Intel Israel lays off dozens amid ongoing hi-tech firing wave

More than 900 employees have lost their jobs in December over market uncertainty

 US chipmaker Intel Corp's logo is seen at the entrance to their "smart building" in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv, Israel December 15, 2019.  (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
US chipmaker Intel Corp's logo is seen at the entrance to their "smart building" in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv, Israel December 15, 2019.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Amid an ongoing storm of hi-tech layoffs in Israel, Intel Israel has thrown its hat into the ring, having dropped dozens of employees over the last few weeks.

“As a response to the market conditions and the macroeconomic changes, global Intel is acting to reduce expenses amounting to billions of dollars over the next three years, including by making the size of teams more efficient and limiting the recruitment of employees, which will result in a certain reduction of the workforce across the world, including in Israel,” read a statement from the firm.

Two months ago, the company announced its decision to start implementing cutbacks, and that global centers were to reduce expenses while resorting to layoffs as a last resort. Earlier this year, Intel froze hiring in its desktop and laptop chip-making division as a method of reducing expenses.

“As a response to the market conditions and the macroeconomic changes, global Intel is acting to reduce expenses amounting to billions of dollars over the next three years, including by making the size of teams more efficient and limiting the recruitment of employees, which will result in a certain reduction of the workforce across the world, including in Israel.”

Intel

The logo of Intel, the world's largest chipmaker is seen at their offices in Jerusalem (credit: REUTERS)The logo of Intel, the world's largest chipmaker is seen at their offices in Jerusalem (credit: REUTERS)

Are all of these layoffs really a trend?

Intel’s move follows numerous other layoffs throughout the hi-tech industry in 2022. Just last week, Israeli mobile game development firm Playtika recently laid off 610, bringing the count of dropped hi-tech employees in just December to over 910.

Overall, thousands of workers have lost their hi-tech jobs in Israel this year. But, the amount laid off is far from unexpected.

“The average percentage of layoffs in hi-tech in the past decade has been somewhere between 3% and 5%, meaning that in today’s numbers, we’re looking into something between 15,000 and 20,000 people being laid off – that’s what we were expecting to begin with,”  explained Dr. Assaf Kovo, chief economist at the Israel Innovation Authority. “We’re not sure of the exact numbers, because the Central Bureau of Statistics doesn’t report that number, but from official numbers, we believe that [the current year’s layoffs] are something in that vicinity.”

Even though there has been a large amount of layoffs, they’re not unusual when observed from a yearly perspective. Based on prior years’ data, Kovo explained, 2022’s layoffs are far less of an unusual occurrence than media channels are making them out to be.

“The main trend that we’re seeing is the interest of the media in layoffs, not necessarily the scale of layoffs,” he said. It’s possible that these layoffs have garnered more attention due to a few factors, such as 2022 following a banner hi-tech year in Israel in 2021, a generally more bearish news cycle as of late given geopolitical issues, or just a case of right place, right time.

Whatever the case may be, it’s critical to note that, despite firings happening every other week, the hi-tech industry is currently growing, just as it has for years. From January to December of 2022, the official number of hi-tech workers has risen from 356,000 to 370,000, an increase of nearly 4%.