If you build it, they will come

If Jerusalem's future lies in hi-tech, there is still a long way to go.

jerusalem 88 (photo credit: )
jerusalem 88
(photo credit: )
"We can't fill all our vacancies with just Jerusalem people," said Liat Romanoff of NDS Israel at last week's hi-tech job fair. "We are actively looking for people from Tel Aviv and the center of the country." Multinational high-tech companies such as Intel, NDS and Ophir Optronics were among more than 20 firms to be represented at the Know-How and Technology Industries Employment Fair in Har Hotzvim. This is the third time the fair has been held, with the intention that it will become a bi-annual event. The companies at the fair had over 1,200 vacancies that needed filling, but only around 480 applicants will be seriously considered for the positions, according to event organizer Nisan Lieblein. "Maybe 15% of the vacancies will be filled ultimately," he said. Romanoff talked about how the skilled labor shortage in the capital was impacting their target of recruiting 100 new workers every year. When the company last participated in the fair, it ended up hiring 10 people who had originally applied there. One of the incentives NDS is touting to attract people from the center of the country to work in their Jerusalem offices is a generous relocation package. This includes an offer to pay for moving costs, as well a couple of hundred dollars per month to help with the first year's rent. The municipality is also trying to persuade hi-tech workers to move to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Development Authority is giving out grants to hi-tech recruits of NIS 1,500 a month for the first year, and NIS 1,000 a month for the second year. Despite incentives like these, visitors to the fair had mixed feelings. "It's very nicely done and it's well organized," said job-seeker Kira Soleveitchik. "But some of the recruiters don't speak English, which is strange in this kind of industry, and it would be nice if they would have had more non hi-tech jobs." Similar sentiments were echoed by Akiva Goldblum, who said of the fair, "If you're not interested in IT and telecommunications, then you're wasting your time here." Yissachar Ruas also complained that the fair was aimed at a very high level. "There's no-entry level jobs here, not one company apart from IDT that caters to the lower end of the job spectrum," he said.