The percentage of employees in Israel’s hi-tech industry rose to 8.7 percent by end of 2018, bringing the number of hi-tech positions (not including the communications sector) to over 307,000 by mid-2019.
By World Israel News Staff
Israel experienced a steep rise in employment of close to 19,000 salaried employees during 2018 in the hi-tech sector.
This increase occurred despite a decline of 3,000 employees in the pharmaceutical sector following the crisis at the end of the year at pharmaceutical company Teva, when thousands were laid off.
The software sector is responsible for a significant part of the 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 (IIA) to diversify paths of entry into the hi-tech industry.
In addition, the IIA is working to promote “holistic” hi-tech companies – companies whose primary business activity is based in Israel that would employ a diverse range of employees in Israel.
The IIA is also working to nurture future engines of growth in the hi-tech industry, investing approximately NIS 500 million annually in life sciences – a sector in which Israeli industry has made impressive scientific achievements but has yet to fulfill its full potential. A major program in this sector is expected to be launched this year.
“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.
“In a global economy characterized by technological innovation, Israel is a key player,” Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen said.
“This is evident in the number of startups in Israel and in the number of leading multinationals operating here,” he added. “In order 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.”
IIA CEO Aharon Aharon said: “The rate of workers employed in the hi-tech sector has stood at eight percent for about a decade, and for the first time we’ve seen a real positive trend in this figure. We are acting to significantly increase the rate of employment in hi-tech and in innovative companies in every sector, so that a larger percentage of the country’s workforce can enjoy high paying, high-quality jobs.
“This has been an ambitious and challenging task, and this positive trend is a result of a successful partnership between several government ministries. We welcome this collaboration.”