How The Purple Squirrel Syndrome Drives Fake IT Skill Shortages

Executive Summary

  • Companies routinely state they need H1-Bs so they can access skills.
  • Their obsession with short term immediate, specific skills is what creates this fake shortage.


Companies have become obsessed with hiring workers that meet the exact list of IT skills that are in their job requirement. This is true even though the hottest IT skills are always changing. They are also obsessed with not providing any training or time to learn new technologies.

This is explained in the following quotation.

Silicon Valley employment agent Andrew Gaynor stated that shortsighted employers who are insisting on a given skill will let a job go unfilled for months, when in fact an experienced programmer without the skill could easily come up to speed in a few weeks. – University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 

If this is not a short term obsession, what would be the definition?

In other words, whether sincerely or not, the employers have defined the term shortage in such a manner that a shortage is guaranteed to occur. – University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 

How Common is the Purple Squirrel Job Description?

It is amazing to read job descriptions that combine skills and domain expertise that a person would not acquire through any job. For example, some of the SAP requirements I have seen requester a deep functional SAP resource, who also has specific and unusual industry expertise, as well as the ability to program. Programmers tend to not know business requirements and not be functional resources. In many cases, job descriptions appear to be more a wish list rather than anything realistic that would match a particular human.

The Logic for the Purple Squirrel

What is one of the points of having unrealistic expectations regarding the combination of skills desired in a job description?

Well, one purpose is used by Indians who create lengthy lists of requirements that can’t be met by any human, so that they can rig the hiring process to bring in their own Indian candidate — who of course will put anything on their resume stated in the job description, as we cover in the article How Indian Recruiters Gain Access to Unpublished Roles.

A second purpose is for the company to complain about a “skill shortage.” This can then be used to argue for more foreign workers being brought into the country.


Companies create many of their problems in their human resource management, and they then complain about these outcomes, that are based upon their greed and idiocy, to politicians so that cheaper foreign labor can be accessed. These types of self-inflicted “skills gaps” are then used to justify the H1-B visa program.