Hi-tech worker demand stable in '06 [p. 15]

Demand for hi-tech workers remained stable in 2006 as the war in Lebanon and global trends offset the growth seen in the first half of the year. "2006 was on the whole a year of stability in requests for hi-tech workers," said Idit Padan CEO of human resources company MIT Israel, citing results of the firm's monthly survey of help-wanted advertisements placed in the Hebrew press. "The first half of the year was characterized by growth, compared to the second half which was influenced by the war and the situation in the global market." Nevertheless, MIT said its survey showed significant growth in the demand for certain job types. Requests for management positions, MIT said, grew 53.7% in 2006, while the demand for team leaders were up 35.2% for the year. Positions available for programmers grew 15.3% and for software engineers by 27.3%, it added. MIT reported that the Manpower Index rose 1.8 percent in 2006 to 116.4, compared to 114.3 the previous year. The firm uses the 2002 figures as its base year. The survey showed the fourth quarter had a 9.5% rise from the third quarter but still a decline of 9.5% from the parallel September to December period 2005. Padan noted the slow end to the year after the index dropped 0.8% in December from November and by 14% from the last month of 2005. Conversely, the first six months showed 18.5% growth in the demand for hi-tech workers, compared to January through June 2005, and 62.3% from 2004. "It seems from the statistics that the recovery of the hi-tech market, from the bubble burst [in 2000] is over and we now have natural and stable growth," MIT said. Separately, the Haifa Technion said Sunday some 3,000 hi-tech jobs will be up for grabs at the annual employment fair scheduled to take place at the campus Wednesday. The Technion said that 45 leading Israeli companies will participate in the fair spread across 89 pavilions. The event is gaining in interest from hi-tech companies - last year it attracted 30 companies with 67 booths and in 2004 just 16 companies recruited at the fair, the Technion reported.