apple (Mountain View & Cupertino) combined? I decided to take a quick look and see which companies were the ones hiring so many software H1Bs.
Yeah… ok. I’ve never really heard of any of these guys other than Fujitsu and Oracle way down at the bottom there. Wait a minute, Oracle Financial Services Software? Let’s take a closer look at those company names.. Hmm sounds like consulting firms mostly. Let’s Google them.
Diaspark has expertise in Enterprise Software, Mobile Applications, Jewelry Software and IT Consulting.
Welcome to EATeam Inc.
We are Enterprise IT Solutions company based in New Jersey, with a dedicated goal of providing quality Information Technology consulting and staffing
Kaizen Technologies provides consulting and IT services to clients globally – as partners to conceptualize and realize technology driven business transformation initiatives.
We provide solutions for a dynamic environment where business and technology strategies converge.
etc. etc. etc. You get the idea. Why at there so many enterprise software companies based in Edison? It’s almost certainly a tax thing. Turns out if you zoom out a little, Edison is less than an hour’s drive from Wall Street which I imagine makes it a convenient location to base your “headquarters” while in really all the work is actually done in NY.
Update: Turns out my guess about Edison was completely wrong. It turns out that, as JoeW in the comments here and others in this news.yc thread have pointed out, Edison, New Jersey is something of an India within the US. Given the conditions there (workers rarely socializing outside their immediate surroundings), it seems that wages can stay depressed to the minimum outset in H1B law because the employees don’t know that outside their little bubble others are earning more for comparable work. This place would be a fascinating place for a sociologist to go in and study I’m sure.
And while the pay is better than in Houston:
if you look at the standard deviation you don’t exactly have all that much negotiation power it seems:
Now that we’re on the topic of negotiation power, how much salary range do H1Bs actually span?
Whoa! What’s going on there? Is there really such a huge variation in Chicago, New York, San Diego and Columbus? Turns out, not really. If we drill down into the raw H1B data for New York for example we see this:
So it’s really just a few extremes that are skewing the data. It’s also similar for the other cities with large stddevs. San Diego has someone being paid 6,050,000.00 but then it drops to 221,848.00 while Columbus has someone being paid 5,526,600 which then drops to 191,184. It would’ve been nice if Tableau had an option to only work with the middle 95 or 98% of data so as to throw out some of the abberations that are skewing the data a little but for now we’ll just exclude those locations altogether and take a look again.
So as it turns out, in software hubs at least, there seems to be a fairly decent range that H1Bs can span, unlike places like Houston or Edison (Edison has a single 10.5 million wage which is skewing the results massively).
To conclude, if you were curious about which are the companies in the US that spend the most on software H1Bs well here it is:
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft is first, but surprisingly I actually haven’t heard all that much about several of those companies. Patni America for example is actually much closer to Microsoft than it seems because they hold both the second and seventh position (there’s an extra comma in the second name) so really they should be up at 107,746,662 which is interesting because it’s incredibly close to their prevailing wage total of 107,310,618. It seems Patni pays pretty much exactly the industry average and no more. I tried to figure out what exactly they do from their website but they seem to be yet another generic business software consulting company, albeit one that hires a massive number of H1Bs. As for the rest, feel free to look them up on your own. =)