US jobs not threatened by high-skilled immigrants

FLAGRather than pushing out American workers, the hiring of skilled immigrant workers by firms in the United States actually results in the creation of more job opportunities within those companies, new research claims.  The new research refutes claims by critics that such employees push out older workers that are on higher salaries.

Although many technology firms do tend to favor younger workers, the hiring of immigrant workers is by no means forcing older workers out of their jobs, according to new research.  “We don’t find rampant evidence of this idea that when a new immigrant comes in, the older worker is shown the door,” notes William R Kerr, an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, who co-wrote a paper entitled “Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of US Firms” recently together with William F Lincoln from Johns Hopkins University and Sari Pekkala Kerr from Wellesley College.

The immigration of skilled workers in the United States is especially prevalent in companies in the technology industry.  Immigrants represented 16% of the country’s workforce with a bachelor’s education back in 2008, and account for 29% of growth in the 13-year period between 1995 and 2008.  That share was even higher in jobs connected to technology and innovation, around 24%.

“Skilled immigration is important for the United States, where we do have a large Baby Boomer generation approaching retirement and leaving the workforce,” Kerr points out, adding that countries all over the world see immigration as a viable method to maintain their population base.