Youth and Hi-tech in Israel.
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
To maintain Israel’s competitive edge as a hi-tech hub, the government approved a plan on Sunday to invest hundreds of millions of shekels in the sector’s workforce.
The program aims to strengthen the presence of skilled workers in hi-tech fields by increasing the number of university graduates in relevant professions and by providing specialty training to young people and recruiting personnel from abroad, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The decision to advance such a program was made to battle the increasing shortage of competent manpower in Israel’s hi-tech sector that is at odds with the escalating demands of the industry, according to the government. Such dueling circumstances have resulted in a rise in wages, a reality that has eroded competition in the Israeli market in comparison to other players around the world.
“The decision is an incentive for the hi-tech industry to increase the number of engineers and scientists and significantly increase the number of graduates of the relevant spheres in universities,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “The main problem we have in the hi-tech industry is meeting the demand, and for this we need skilled manpower at the highest level.”
As part of the government’s program, efforts will focus on boosting the number of university students focusing on hi-tech fields by 40% within the next six years. In addition, state investments will go toward training hundreds of young people each year in coding boot camps.
The program will also promote the training of populations typically underrepresented in hi-tech, such as women, Arab-Israelis and the ultra-Orthodox. The plans also call for encouraging the recruitment of skilled workers from abroad – both Israelis eligible to return through Immigrant Absorption Ministry frameworks and foreign experts.
As the plans unfold, the government has also decided to set up a team headed by the Defense Ministry director-general to explore ways to leverage military service as a tool for increasing the number of potential workers in hi-tech.
“The Israeli economy is undergoing a dramatic change with the rapid growth of the hi-tech sector,” National Economic Council head Avi Simhon said. “From a state that was debt stricken with an economy that knew crises, a strong and stable economy that produces technology sought after throughout the world is growing in Israel. Today’s government intends to add fuel to the hi-tech engine and remove barriers.”