Claim that there were over half a million good-paying tech jobs unfilled last year
Sources for the Claim
As can be seen in the references below, the Hillary Clinton web site contains a factsheet that was posted June 27, 2016 (according to the URL) that contains the following statement:
Meanwhile, there were over half a million good-paying tech jobs unfilled last year
The footnote  references a post on the White House Blog by Megan Smith, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer. That blog post contains the following statement:
Last year, there were more than 600,000 high-paying tech jobs across the United States that were unfilled, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields.
A google search for "600,000 tech jobs unfilled" (without the quotes) reveals a number of references but none of them give a source. However, changing the "600,000" to "half a million" reveals a number of other references, including one for the TechHire Initiative on the White House site. It states:
Today there are over half a million unfilled jobs in information technology across all sectors of the economy.
Next to it is the following graph:
As can be seen, the graph gives the BLS as the source for total openings (5 million) and Burning Glass as the source for occupations. A Computerworld analysis states the following:
This means that the administration's 545,000 unfilled IT jobs figure is based on the Burning Glass analysis. It arrived at this by counting the number of jobs over a 90-day period leading up to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 20, according to Dan Restuccia, chief analytics officer at Burning Glass.
The article also describes problems noted by Hal Salzman, a professor at Rutgers University. It states:
Burning Glass's approach draws concerns from Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University, who studies the science and engineering workforce. "They claim they deduplicate, but they don't publish their methodology; there is no external verification," he said.
Salzman believes the deduplication can be a challenge with job ads. In Salzman's own research, he has run across jobs that are posted in multiple cities that appear as if they are specific to each of those cities. The recruiters are doing this to keep prospects from automatically rejecting the job because of location, he said.
Further on, the article states:
Although the White House doesn't raise the issue of temporary H-1B workers in its training push, the use of the half-million plus job openings in its announcement creates a data point for supporters of raising the H-1B cap. But Salzman argues -- something he did along with other researchers in an Economic Policy Institute paper -- that the U.S. has a sufficient supply of STEM workers, and that the demand for guest workers isn't in large part due to unmet demand but instead meant to replace the existing supply or existing workforce.
Fake jobs can be classified into three broad groups of increasing sleaziness. The first is a company that hires directly may have some extra money in their budget for recruiting and they have to spend it in a way that will survive an internal audit. So, even though they don't currently need more people on the help desk or manning customer service, they will put an ad up to generate man hours processing the incoming applications and be able to justify it if questioned saying they're filling their database with potential recruits when the positions do become available. Head-hunters can make the same argument, they don't need anyone now, but they might in the future and putting up a fake ad means more resumes in their database, which in turn can be converted into more money in the bank.
The second motive they give is to harvest contact information and the third is full-blown identity theft and fishing scams. Following are additional reasons for fake job postings listed in an article titled The Dirty Truth: Why Employers Post Fake Jobs:
So that employers can gauge the current talent pool.
So that companies can get a back-up for your position and keep resumes on file.
To make it easier for nepotism and other unfair hiring practices to occur. When the boss wants his nephew hired, it’s not always cut and dry. In many organizations, the company needs to “look outside” for suitable candidates. Searching externally for a candidate can also satisfy any potential Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) mandates.
So that people can add you to a list.
So that criminals can thrive.
So that people can copy you. Resume plagiarism is prevalent.
Since Burning Glass doesn't publish their methodology, there's no way to judge what, if anything, they do to detect and avoid counting fake job postings.
The first problem with the claim that more than 600,000 high-paying tech jobs were unfilled in 2014 is that it is being made without providing any source. Thus far, I have only run across one reference that noted and seemed bothered by this lack of sources. Every other reference seemed to accept it at face value. Only by going back to the prior year's claim was it possible to determine that the source was Burning Glass Technologies.
The second problem is that the Burning Glass database and methodology are proprietary and cannot be examined or verified. For example, there is no way to verify that Burning Glass properly accounts for duplicate or fake ads and a number of other problems. It's fine for a private company to purchase and use their services since they are free to do whatever due diligence they feel is necessary. But it is not proper to use proprietary data to set public policy and not make it available for public scrutiny.
References to the Claim
Following are references to the claim that there were over half a million good-paying tech jobs unfilled in 2014 in the United States. This number rose to over 600,000 in 2015.