issue, but it has found no analytical basis on which to set the “proper” level of H-1B visas. Thus, decisions to reduce or increase the cap on H-1B visas are fundamentally political. The committee also believes that the use of foreign workers will continue to be necessary for the immediate future, and that foreign workers will continue to make important contributions as described above, but policy governing the use of foreign workers must consider not only the benefits of admitting foreign IT workers but also potential negative effects on the domestic workforce, and take steps to ameliorate those negative effects.

ENGAGING THE EXISTING IT WORKFORCE

To produce more without additional hiring, a firm may ask its workers to work overtime. Some amount of overtime work is common in the IT industry and in IT-intensive firms. But the common stereotype portrayed in the popular press of IT workers who work as much as 80 hours per week is not supported by any of the quantitative data available to the committee. The data also do not support the notion that longer workdays are more typical in smaller firms. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence suggests that the large-scale averages indicating a minimal amount of overtime may mask a wide variation in work hours characteristic of different IT employers.

It is also possible for employers to relax the requirements needed by a successful job applicant. While it is understandable that an employer would search for the perfect candidate, insistence on a long list of qualifications inevitably makes it harder to find a qualified worker, and in the time they are waiting to find the perfect applicant, they may be able to hire an almost-perfect applicant and provide training. There are limits to this process, of course, but in fact some employers are indeed adopting the hire-and-train strategy with some success.

Assessment is central to engaging the pool of job applicants. On the whole, IT employers have been generally successful in screening out unqualified applicants, a claim that can be reasonably inferred from the IT sector's broad success and growth throughout the economy. On the other hand, given existing tightness in the IT workforce, IT employers may be able to do a better job in finding additional qualified and productive applicants from underrepresented groups that are now overlooked to some degree.

Because of the heterogeneity of IT-sector firms, it is difficult to make broad generalizations about assessment practices across the IT sector. Nevertheless, it appears that many IT firms do not make use of structured assessment methods (i.e., procedures that are used to evaluate a job applicant that are administered in a standardized and uniform manner, scored



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