If you are a business executive or a hiring manager, we don’t need to tell you how tight the job market is right now.

In the United States, there are about two job openings for every one person looking for a job. But what you may not know is that there is an overlooked labor market eager to work in the U.S. and in sophisticated economies worldwide.

Who are we talking about? U.S.-educated international students. 

What the numbers show

According to a May 2022 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States recorded record job openings in March 2022, around 11.5 million. Hires for that month, however, only numbered about 6.7 million. 

That same report shows a growing demand for college-educated employees in high-skill industries. Openings by industry included:

  • Health care and social services: 2.1 million
  • Professional and business services: 2.1 million
  • Manufacturing 860,000
  • Finance and insurance: 370,000
  • Information: 202,000

Not only are the vacancies unfilled, American students “are not entering those industries in sufficient numbers, and the United States is projected to face a shortage of one million STEM workers by 2022,” according to the New American Economy. This is where international students in in-demand skills come in. 

Untapped talent 

In any given year, there are about 1.1 million international students earning degrees at U.S. colleges and universities. They come here because the global economy recognizes American degrees as the finest in the world, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

As part of their degrees, international students are legally authorized to work in the U.S. for internships and full-time jobs; those with STEM degrees are eligible to work for up to three years after graduation, before any cost or paperwork may be required of the employer. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO said that allowing more immigrants into the U.S. would help mitigate inflation and labor shortage. “We need more workers,” Suzanne Clark said. “We should welcome people who want to come here, go to school, and stay.”

While systemic immigration reform is needed, there’s nothing stopping employers from better tapping into the pool of students and graduates from top schools who are already in the U.S. today and eager for opportunities.

Besides just filling vacancies in your organization, there are plenty of reasons why you should hire international students, including how they may serve your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives.

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