A widespread shortage of information technology (IT) graduates across North America is forcing Microsoft Corp. and other software companies to look to developing countries such as China to meet their needs, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates says.

“When we want to hire lots of software engineers, there is a shortage in North America—a pretty significant shortage,” Gates said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We have this tough problem: If you can’t get the engineers, then you have to have those other jobs be [relocated to] where the engineers are.”

Gates was at...

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