As the dust settles, we all know that the outcome of the 2016 election will have far reaching impact on the US labor market and technology firms in particular. H-1B visas are a lifeline to highly skilled foreign workers. Those workers have often benefited from their home country's strategic investment in workforce development - investment that the US government itself promised at the dawn of trade liberalization in the 1990s, but never delivered on. Employers will wrestle with the consequences of that under-investment.
a. Demand for skilled workers will continue to be high. Even higher, if employers begin relocating operations back to the US. Supply will drop, so it will be much harder to find talented US workers and align them with roles.
b. Compensation for skilled workers will increase. H-1Bs locked immobility into employment, putting downward pressure on wages. As employers fight to attract and retain workers, compensation will increase for firms that cannot adapt their product and operations to minimize that dependence.
c. Workforce development will become a major area of investment. Academies, college alternatives, and internal training programs will become incredibly vital for developing internal talent. As employee mobility increases, creating sticky employees with long term loyalty will help offset cost.
d. High quality recruiting will be at a premium. Employers must invest in great recruiting or they will lose executives and workers to their competitors.
In other words, the rush is on.
Trump’s victory in the Presidential election is a tremendous political upset. The biggest issue raised by Trump was immigration—and he didn’t waiver from his restrictionist position. Although the polling data doesn’t show support for Trump’s position and the election was not a blowout, depending on whether he wins the popular vote (unclear at this time) he and other restrictionist Republicans will take this as a mandate to follow through on his immigration promises. Trump’s stump speeches were superficial but his immigration position paper was detailed and specific. Simply, it calls for a 20 percent to 60 percent cut in green cards and a huge increase in immigration enforcement. Here are the details from his immigration position paper fleshed out: