I was recently watching the San Antonio Spurs basketball team and marveling at their accomplishments (5 championships, 16 years of 50 plus win seasons, and the fact that they are currently neck and neck for the best record in the NBA despite not having as many superstars as the Golden State Warrior or Cleveland Cavaliers). As you may know, much of the Spurs success has stemmed from their longtime recruitment of foreign talent. Most notably, they won the NBA championship in 2014 with a whopping 67% of their roster born outside of the United States!
40% of the Spurs current roster features foreign-born athletes. This got me thinking — how successful would the Spurs be if they had ignored the international talent pool? Something tells me, not that successful. The same can be said for so many other NBA teams. In fact since the 1980-81, the amount of players born outside the U.S. has increased nearly 27%.
As we are only days away from the H-1B work visa application date (April 3rd), I wonder… are U.S. businesses leveraging the skilled talent that lies beyond our borders? If so, what makes this labor pool unique to businesses’ future growth?
It probably comes as no surprise to you to know that companies large and small throughout our nation are struggling to find the professional-level employees needed to grow their business. In my experiences talking with these companies, however, I’m often surprised to learn that they are unaware of the tremendous return on their investment in sponsoring highly-skilled international professionals for U.S. work visas. From the increases in revenue and production, to the creation of new opportunities for expansion, H-1B highly-skilled workers (oftentimes working alongside native-born workers) dramatically impact employers bottom line.
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Specifically, U.S. businesses are leveraging international professionals to:
Meet Hyperspecialized Needs
The U.S. economy is currently in need of more high-skilled professionals (especially in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) fields) than the U.S. educational system can produce. Unique talents and skills are often being taught outside the U.S. and that expertise cannot be found in the American workforce.
Increase Revenue and Competitiveness
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a 10% growth in a company’s H-1B population corresponds with a 3.3% increase in the number of patents awarded to that company, which ultimately drives revenue and keeps U.S. businesses innovative and ahead of the pack in the competitive global economy.
Develop New Markets
As the businesses world continues to become evermore globally oriented, companies that have an international perspective and a global focus can leverage the knowledge of foreign-born professionals to help create new and improved services and products.
Unfortunately, the window and options for hiring highly-skilled foreign workers is short. I’m working with employers nationwide, right now, to help them prepare their H-1B petitions for filing on April 3rd. After that date, there will be no H-1B visas left for this year and limited options for hiring foreign workers at any other time during the calendar year. In this global economy, companies with the best and brightest talent are the most likely to succeed. Don’t be left behind. Just like the NBA has done in recruiting foreign-born superstars to make the game of basketball more popular worldwide, U.S. employers should invest in the future growth of their businesses with the highest-skilled staff, wherever they may be.