Jake Levant
Jake Levant

StartUp Nation’s Worst Export: Jobs

We are exporting our best jobs abroad because we can’t fill the demand locally.

But, reading the business news of every Israeli paper, you are sure that things are on track. Moreover, you are sure to feel a sense of pride: High tech funding, IPOs and growth everywhere. Covid has only sparked faster growth for Silicon Wadi. 

RECORD NUMBER OF JOB VACANCIES

Read more and you’ll hear about the hundreds of jobs available at each of the latest, listed companies. All wooing their new recruits with better terms, dog-friendly environments and in-house chefs. And, with more than one hundred thousand (!!!) job vacancies in Israel, you’d be sure that the economy is humming at full capacity.

Data from: https://www.cbs.gov.il/he/mediarelease/DocLib/2021/232/20_21_232b.pdf

Taking it further, high tech companies compete with one another to attract talent – spending copious amounts of money on billboards plastering Azrieli center and Herzilya and wooing the press with stories of their great working conditions and benefits in the press.

BUT GROWTH ONLY FOR THOSE IN TECH

But for too many Israelis, this high tech success is only something they can watch from afar. The thousands of job vacancies posted require high tech experience and training that they simply don’t have. 

credit https://www.linkedin.com/posts/transmit-security_cybersecurity-transmitsecurity-identityexperiences-activity-6816012675147931648-6-4k

Today’s unemployed, and under-employed come with incredible skills sets – but no high tech experience. They may have decades of proven success, language, business network and are savvy. But that is not enough for even “entry level” sales jobs:

1+ years of relevant business development experience in SaaS companies – DevOps / DevTools / CyberSecurity – Must”

Previous experience in SDR- must!”

“1+ years’ experience in a SDR/ BDR position, at a B2B or SaaS company”

HOW CAN OLIM AND OTHERS START THEIR 2ND CAREER IN TECH?

With nearly a quarter million unemployed Israelis, it’s time to think about massive reskilling programs.  Today, unemployment stands at a 6 year high of 225,200. We cannot wait for ‘higher education’ to train the next generation of tech. We need to create programs that can reskill un/underemployed quickly to help feed the growth of the entire startup nation.

Without reskilling programs people cannot find their way into a new career.  And they don’t. And instead of filling them in Israel with our massive olim network, Israeli companies are hiring talent abroad. 

OUR WORST EXPORT: HIGH PAYING JOBS

With a shortage of experienced and skilled candidates with high tech experience, we are witnessing two phenomena.

  1. Salaries of those already in high tech continue to rise. Astronomically.  Reports have high tech salaries increasing more than 18.45% last year
  2. Companies are recruiting new talent in ‘cheaper’ locations – like America. Israeli companies are now shifting their marketing and sales recruiting to the US as it’s more economical.

WE NEED RESKILLING PROGRAMS NOW

For more than a decade, Israel has focused its education and reskilling efforts on creating more developers. And while we’ve seen progress, we are still desperately short of developers in Israel. But, these programs have ignored other positions that are equally important, and perhaps easier to train for – business positions.

What’s surprising is that many vacancies are for non-technical positions. Sales, customer support, account management. These are problem-solving jobs that require detail-oriented, driven individuals. No fancy degrees or technical skills needed. Just adapting many common skills towards the new industries. 

Israel needs to create a new breed of training programs – ones that can more quickly adapt to new industrial trends. Rather than investing in ‘slow turning 4-year degrees’, we need to encourage practical skill-building that is in step with market demands. One that can address the 100,000 vacancies that are open today. 

So while today it might be product management, customer success or account management, tomorrow it might be sales and digital marketing. We need to be nimble. Otherwise, we will continue ‘offshoring’ high tech jobs to America.

INCENTIVIZE BUSINESS TO HIRE LOCALLY 

We need more active partnership between high tech companies and job seekers and the government to play a facilitating role.

  • We should provide tax incentives for reskilling workers – and not just for establishing Intel chip factories.
  • We need to think about proactively subsidizing and supporting education for high tech training programs, not just for university degrees.
  • We need hiring incentives for 2nd careers, not just unemployment benefits.

PRIVATE INITIATIVES ARE A START

Until then, we will rely on more grassroots programs like www.salesclass.co to lead the way. Started by high tech olim and in partnership with Nefesh b Nefesh, the intensive 6-week program has produced remarkable results in reskilling 80 olim into careers in high tech sales in 6 months. 

More than 60 of those have found their second careers in Israel’s high tech industry.  They’ve doubled their salaries in 6 weeks. They’ve started their new careers and, most importantly, they are now actively building startup nation.

If you are looking to join skill-up nation, take a look at some of the videos below. It’s time to reskill to start your 2nd career.

Let’s keep our best jobs local. 

Here are some examples of hope and inspiration for reskilling

About the Author
Canadian who moved to Israel 20 years ago, working in technology sales and marketing and loving life in the holy land.
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