Amid an onslaught of firings, how have these start-ups survived?

Despite the ongoing firing trend which has led to the termination of hundreds of employees, these companies have managed to hold strong and even grow.

 Women in tech - illustrative (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Women in tech - illustrative
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

More than 44 layoff announcements from different companies declaring the termination of hundreds of employees in just the last four months have highlighted an ongoing period of industry instability – likely due in part to post-COVID finance fluctuations and increasing hiring pool woes, two factors which have strongly characterized 2022 in the Israeli hi-tech sector.

While the wave of firings continues to rock the Start-Up Nation, there are companies who have still managed to weather the storm and keep a firm hold on their employees, in some cases even taking the opportunity to reach into the newly expanded pool of jobless hi-tech people and expanding their ranks.

“First of all, we made sure that in terms of budget and expenses, we’d still be able to recruit,” said HUB Security chief of staff Ayelet Bitan. Her company has seen massive growth in the past year, which she explained is largely thanks to a frugal spending mentality. While the Israeli start-up scene is somewhat renowned for its frequent happy hours, office celebrations and work outings, HUB Security has played things a little more conservatively.

“We’ve never been a lavish kind of company, and we like to do stuff in-house and to be very efficient,” she said. “We have a modest approach to handling the company and the employees and the events and everything, so our economic state is quite good.”

That mentality led HUB Security to keep things lean while it was in its initial stages, in order to prevent bloating that could impact both finances and productivity. “Once you recruit too many people and your teams are too big, then the work becomes more complicated and processes get longer,” she said. “We think a lot before we start recruiting for any position.”

Surviving the downsizing trend

According to Hilit Paz-Lachower, VP of human resources for the business management platform Priority Software, another pivotal role in a company’s ability to survive the downsizing trend is maturity.

“Fortunately, Priority was not influenced as we are an experienced, growing and profitable company. The ‘firing trend’ impacted mostly new companies and start-ups,” she wrote to me in an email.

“Fortunately, priority was not influenced as we are an experienced, growing and profitable company. The ‘firing trend’ impacted mostly new companies and start-ups.”

Hilit Paz-Lachower, VP of human resources for the business management platform Priority Software

Priority has taken on dozens of new workers in the past few months – in fact, despite the current challenges facing the industry, the company is currently at the peak of its growth, having acquired five companies since early 2021 and showing no sign of stopping yet.

Paz-Lachower explained that the current competition for the best talent in the market is more lax than it has been in the past, but her department is still using any means necessary to cast its net for skilled workers.

“We use every platform – social media, recruitment companies, the ‘friend brings a friend’ program, basically every way [possible],” she wrote. “Now that the market has seen some downturn and companies are laying off employees, the competition is lower.”

When asked whether she expected the wave of layoffs to peter out any time soon, Paz-Lachower was confident that the worst is yet to come. “Not yet. I believe we still have the peak of the firing trend ahead of us,” she wrote.

Hi-tech industry becoming more balanced

This sentiment was contested, however, by Hagar Man Sarusi, head of digital and innovation for the HR consulting organization Maof Group. “It seems like, after the very extreme situation the hi-tech industry [reached], now it’s getting back to being a bit more balanced,” she wrote.

That said, Man Sarusi didn’t deny that it’s still hard to scoop up the freshly available talent before anyone else does, primarily because “the [hiring] pool is a bit more full, but still not enough to fill all the demand” among companies that are actually looking to expand. “It’s still very hard to find talent in the hi-tech industry. Workers with experience can get a lot of job opportunities each month and they have” many choices.