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Gee, Thanks! China-Based Outsourcer Lowers Minimum IQ Requirement for Americans
A China-based outsourcing company called Bleum requires that all job applicants for computer science positions have a minimum IQ of 140. Bleum recently announced that it will hire Americans who are willing to move to China—but, according to Bleum, it couldn't find enough Americans that met its minimum requirements for intelligence. Bleum decided to lower its minimum IQ to 125 to compensate for the weak talent pool in the United States:
"An IQ test is the first screen for any US or Chinese applicant.
"The lower IQ threshold for new US graduates reflects the fact that the pool of US talent available to the company is smaller than the pool of Chinese talent, Bleum said."
Chinese outsourcer seeks U.S. workers with IQ of 125 and up, by Patrick Thibodeau, Computerworld, July 7, 2010
So the Chinese are going to give Americans a break on IQ because of the smaller talent pool in the U.S. At least they understand our standards of Political Correctness well enough to know that it would be politically incorrect to say that Americans, on average, are not as smart as the Chinese.
Bleum claims that it normally only hires geniuses that would represent the 99.6 percentile of the American population. (Chinese IQ is supposed to be higher than American on average, but the tails of their IQ Bell Curve may be smaller—i.e. fewer geniuses. I haven't been able to find good numbers on how it nets out.) [VDARE.com note: Check out Richard Lynn's Global Bell Curve, and IQ And The Wealth Of Nations for actual numbers.]
In case you have never heard of Bleum, click this link to find out more: About Bleum. (Note: it now says it accepts people with IQs above 130!)
I'm not an expert on IQ like Steve Sailer. But thanks his ample reporting on VDARE.COM, I am probably in the 99th percentile of the population when it comes to understanding what IQ tests mean!
So let me share a few thoughts on the issue.
The Chinese are obviously using the IQ scale developed by Lewis Terman in 1916 that rates these IQs as follows:
- Over 140 - Genius or near genius
- 120 - 140 - Very superior intelligence
In order to get a grip on what kind of people numbers we are talking about, China has a population of approximately 1.3 billion. Therefore, the 99.6 percentile would be about 5 million people (assuming a distribution similar to whites—it could be higher).
To put this in perspective: according to the BLS the United States has about 1.3 million workers in computer software engineering and programming — which means the Chinese could in theory replace the entire U.S. computer profession almost four times over if IQ was used to screen job applicants.
Fortunately for the U.S., not all Chinese geniuses are computer science graduates — some of them are probably still using water buffalos to farm rice. But this threat to the U.S. is very real, especially considering that India probably has an even larger population.
IQ is a crude way to predict performance in computer science, or most other professions, because there are many factors that go into a successful career besides cognitive abilities. On the other hand, the U.S. military has proven that IQ has a direct correlation with performance.
Without question, there must be a minimum IQ that computer programmers need in order to function in a modern workplace environment. But judging by the wide range of IQs for CS professionals (see this table: Modern IQ ranges for various occupations, (Based on a University of Wisconsin study[PDF])programmers have a wide variability of IQ scores that range from about 100-125.
I have personally known computer programmers that would probably test fairly low on many IQ tests, because many of their skills such as reading, writing or math are substandard. But they were whiz kids once they are behind the keyboard — hence the term "geek" (Contrary to popular opinion computer programming usually requires very little math). As Steve Sailer explained, alchemists can't change lead into gold, but lead is useful anyway.
Could it be that people can be too smart for computer jobs? I don't have enough evidence to judge that scientifically, but the case of Bleum suggests an answer of "yes" to that question—because although it only hires above 140 IQ, it isn't exactly the envy of the world. It has used the 140 IQ screen for at least five years, so there's been time to prove this approach. It hasn't translated into greatness yet. I'll bet most readers have never heard of Bleum.
Of course, Bleum's problem could be that the only geniuses in the company are the programmers—not the marketers!
Basing employment on IQ isn't very fashionable in the United States. It tends to be considered inherently racist because the large average IQ between different races [America and the Left Half of the Bell Curve] and is arguably illegal after the disastrous Griggs vs. Duke Power decision.
Bleum doesn't disclose how it chose an IQ minimum of 125 for Americans. But I suppose that, hypothetically, it could be motivated by a preference for racial groups like whites or Asians who consistently score higher in IQ tests. Or it might be that IQ tests are a valuable tool that the Chinese get to use and we don't because there are no easily-offended minorities in China—further proof that diversity is not strength.
There are many questions that could be raised by Bleum's IQ tests. So let me tackle an obvious one: Why would a genius work for Bleum?
According to Dr. Norm Matloff, the 90th percentile of wages earned by American workers in the computer field is about $109,170. [On the Need for Reform of the H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa in Computer-Related Occupations, University Of Michigan Journal Of Law Reform. Fall 2003]Coincidentally, the 90th percentile mentioned by Matloff correlates roughly to the 125 IQ that Bleum set for American workers. The 90th percentile isn't genius level, so we would expect people with higher IQs to make even more.
Considering that geniuses should easily be able to make six figure salaries in the U.S, which job would a genius be likely to choose — a job in the U.S. or one in China working for Bleum?
In my opinion the answer is obvious to anyone who reads this quote from Eric Rongley, the American-born founder and CEO of Bleum:
"In fact, according to Bleum's Mr. Rongley, getting the
best in China won't be as economical as people expect it
to be. 'Most companies hire the cheapest resource. I
hire the best resource. If you want a company of
superstars, you can't pay them $3 (per hour) for a
project manager or 50 cents for an engineer. Yes,
sometimes they manage to get code developed for crazy
low prices. They have interns working on their
[SPECIAL REPORT: Outsourcing to China, by Jacqueline Zhang, Sourcingmag.com, August 2, 2005]
Fifty cents an hour?
And, while Bleum may pay more, it doesn't seem very eager to advertise its salaries either. There are lots of job openings listed on the career page at Bleum, but salaries are conspicuously missing.
One final note: According to Computerworld and numerous other webzine articles there were five Americans who got jobs at Bleum. Almost all mention of the five American geniuses stopped about July 8th.
Since then I have spent hours searching the internet to find out find out who the lucky Americans are that are moving to Shanghai for the honor or working at Bleum.
It would seem to reason that there would be at least a little fanfare about their identities. But so far I haven't found a single picture or any other clue as to who they are.
Why is there such great silence about the lucky winners?
Rob Sanchez (email him) is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization and author of the "Job Destruction Newsletter" (sign up for it here) at www.JobDestruction.com. To make a tax-deductible donation to Rob Sanchez, click here.