Sunday, May 4, 2008

Needing workers

Do you have unfilled senior developer positions in your firm? Join the club.

At the same time, there are firms that are pre-filtering their search in favor of H1B visa holders. That means that they are expressly favoring non-citizens in their desire to control wage expenses.

Far be it from me to be against any effort to keep wages in line with reality. And far be it from me to stand against plans that force all workers to compete vigorously for scarce resources.

But why are these firms kicking dollars out of the way to pick up nickels? What I mean is that there is an opportunity cost for every incremental day that it takes to get a project done. And if the project takes longer because someone was too cheap to pay for the labor needed to get it done, then they are reducing the return on the investment (by pushing the return further into the future).

There is always a balance to be struck, of course. But, if the evaluation of the project accounted for the incremental benefits, then a rational decision can be made using the different labor costs and the increased speed to delivery. More often than not, the benefits of getting done faster will far outweigh the higher costs of American labor. After all, of all the resources that we have, time is certainly the most rare and precious.

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