(September 8, 2022 / JNS) Israel is known as the startup capital of the world. While the United States has Silicon Valley, Israel has its Silicon Wadi.
While it may seem like the Silicon Wadi is its own bubble, the high-tech industry in Israel is much more international than it lets on. Over the past few decades, both public and private Israeli organizations have made tremendous efforts to attract young tech talent from all around the world to fill high-skill roles.
Due to a combination of Israel’s innovative culture, government support and a welcoming network of programs designed to support highly skilled immigrants, Israel has become a top destination for tech professionals.
Israel is an excellent place for tech workers to flourish; in part, because of its immense demand. According to The Jerusalem Post, the tech labor force is lacking an estimated 13,000 to 20,000 engineers as well as high-tech personnel. Additionally, 60% of high-tech companies say they have difficulty hiring appropriate staff.
In response, Israel’s public and private sectors are investing in groundbreaking methods to attract young tech talent from around the world. Not only is Israel addressing the labor shortage—it’s also finding top candidates that contribute to the tech industry’s unprecedented success and continued growth.
Here are some ways in which Israel is recruiting tech workers:
1. The Israel Innovation Authority Is Giving Millions in Grants
This summer, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) committed NIS 15 million (about $4.5 million) to attract skilled workers from abroad and train skilled workers who are already living in Israel. One area the IIA is focusing on is bio-convergence, in which life sciences and biology meet software and engineering. Grants are being given in order to train workers in this industry. Dror Bin, CEO of the IIA, said, “We are sure that this diversification of manpower in the local ecosystem will help maintain local high-tech’s position as a global leader.”
2. MasaTech Is Training the Next Generation of Tech Experts
Masa Israel Journey’s MasaTech is a competitive career-relocation program that places global tech professionals in world-class Israeli tech companies. In early July, MasaTech hosted “Your Next Step in Tech,” an event that featured industry leaders and CEOs from Israeli companies like the IIA, Wix and Lightricks, as well as international giants like Microsoft. More than 1,000 tech professionals from around the world attended this event over Zoom, networking with one another and hearing career advice from the experts over the course of the day.
“I believe that we have encouraged international tech talent to come to Israel through MasaTech, which offers a relocation package to those who want to advance their career in the technology sector in Israel,” said Director of MasaTech and Career Center Manager Ilia Rabkin.
3. The Israeli Government Is Expediting the Law of Return for Tech Professionals
In late 2021, the Interior Ministry, Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen and the IIA created a program to expedite the Law of Return for eligible tech professionals who want to work in Israel. Under this fast-track system, Israeli companies are able to submit requests for people who are eligible to make Aliyah. Participating companies could be exempt from paying certain fees.
4. Companies Are Taking Creative Approaches
Companies are taking matters into their own hands to fill talent gaps. CodeValue, which offers cloud and software solutions, started an intensive three-month training camp in which people who don’t have tech experience can pay a fee to learn the basics. Then at the end, CodeValue considers hiring the graduates.
Another company, Snappy, which allows customers to send corporate gifts, has a “friend brings a friend” referral program, in which anyone recommending someone who ends up being hired receives a voucher for NIS 10,000 (approximately $3,064) worth of gifts from the Snappy catalogue and a donation of NIS 5,000 (approximately $1,532) to a charity of their choice.
At a time of uncertainty in labor markets around the world, Israel is a model for recruiting locals and attracting foreign workers to fill the gaps. Highly-skilled immigrants regularly arrive from across the globe through these innovative programs, ensuring that the Silicon Wadi continues to thrive as the tech capital of the Middle East.
Kylie Ora Lobell is a freelance writer in Los Angeles. She has written for “New York Magazine,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Washington Post,” “The Jewish Journal,” Aish, Tablet, Chabad.org, “The Forward” and JTA.
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