The Israeli hi-tech workforce has grown substantially in the past year, surpassing 300,000 workers and reaching 8.7% of Israel’s job market in 2019, according to a report by the Israel Innovation Authority released Wednesday.
The total number of hi-tech positions, not including the communications sector, has reached 307,000 by mid-2019, almost 19,000 more than at the end of 2017.
The rise is a positive indicator for the Israeli hi-tech sector, especially given the decline of 3,000 employees in the pharmaceutical industry following the crisis at pharmaceutical company Teva.
One of the most significant contributors to the increase in the workforce is the software sector, which is responsible for some 14,000 employees who joined startups, larger companies, and R&D centers.
Hi-tech jobs are characterized by high productivity and high wages, making it crucial for Israel to increase the number of hi-tech jobs in the economy.
The high salaries in hi-tech employment reflect the sector’s growing demand for employees in recent years. The government has since embarked on various initiatives to increase the number of highly skilled workers in the field.
These include 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 paths of entry into the hi-tech industry.
Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen stated that “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.”
He added that Israel is a hi-tech powerhouse and outlined the government’s plan to keep it that way.
“In a global economy characterized by technological innovation, Israel is a key player. This is evident in the number of startups in Israel and the number of leading multinationals operating here. To continue to lead in this field, we must act to keep Israeli innovation and know-how in the country and provide skilled employees with the right platform to fill the many jobs offered in hi-tech,” he said.
Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, said the government has been trying to increase the hi-tech employment for years but has not seen significant growth in recent years. “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,” he said.