US- IT job market situation – part 2


Nowadays, I find that a large chunk of traffic to my blog comes from H1 job market related information searches.

First of all, I love this feature by wordpress that lists the traffic source and the exact search phrases if it is through a search engine. I guess most blog providers do offer this facility. Seriously, hats off to them! It helps a blogger know what kind of information his visitors seek and what percentage of his visitors seek that information thereby enabling him trigger his forthcoming posts in that direction. I had also received a comment from a visitor seeking more information on the current state of the IT job market.

Now coming to the point, it is really interesting to see how attentive people are, to events in the US and how concerned they are about the scheme of things that may have effect on their American dream.

In March, I had written a post on the IT contract job market situation in the US as a result of the slowdown that I (like many others) have been noticing. The past few months have not been the best for IT job seekers in the US, be it contract or permanent. The reasons certainly track back to the mortgage meltdown and the consequent slowdown in the American economy. The slowdown has affected many companies across industries that have led them to cut down in projects/project allocation and overall spending which in turn has been having its effect on hiring.

From my experience in marketing consultants, the situation does not seem to have gotten better yet. Like I mentioned in my earlier posts, we can see an evident increase in companies that prefer hiring people with skills and experience in multiple technologies thereby saving the cost of hiring multiple people. Not many people are prepared for this kind of a demand; hence, consulting rates have gone down.

On the other hand, because the number of H1 visas processed has been increasing on a yearly basis, the supply of resources for any particular IT position is generally high.

In the meantime, we are also seeing positions going on hold or hiring being held up for unexplainable reasons (unexplainable by recruiters/ outsourced hiring companies). I am guessing the reasons could be as I mentioned earlier, scrapping of projects or cost cutting initiatives.

I would not like to inject any negative feelings or approach that may hinder one’s decision on what future course of action they would like to stick to, because my post is really not worth that much. But I would like to inform readers about the factors they might want to take into account for making an informed decision in considering coming to the US for a fulltime or contract job.

As I would prefer doing, writing down or just copy-pasting the following 10 questions and trying to answer them might be helpful –

  1. Why am I currently looking to move to the US? What could be the benefits as against staying back in India?
  2. What is my current area of expertise/ technology?
  3. Am I an expert? How can I differentiate myself against the hundreds of people in the same field of technology/expertise?
  4. In the present market situation, what are the basic and additional skills being asked for by companies who are hiring people in this technology?
  5. Which industries are hiring the most? Do I have experience in those industries? If not, in my area, are my chances good even if I don’t have industry specific experience?
  6. Can I consider coming on an H1/L1 from my current company and then move when the market is better?
  7. Does my intended profile require very good communication skills? Or does it ask for more technical certifications and versatility? Which should I focus more on? (Of course both are necessary for any kind of job, but the degree of compromise from the hirers may vary depending on the need and nature of the profile)
  8.  What is my flexibility with regard to rate, location, working hours?
  9. Do I know people who are in the US now, and are seeking jobs in the same area of technology as I am? Can I contact them for inputs?
  10. Do I have an alternative option or exit plan in case things don’t work out as planned (that is, I don’t end up with a job until a certain period of time)?

I have heard from experienced people that at least a couple of years ago, one didn’t really need to think too deep into how things would turn out during their job search in the US. The market was doing so well that there was a confidence that things would fall in place sooner or later.

I can say for certain that it is not that easy now.

I am sure answering the above questions carefully after good research can surely help one make a more informed decision and build confidence in oneself about his decision. One can check out popular job sites like dice, monster and careerbuilder and do a detailed analysis of the jobs pertaining to one’s area of interest. Getting first hand information from friends or relatives who already are in the US will also help a great deal.

Of course, there may be more questions that may need to be answered. I will surely add more if I can think of any. Meanwhile, people who find the above information useful (or not), please feel free to leave your thoughts, suggestions and opinions.

Good luck!



69 thoughts on “US- IT job market situation – part 2

  1. Bill Gates-US Needs More H1B Visas ..! @ !

    Where bush is goin to place me …god knows..I am here since last 4 months…Bush please help me ….

  2. I am impressed by the insights suvarna has mentioned

    The best way to try for any onsite if ever anyone so keen, is to come via IT companies of India. This helps since you have one relaxing thought that if USA doesnt works, you have somethng back in YOUR OWN HOME LAND- INDIA

    Any thoughts as how long this recession period will last?

  3. @ HIB guy, thanks for dropping by, i understand your situation!

    @ Sweety, thank you. Yes, by far, i think coming thru IT companies in India is the safest option, unless of course, one has done a thorough study of the market here, is confident about his skills and chances of ending up in a job given all negating factors.

    About when the recession will end, i dont think that is easy to predict. A lot of people use past data of recessions to come up with an estimate. But there are so many factors that affect a recession in different periods of time. Right now, major minuses affecting the economy are the mortgage meltdown, the oil prices and loss of jobs resulting in low purchasing power and demand. This in turn shows its effect on companies’ low performance(except of course, oil giants) which further results in cut down of costs and new investments. Thereby lowering more jobs in the marketing. So it is a vicious circle.

    I am sure it wont end in 2008. And how long it may last will a lot of will depend on the Presidential elections and the policies of the next President.

  4. Hi,

    I am currently on L1 and got my H1-B approved for COS from Oct 1, 2008. I would like to know if I can continue to be in L1 till I land good job or will my L1 become invalid from Oct 01.

  5. Hi Arun,
    Your L1 wont become invalid until the end date of current L1. Only once you start working on the new H1 will it get invalid. And once you start working on H1 you cannot move back to L1.

    I will be sending a detailed reply to the email id you have provided. Please check that too.

  6. Hi , Guys I am in USA with H1b for past 2 years. Here is my observations.

    1) The Companies are not ready to invest for new IT projects because this will reduce their profit
    2) There are plenty of h1b holders who are searching for jobs. I know , there are guys working for 30$ per hour. With 25$ , you can pay for your apartment rent
    3)One of my friend got a call for 25$ per hour last month. When some one is ready to work for this rate, the market will automatically come down
    4)We see lot of postings, when we apply, they will ask for green card, citizen, need local candidate etc.

    Every one thinks that the market will grow next year. But no one can predict.
    If you ask me when will the market grow ? I have few answers

    1) Desi companies should stop modifying the resume to get the job
    2) Indian companies like Infy,wipro all the outsourcing companies should stop sending the B1 visa to USA for work(which is illigal).

    3)Indian companies should stop billing for less and taking all the projects to India

    I know this is hard for many to digest. Any how , if you are loose a job in USA , your brother or sister will get a job in India. This is happy news from other side.

  7. yes Raman, you are true about the facts in USA. But I don’t think that Desi companies are modifying the resume. They are only change the name portion of some one’s resume to your name.

  8. @ raman, thanks a lot for your inputs. you are bringing a discussion in here. your observations are right.
    about desi companies modifying resumes, raman dont you think that no matter to what extent the resume is modified the true picture can easily get revealed during the interview? smart hiring managers can validate resume genuineness during an intw, cant they?
    i am not sure why you said that B1 is illegal. would be great if you could tell us more about it.

    @renuka, companies do modify resume portions apart from names 🙂
    and i can make out that the market is not as good now, compared to last year, because it is taking more time for me to place a guy now, than it used to take for the same guy last year. and when this happens to many of the consultants, given their good experience, tech and comm skills, and of course, with the reasons that i mentioned in my post as well as those added in by raman it becomes evident that the market is bad.

    thank you both for leaving a comment and starting a discussion.

  9. Yes, it is know that market is bad, bad no openings …
    B1 visa is for max 3 months and B1 visa holder can come to USA for discussions , not to work. But Indian companies send them through B1 visa to client place. They are billed by Indian companies for hourly rate( atleast 40$ per hour) and paid per day( max 80$). Indian innocents come here as on site opportunity by dancing and jumping
    If you ask , what is work and discussion.
    discussion> They can talk about their product , demonstrate , share the knowledge
    work> Sitting in the computer to fix the bugs , doing onsite co-ordination etc and if paid for the company
    I don’t think any one will deny the facts.

    Also, L1 visa is for company transfer and L1 visa holders has to sit in their companie’s office location. But , L1 visa holders are sitting in the client place and working. You should be knowing the number of L1 visa holders are more than H1b visa

  10. Hi vsuvarna ,
    Please do the needful by providing info for the below query.. I am in need of answer asap;
    Requesting you to provide inputs on the below query:
    1) I am currently on L1 and got my H1-B approved for COS from Oct 1, 2008. I would like to know if I can continue to be in L1 till I land good job or will my L1 become invalid from Oct 01.

    2) If I can work on L1 even after Oct 1 2008, then will I be loosing H1 status; is there any grace period to leave current company and start working on H1 before it is void ..

    I have provided my mail ID.. so plz send the needed info to the mail id mentioned….

  11. Hi Rahul,

    Your L1 wont become invalid until the end date of your current L1 or once you start working on the new H1. Once you start working on H1, you cannot move back to L1

    And you can move to H1 anytime ideally but the only thing is that the company who has done your H1 might be asked by the USCIS (chances are less than 1%) as to why this person (ie you) hasnt joined u yet.

    Even in that remote case, your company can always tell USCIS that you had to wind up his current employment, so had to postpone your start by 6 months. So ideally for upto 6 months after Oct 1 is no issue at all.
    And even after that if by any chance your H1 employer gets an enquiry they can easily hold off for another 6 months.
    If the enquiry never comes you re good until your L1 is cancelled.

    Hope this helped.

  12. Hi Vsuvarna,
    Currently I am working in India. This year I got the H1B from one of the consultant. I need your advice.
    1. Is it fine to travel US now?
    2. Is US IT market is very slow?

    Please advice.

  13. Sanju,
    The market is certainly slow now and some folks feel it will recover soon.
    I cannot bluntly say whether it is fine for you to travel now. 🙂 On the basis of the above post, I would encourage you to do analyse and see how the market will do for you; i.e, based on your area of technology, experience, and other points that i’ve mentioned in the post you can make an informed decision and be confident about it, rather than someone just throwing an opinion for you. 🙂
    You can check with you consultant, ask him questions and also do a research based on the job sites.
    I am sure this will really help you make the right decision.

  14. Hi SUvarna,
    The information found in your website is very educative.
    I am on L1Visa and have a H1B which gets activated in October 2008, my Quick Question is, Once I move into a newJob on my new H1B, will a simple resignation to my current employer be enough to comeout of my L1Company.
    Can I just start working with my new H1 employer this way.
    Kindly advice

  15. Thank you!
    Resigning from your L1 company will depend on what policies they have in place for people resigning while they are onshore. Since it is a common phenomenon nowadays, many IT companies have some specific termination policies in terms of notice periods etc.
    I feel it would be wise to check it well ahead in time rather than waiting till you get a job on your H1 visa.

  16. Hi suvarna the information provided by you is really great. I have some doubts and queries. I am an Australian Citizen and i am in search for IT job in Aus for 6 months. I am frustruated with this search and i am planning to move to US on E3 visa. I heard from my friends that the current Job situation is really worse and may be ok in the next year. I would like to know is it true that the job market grows in the coming year or not.
    I also need to know how the E3 visa processing for US works. Any suggestions and your opinion greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

  17. Thanks Raghu. Your friends are right. Job market is really bad here across industries due to the economic meltdown.

    From what I understand, I think it might take quite sometime to recover. One reason, many IT professionals are employed in the financial sector and since many of the banks/financial institutions here have gone bankrupt, these guys will slowly be laid off and there will be a lot of professionals available in the market.
    Second, since all other industries depend in some way, on the financial sector, they are all affected and companies may slowly start freezing the hiring process for a while.

    Third, the bailout bill, which is supposed to save the economy from the mess to an extent, has not been passed in the house. So even once that is done, the implications it will have on the job market is little known.

    I am quite certain that the market wont get all that better by the beginning of next year. Even if it does, there is a major pool of resources available here, so the competition for someone with no “US experience” will be pretty high.

    I guess you can make a good decision based on your experience level, demand for your area of technology etc. Also, if there is a possibility of getting hired by a company here who then sponsors your E3, that will be wise. But again, that will not be easy when the demand is so low.

    About the E3, i have no idea as such. I just read about it in a few sites. Check if this helps –

  18. Hi, The job market is down. There is no requirement in any levels. You can see the jobpostings and looks like they are fake and no response from them . So, it is better to be in the job you have.
    There is a huge budget cut and layoff going over in USA

    When will the market come up ? I am waiting …

  19. After getting the job after 4 months , some one said
    “Finally got placed..after 4 motnhs…husssssssssssssssssssssssh…long live America”

    Where did you get the job ? How many interviews , you have attended ? How much , you have cooked your CV. Please give the tips , so that we can wait for lesser than 4 months to get a job

  20. Hi suvarna the information you provided is pretty good and it is helpful for others also. Thanx for that and i hope you will provide some useful information for all my future queries to you. Thank you.

  21. Hi Suvarna,
    I have got H1 Stamping in the 1st week of oct-08. same question again.. is it right time(in 3rd week of Nov) to come US Consultant is chasing me to come there by 3rd week of NOV.i am middle and above middle level expert in my technology areas.
    Please advice.
    Thanks a lot in advance!!

  22. Hi Suvarna,
    Great blog and I got great insights from your blog and continuing discussions. I heard from friends that .NET have a very good market in US compared to other technologies. I am very good in .NET and have an H1B. I plan my travel on May first week of 2009. I can see lot of .NET vacancies in sites like even in these turbulent times. My observation is “Those who have skill will succeed and others will perish”. Its true in any scenario where “Survival of Fittest” reigns. Am I true?
    Thank you.

  23. thanks for the kind words, gerome.

    survival of the fittest is true to any situation. i would like to tell you what characterizes the situation here – high competition, low rates, people with US experience, excellent communication skills and confidence.

    from your comment i would gather that the only things that might bother you would be competition from people with US experience and low rates. if you have the confidence, consulting companies will know how to fix the US experience issue and if have the composure, you can get over the low rates issue. 🙂

    since you have time till may, i guess the market will get better by then and it will add to your current experience too. you can chk with consulting companies about trends, like which industries are hiring more .net developers and what extra skills might help. (like learning another technology). that way you wont waste time learning after you reach.

    its evident that companies want to cut costs by either paying too low or hiring one for the job of two. so being skilled in multiple technologies can really help that way.

  24. I have 8+yrs experience in IT maninly on Oracle Apps ERP.
    2 years in USA I worked.
    My H1B is valid from 01-Oct-2006, Due to some personal commitments I could not make in 2007.
    In 2008 due to the job market is bad I did not dare to come becaues i am family guy.
    So If I come next some time , do you see any issues I face at US immigration check out.?
    How would you see job market for Oracle Applications 11i/R12 ?

  25. hi people.
    I am currently working in IT company in India.I have 2 years of work exp.I am planning to do my MS in it right to do my masters in US based on the current US crisis?Is there a chance that market might pick by the time I complete my masters by 2010 or so if i decide to go to US for masters for spring 2009.Kindly suggest.

  26. Hi
    I have 8+ Years as Oracle DBA. Recently, I got H1 and resigned from MNC.
    Have got an offer at another company.

    My US consultant forcing me to come there find job there, saying that they will take care accommodation and all until put in to first projects. I have to come there and hunt for a job.

    But I am planning to come once I get project there?
    1] How to get job while I am in India? Is it possible?
    2] Also they are forcing me to put some US fake experience, is it necessary?

    3] Please can you give some hints that how to confirm job while I am here?

    Please advice.
    Thanks a lot in advance!!

  27. please let me know if any any of you paid any deposit to any firm in india for l1 visa and how much and what was the process.

  28. @ Thiru,
    An H1b is typically valid for 6 years. So I dont think you will face an issue at the checkout. It would be wise to check with your visa sponsor.
    I have not been active in the job market for sometime and I am not sure about your domain. Though the market is not good now, the demand for your domain would also depend on whether you want to consider a full-time or a contract job.
    Since your experience is 8+ with 2 years in the US, yours would certainly be a very competitive resume. I would suggest you go thru and and check the requirements for Oracle ERP applications. That way you will also get a feel of the industries that demand this application the most and prepare accordingly.

    In two years market will surely do better than this. The current scenario is one of the worst since the Great Depression and now that everyone knows about it and is working towards overcoming it, the situation will certainly be better. I think you might be able to make a more informed decision after the election in Nov. The next US president’s policies will have a significant effect on what kind of businesses might do better in the short and long run. Based on your career plans, if you have the time to wait till November to make a decision, I guess it would help.

    I understand your situation. It’s a tough choice. If you had less experience, even 5 years, I would suggest its not a good time to come right now. But if you have some US experience in the 8+ years you mentioned, it might be worth taking a chance.
    Ask your consultant why they are so confident when the market is down? Ask them about the jobs in your domain and cross check with sites like dice, careerbuilder and monster.
    About getting a job when in India, I have not heard of it as such, because if you are looking for a permanent job, you will surely have to be there for a face to face intw. If you are looking for contract jobs then things do work on telephone as well depending on the relationship your sponsor shares with recruiters. You can check that option with your sponsor, by giving a strong reason.
    Regarding the fake experience, it is pretty common in case of contract jobs. It’s a sure ‘no’ if you are looking for permanent positions. Generally it is done for resumes with lesser experience or ones with no US experience.

    No idea about the deposit. You can check on forums related to H1B. About the market, kindly check previous comments there have been some discussions.

    Thank you all very much for sharing your questions and views.

  29. I know how the recruiters work now a days with my experience. I am in USA now and have to give few tips for the friends
    who wish to come to USA.

    1) If some one has experienc in USA , every one assumes that they have good opportunity.
    It is not true. Every thing goes with the rate per hour your employers demands. If it is low you have an opportunity.
    How much lower is a question ? There are people who are working too low and that won’t help to save like in India.
    Please be cautious and decide , the dignity with good pay in India or just to be in USA for job.
    I suggest never give up your current job by assuming that the USA job market is good.It is known fact that the companies are not having the money to
    run the business. How can they invest in IT. An Example is General motors story. Google and she what is happening to the company.
    They have big business but no money to run the business.

    2)If your consulting company asks to come and if they are confident of getting a job, then demad the salary from day one you land here.
    They will not do that. How do you make sure that they can pay from day one ? . Ask them to give a security deposit 5000 USD.Many good companies have done in the
    past when they were confident. You would have noticed that many consulting companies would have asked to stay in India for some more time.If they are not so,
    then they didn’t understand the job market.

    3) I suggest to enter USA , if the market is good. You can see the stock market going up, Employment rate in USA is increasing etc
    I have faced the same situation in 2001 and waited for 2 years to come to USA.I didn’t loose any thing as I was in MNC at that time with good pay.

  30. I got H1b stamped in sep07, till now i have not visited to USA because of meltdown . my visa is valid up to sep 2010,
    can I apply for renewl after expiry without visiting to USA?

    any one kindly help me in this regard

  31. hi sarangi, sorry for the late reply. i had to check with a friend about this. apparently you cannot renew a visa you have never used since you would need US paystubs for renewing the visa.
    i would suggest you cross-check with the consultancy that sponsored your visa. also, there are many genuine h1b related forums and faqs available. it will be worth posting your question there to confirm.

  32. Well instead of thinking of US providing us a lot of jobs, we Indians should FIRST think of becoming self dependent on ourselves. That was the dream of Independence from British. Only Tata is the company coming up with solutions like 1lak car, air fuelled car etc. But we are putting a stop for any progress, look what happened in West Bengal. SECONDLY if we stop multiplying like bunnies we could have had better economy in India itself, we wont have to worry if 65,000 H1’s are enough. THIRDLY guys dont take this personal, but Muslims in India got to change their attitude towards life, they have 12 or 13 kids in a family and only one of the male child goes to school and doesnt complete it. Every city and town in India has an area of muslims being only meat cutters or gujiri(scrap metal) sellers. They got to start family planning and have better education, especially women.
    So lets stop thinking that we are just workers for some foreign nation and start living.

  33. Suvarna,
    Thank you for replying my previous query. I got the lottery through a Chennai based consultant this year. Till date I did not recieve an intimation from them about when to appear for consulate interview. They asked me to take the HDFC bank DD and I took the same and presented it to them. Thereafter everything is COLD. I would like to know what is the maximum permissible time to take up interview? Will my visa be lapsed if not attending consulate interview for a long time? I need your response so that I can have a session with my consultant and take further actions.

  34. I got H1b stamped in Dec07, till now i have not visited to USA because of meltdown . my visa is valid up to sep 2010,

    I have plans of coming to US in first week of US… I have experience in Microsoft Dynamics Ax( Axapta) as technical Consultant. Can you please feedback on how good market for this product..

    any one kindly help me in this regard

  35. Hi Friends…

    As per all above blogs, I understood that the US market is very down in US and this is not the right time move over.

    I am planning to stay in India till next year feb-march and will try to get Onsite client projects from India only. As my H1B visa employer has given me the leverage to stay in india with current employer and get vounage VOIP phone to india to attend telecon interviews with US clients.

    I would suggest this is the better option to be secure in this bad market conditions.

    I believe the market condition will be better next year.

    But I have a Situation…

    I have a Valid H1B -2008 Visa, and now I have to go at Client Site for some Business Meeting & Presentation.

    1. Should I have to apply for B1 Visa or I can visit on H1B Visa?

    2. If yes, and I got B1 VIsa Stamped then my H1B Visa is Still Valid or not?

    Plz let me know if anyone has any input on this.

  36. About VOIP Phones , this is illigal ..
    And US employers will call for face to face interview and will your consulting company pay for the tickets.

  37. Vic,
    This is a global economy and each and every country has to depend on the other country for mutual benifits. Why do you think that you are working for other countey ? Insted think they are depending on you for the lack of knowledge.
    We can have these thoughs , when Sun shines only for India and not for other countries.

  38. Gerome , Your h1b approval notice is valid untill your consultant revokes that. He will not do that as he has to spend 1500 USD for that. Since the opportunities are dim , he may not send the papers as there might be many in the pipeline for him to get the job.So, sit tight and do what ever job you are doing and be happy.If the market is Good , your consultant will call you. Go to goolge and check for news every day and keep updated on the things happening in USA. We have to live along with the world.

  39. Sunny,

    You can’t travel thriugh H1 as H1 is for the specific employer and if you travel , you have to work for h1 company.

    You can get seperate b1 and it will not afftec the h1. At port of Entry, office will ask you , which visa you are travelling. You have to answere B1 if you are for short trip and he will give I94 with B1

  40. Hi all,

    I finally got a project for 1 year in Las Vegas after trying for 3 months. I will be moving from L1 to H1. I would suggest all you not to lose heart. I know it is really hard. Prepare well for interviews and finally you would crack one.

    All the best!!

  41. I am sorry, I moved out of the industry few months back and do not have enough updates to comment on it.
    Thanks a lot for visiting.

  42. Hi , I am working in an IT company since 2 years and Now I am looking to go for MS in USA for the spring 2010 thinking that in the next 2years the market will be up. Is it a good decission to come for MS for spring 2010. suggest me

  43. Hi,

    I have stamped my H1B Visa on Oct 2007. Is it good time to come USA ? Please guide.

    Thanks in Advance!

  44. Hi suvarna,

    I hope you are doing well. 🙂
    I have H1B approval (approval date, Apr 2009) but I didn’t go for visa stamping bcz of current market situation and also I am in UK on company’s work permit. I talked to sponser and he suggested to take the interview from UK and once u will have offer letter the samping will become easy. Now I am confused….. I don’t know how H1B work.. I was planning to talk to my current employer to sponser my H1B so that I can join same employer in US, but I don’t know what I need to do and from where to start.

    Hope u can help 🙂


  45. Dear All….

    I had stamped H1b visa in 2007 dec. But I havent made it US yet. Is it the right time to start .

    Can anyone say :-
    I am advanced experience ETL/ABinitio/Perl/Java/Unix/Test-Automation/QA/SAN-testing in last 8.5 years of work exp.

    My Current Project is ETL DB Application developer with Top US bank , I work from Bangalore

    Earlier I worked for HP Persistent and MBT.

  46. Hey I have not seen anyone H1B hloder who loosed their job even during recession. May be Americans loosed their job but not a single H1B hloder. I know lot of people who got permanent job with 1lac $ package during recession.If market is really bad how they got permanent job and why not a single H1B hloder not returned back to India. So on what basis u ppl suggest to not to come US for new comers. Market is never bad for Indian with H1B visa in US.

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