Is there a hi-tech hiring spree in store for Israel? -analysis

If the war in Ukraine and its geopolitical shockwaves don’t stand in the way, Israel could see a surge in hirings for its hi-tech sector.

 Facial recognition technology at the iHLS INNOTECH conference in Tel Aviv, Israel. (photo credit: MAYA MARGIT/THE MEDIA LINE)
Facial recognition technology at the iHLS INNOTECH conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.

There may be an incoming hi-tech hiring spree on the horizon, according to a report from investment platform OurCrowd – that is, if the current geopolitical turmoil caused by the war in Ukraine doesn’t get in the way.

The company’s newly-released Hi-Tech Jobs Index illustrates that start-ups have revived aggressive recruitment plans as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes – however, current global tensions could prevent the foreseen hiring wave from coming to fruition, or may at the very least delay its arrival.

“It’s important to remember that this bullish data from our report was collected and analyzed prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent events,” said OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved. “Clearly this war, worldwide inflation and continued supply chain difficulties are likely to have a negative future impact on the overall Israeli job market.”

The OurCrowd Hi-Tech Jobs Index is a quarterly survey and data series tracking vacancies and hiring patterns at hi-tech companies in Israel and abroad.

Of the companies surveyed for the 2021 report, 72% had increased recruitment in Q4 2021 and 62% planned to hire more employees in 2022 – a sharp reversal from Q3 2021, when the Delta variant triggered widespread lockdowns and travel bans.

The increased demand from Israeli high-te companies is encountering a widespread shortage of qualified candidates, with software/R&D the most sought-after staff.

By a margin of more than two to one, companies say they cannot find enough qualified applicants for open positions.

“It’s harder to find people with certain specific expertise. The ‘fight’ over highly qualified hires has increased in Q4 over Q3. In multiple cases we had to raise salaries to fight and get the employee on board,” said an anonymous start-up CEO.

The lack of qualified talent will doubtless be exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Israel, which has often relied on the Ukrainian hi-tech workforce for outsourced labor, has had to find alternatives as many Ukrainians have been forced from their homes by the conflict.

Prior to the war, Blend CEO Yair Tal elaborated on Ukraine’s popularity among the Israeli hi-tech industry: “If you speak with any team in Ukraine today, and you ask who’s actually giving them a job offer, you will see that a lot of Israeli companies are actually competing on the talent there,” he said. “It’s really become the second country after Israel to find and fight for the right talents to join your company.”

Following the war and Ukraine’s subsequent removal from the hiring pool (though perhaps only temporarily), companies have scrambled to fill the gap.

“It’s going to affect lots of Israeli hi-tech companies that are really relying on teams in Ukraine to develop and support their day-to-day business,” said Tal.

Another facet of a potential hiring surge is the increasing interest in hiring members from periphery groups, such as the ultra-Orthodox and Arab women.

“The conjunction of a job-seekers market with unfulfilled needs for quality employees, and the continuous hybrid work from home model, has the potential of increasing a much-needed diversity in the workforce in terms of periphery, gender and age,” said Laly David, partner business development at OurCrowd.

“We already see a quarter of our companies increasing their hiring from the periphery and we hope this trend will strengthen.”