This is according to a report published by the Taub Center for Social Policy Research in Israel. The barrier: the lack of skills of Haredim and Arabs
Israel has reached the exhaustion of human capital in high-tech. This is according to a report published by the Taub Center for Social Policy Research in Israel.
The author, Gilad Brand, explains that Israel is considered the start-up nation, but the share of the high-tech sector in total employment in the economy is only about 8 percent. However, this sector is of great importance to the economy, being the source of a quarter of income tax payments, and recently a comprehensive reform was approved to encourage employment in the sector.
However, despite the high salary levels in hi-tech, the employment rate in the industry has remained almost unchanged for over a decade, and there are data indicating that employers are having difficulty filling jobs; Demand and supply surveys in the labor market by the Central Bureau of Statistics consistently show 3 that the number of vacancies in the fields of science, engineering and information technology is higher than the number of job seekers.
In recent years, several government programs have been launched designed to expand the supply of workers suitable for the field. Among other things, the quotas for students in the fields of computer science were increased, vocational training tracks were launched that include intensive and dedicated high-tech training programs (coding bootcamp) and a reform was implemented to encourage mathematics studies on an increased scale in high schools.
In addition to this, in January 2017 a comprehensive government program was approved to increase the supply of skilled high-tech workforce. The program includes encouraging the immigration of skilled workers from abroad who are returning residents, or are entitled to citizenship by virtue of the Law of Return, as well as facilitating the granting of work licenses to foreign experts. In order to improve the existing stock of human capital, the program proposes to expand the scholarships awarded to students in the technological fields, to launch programs to expose students to science and technology within the framework of informal education, and to subsidize conversion courses to integrate academics into the high-tech industry. The reform also offers a subsidy for extra-academic training, such as digital courses, the expansion of the technological subjects taught in seminars for ultra-Orthodox women, and the creation of an orientation and placement envelope that focuses on populations that are currently underrepresented in high-tech - women, Arabs and ultra-Orthodox women.
The study examined the extent of the potential inherent in this program, using the OECD Graduate Skills Survey (PIAAC). The study shows that the potential for further expansion of employment in the high-tech sector among the adult population in Israel is low, at least in the short term. The reasons for this are that today the proportion of high-tech workers is relatively high in the world, while the rest of the workers in the economy - mainly among Arabs and ultra-Orthodox - are characterized by a very low skill level. Because of this, the gaps between the skills of the high-tech workers in Israel and the skills of the workers in the other branches of the economy are the widest among all the comparison countries, and it seems that the high-tech field has already absorbed most of the workers capable of working in it.
It was also found that due to low proficiency in English and a low general skill level (as measured in the survey), in the short term the potential for expanding employment in high-tech among the ultra-orthodox population and the adult Arab population is particularly low. The little existing potential is focused precisely on the non-Orthodox Jewish population, to which the majority of hi-tech workers belong anyway. These findings emphasize that the transfer of professional training to employees will have only a limited effect, and in order to increase the employment potential in the high-tech sector in the long term, the deficiencies in the education system must be corrected, especially among ultra-Orthodox and Arabs.
For the full study - Can the startup nation grow?