As Mukmel explains, the problem in this case is a long-term one that will damage the hi-tech industry, and correspondingly, the commercial office space sector.
By JOHN BENZAQUEN
The commercial real estate sector, especially office buildings, is in a fluid state. There has been an increase in construction, but some experts are wondering if demand will increase as supply grows.One of those who has raised questions about the market’s ability to absorb the vast supply created each year is Jacky Mukmel, chairman of CBRE Israel, one of Israel’s leading commercial real estate companies.“I’m concerned about the long-term ability of the market to meet demand for the commercial office sector,” Mukmel told Maariv, The Jerusalem Post’s sister paper in Hebrew. “The main demand for office space comes primarily from the hi-tech industry, and I’m pessimistic about the industry’s ability to continue to develop at a rapid pace.”“The hi-tech industry is based on a professional workforce that constantly renews itself, and Israel’s educational system cannot create a constant flow of graduates who can fill the ranks. Some are talking about importing workers from India and I am worried that this is a prescription for disaster.”As Mukmel explains, the problem in this case is a long-term one that will damage the hi-tech industry, and correspondingly, the commercial office space sector.“If the high-tech industry begins to import foreign manpower to work as programmers, engineers, and developers, I think it may be the beginning of the end of Israel’s hi-tech industry,” he said.When asked by Maariv if this is an exaggeration, he says, “No, because it has happened in the past. Thirty years ago, Israel was a leading global diamond polishing center. Thousands of people worked in the industry, we developed special technologies, and we were an example to the world. Even then, there was a workforce problem, and one of the solutions was to bring in Indian workers. It worked, but only for a short time. Gradually, polishing centers closed in Netanya and Tel Aviv and opened in India. This occurred because some of the workers who came to Israel had entrepreneurial qualities and took the technologies they learned here and brought them to India. Today there are no diamond polishers in Israel. Why not learn from experience?”Mukmel is participating in the 2019 Maariv Leaders Conference that will be held Thursday at the Daniel Hotel in Herzliya. CBRE is the leading company in the world in the area of commercial real estate and CBRE Israel is its Israeli subsidiary.
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