No one should ever question Bill Gates’ generosity or commitment to improving American schools. His analysis however, should be subject to debate...He used his invitation to testify as an opportunity to delineate the failings of American high schools. His testimony also implied a correlation between test scores and Microsoft’s inability to fill 3,000 positions for high-skill workers.
Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to Mr. Gates or the Senators questioning him that Microsoft has become an undesirable place to work.
Don’t believe me? Business Week is but one publication chronicling the difficulties Microsoft has attracting and retaining talent. It’s articles, Troubling Exits at Microsoft & Revenge of the Nerds - Again offer a primer on how not to sustain organizational innovation.
"There was a lot of buzz around the Google [employment recruiting] table and not a lot around the Microsoft table," says Bob Richard, associate director of employer relations at MIT. (source)One web site claims that Microsoft is doing little to attract recent graduates.
What is really disturbing about the Microsoft connection with the H-1B issue is that they are not even making a show of trying to hire US high-tech workers. Microsoft did not attempt to recruit at any of the 22 California State University campuses, where many of the high-tech US computer workers graduate. Microsoft is also not participating at this year's Engineering Job Fair at CSUS. (source)Gates also fails to acknowledge a trend regarding the career aspirations of young people. The USA Today article, Gen Y Makes a Mark and Their Imprint is Entrepreneurship, describes how young Americans are less attracted to jobs in large corporations.
"People are realizing they don't have to go to work in suits and ties and don't have to talk about budgets every day," says Ben Kaufman, 20, founder of a company that makes iPod accessories. "They can have a job they like. They can create a job for themselves." (source)Other analyses of employment conditions at Microsoft may be found here & here. Like most large American companies, Microsoft has also outsourced thousands of jobs to other countries.
Microsoft might be better served by creating more attractive working conditions and responding to the market than by beating up on high schools.