American tech companies have been demonstrating a lot of anxiety over limits on H1B visas that allow them to temporarily employ qualified workers from abroad, because they complain there aren’t enough U.S.-grown workers to meet their needs.
But Harley Lippman begs to differ. The founder and CEO of Genesis10, a New York-based technology staffing and consulting firm, believes that agitating for more H1B visas only amounts to an easy way out for many companies that could meet their needs with a better strategy for recruiting and nurturing American-born staff.
“It reflects a lack of a true workforce strategy among many businesses in this country, particularly Fortune 1000 companies,” said Lippman, a native Detroiter who founded Genesis10 15 years ago and has been in the tech-staffing business for much longer. “They also don’t have a really good program to train people with skills. There are lots of people [in America] who could be hired, but [the companies] don’t want to pay money to do it.”
Genesis10 does have about 130 clients across industry sectors nationwide that hire its 2,000 employees and consultants to recruit, provide, train, mentor and even manage technical talent of all sorts at the companies. Its offices tend to be in low-cost cities across the U.S. where nevertheless a lot of technical talent lurks, such as Kansas City and Detroit.
Much of Genesis10’s robust growth these days is coming from its strong encouragement of “onshoring” of technical responsibilities by its clients. Genesis10 shows customers how U.S. costs are coming down while those in places like India and China are rising, how even language nuances in other English-based cultures can hurt productivity, how supervision of activities and people somewhere on the other side of the world can be difficult, and how they might be able to save net costs by hiring fewer though more expensive Americans instead of foreign workers.
Lippman said that many companies are freeing up their spending after keeping it reined in during the last several years, first because of the economy and then because of concerns about the federal government’s direction.
“They’re spending more money,” he said, “but they still are eager to keep their head counts down.”
Genesis10 / Founder and CEO: Harley Lippman
Size: Revenues of about $200 million in 2013, after organic growth averaging 29 percent a year since company’s founding in 1999. About 2,000 employees and consultants.
Location: New York
Goal: Helping clients keep jobs and invest in talent in the United States.
Fact: The name of the company comes from the 10 employees of his previous, failed company who rejoined Lippman when he staged an entrepreneurial rebirth by establishing Genesis10. He originally reached out to 12; eight of the “Genesis 10 Ten” are still with the company.
Unique: Genesis10 makes a point of helping find jobs and roles for U.S. military veterans among its clients.