Israel has experienced a steep rise in employment of close to 19,000 salaried employees during 2018 in the hi-tech sector, despite a decline of 3,000 employees in the pharmaceutical sector following the crisis at pharmaceutical company Teva. The software sector is responsible for a significant part of this increase – some 14,000 employees joined this field at startups, larger companies, and R&D centers.
Employment in the hi-tech sector is characterized by high productivity and high wages, making it critical for Israel to increase the percentage of those employed in the hi-tech sector out of the total number of employees throughout the economy.
The growth in hi-tech employment reflects the sector’s growing demand for employees in recent years and has been facilitated by a variety of government initiatives to increase the number of highly skilled workers in the field. This includes efforts by the Council for Higher Education to increase the number of students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) studies, and initiatives by the Israel Innovation Authority to diversify the paths of entry into the hi-tech industry, including: Coding Boot Camp, which promotes advanced training in software and data science in non-academic settings; and entrepreneurship tracks in the Arab sector, the ultra-Orthodox, and women.
Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen said: “Increasing the number of employees in the hi-tech market is an important accomplishment, considering the industry’s contribution to Israel’s economy and exports. This is even more significant given that the rise in the number of hi-tech employees comes after years when there was no growth in the number of new workers in this sector.”
CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, Aharon Aharon said: “The rate of workers employed in the hi-tech sector has stood at 8% for about a decade, and for the first time we’ve seen a real positive trend in this figure.”