Microsoft intends to more than double the number of employees in its research and development operation in Israel over the next four years, increasing its head count from about 2,000 to 4,500, the company said Wednesday.
Hundreds of open positions are currently being filled, from senior engineers to interns. This follows a period in which the global computing giant increased its Israeli R&D workforce by 30% across sites in Herzliya, Haifa, Tel Aviv and Nazareth.
Microsoft said it plans to open five sites in Israel in the coming years. A new Tel Aviv site will host more than 1,000 employees on 25,000 square-meter grounds. The company is also scouting for additional space in Herzliya of 17,000 sq.m., adjacent to the brand-new Microsoft campus that was unveiled a year and a half ago, to accommodate 1,000 additional employees.
Two development sites will be opened next year in Beersheba and Jerusalem to extend the company’s geographic reach and include underrepresented sectors, such as ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israeli Arabs. The location of the fifth site is still being considered, and will be chosen based on factors like workforce diversity, work-life balance and minimizing commute time for those intending to travel to the office, the company said.
The new facilities will join the company’s flagship sustainable and accessible campus in Herzliya launched last year. The 46,000-sq.m. building is the first in Israel to gain the highest level (3-star) Fitwel certification, which focuses on supporting a healthy workplace environment. It is also Israel’s first building to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) V4 Building Design and Construction Gold certification, ranking buildings’ sustainability and environmental impact. The campus was designed with innovation, sustainability, accessibility, inclusion and employee well-being in mind.
For the past two years, Microsoft has been named the best company in Israel by BDI and the best hi-tech company to work for in Israel by Dun & Bradstreet, the company noted.
“The establishment of the new development sites, along with the recruitment of thousands of new employees in Israel, is proof of Microsoft’s commitment and confidence in our technological impact and talented workforce,” said Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk, corporate vice president and general manager of Microsoft’s Israel R&D Center. “This expansion will help us grow, retain and recruit the most talented people to build the most cutting-edge solutions. We want Microsoft to be accessible to any candidate no matter where they live, so establishing campuses in Jerusalem and Beersheba is especially significant.”
Established in 1991, Microsoft’s R&D center in Israel was the company’s first development center outside the United States. Microsoft’s Israel R&D center now has over 30 different product groups, playing a role in the development of many of Microsoft’s core products and advanced technologies, including data security, cloud services, Big Data, digital health, autonomous driving platforms, AI and Surface devices.
A study of Microsoft workers found that most of its employees want to divide their work time between the office and off-site locations. It also showed that the ability to choose leads to higher employee satisfaction and organizational flexibility, the company said.