If you want to see real diversity at work in the United States, the best example of the great melting pot is to peek inside the tech companies in Silicon Valley. You’ll see whites, blacks, Arabs, Indians, Filipinos, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and a hundred other nationalities and races working side by side. Working together happily. That is, until Donald John Trump was elected president of the country. So this got a variation of reactions from CEO’s of tech companies, whether from the big companies to startups. The mixed reactions ranged from the mildly concerned to the pressured and worried to the downright threatening. And most of these reactions are somewhat unfounded. One area of concern for some CEO’s is how to increase diversity in their workplace. For many years tech companies that needed specialized and hard-to-find technical skills have been hiring from all over the world using H1B visas. Each year the number of these visas has been increasing since there has been a steady decrease in the number of specialized technical skills from Americans of all diverse races.
However, one of Donald Trump’s upcoming policies is to bring down the H1B program to make way for more jobs open to Americans. This is because on top of the already stretched H1B program, some big companies have been hiring undocumented illegal immigrants so long as these individuals are qualified to do the work. With Trump moving to have mass deportations of all illegals in the country, some companies stand to lose valuable employees as well. Understandably, many Silicon Valley CEO’s and employees are concerned or scared. For instance, CEO Travis Katz of travel app Gogobot is concerned that he may not be able to get good technical skills from abroad if the H1B program is either downplayed or altogether removed. At the same time he is also reassuring employees that at no time will anyone be fired or removed because of their skin color, race, or beliefs. He also warned employees that a Trump win is not a license to intimidate fellow employees.
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Some CEO’s like Matt Maloney of GrubHub and HP’s Meg Whitman have issued warnings to employees that they “will not tolerate behavior that is demeaning and insulting to minorities, immigrants, and physically disabled at work or outside.” However, Whitman did reiterate that everyone should “give Trump a chance just like any other president whose been elected before.” Tim Cook, Apple CEO, released a memo on Wednesday to all Apple employees urging them to come together and unite as one in working to make Apple stronger. Cook further urged that the only way to move forward is to work so each employee can prove their worth. He made no mention of Trump although Cook is a known Republican with ties to Paul Ryan. Whatever the fears of CEO’s and employees alike, this is often completely unfounded. The bottom line is that companies only have to fear one thing: Illegal. Even with America’s shortage of people with technical skills, there are other ways around the H1B program. What companies need to fear is a backlash should they be caught with illegal and undocumented tech employees.