Israel’s employment market for IT talent has been tight over the past few years, driven by billions of dollars of investment in local startups and expansion of multinationals’ research and development presence in the past year.
With the number of tech vacancies rising 8 percent in 2019 to 18,500, job seekers have been in the driver’s seat. CIOs and recruitment directors, on the other hand, have had to employ unconventional solutions to source talent to fill open positions. The demand for Israeli tech innovation in areas like artificial intelligence and big data has driven a thirst for Python developers and data scientists.
The arrival of the coronavirus health crisis and the accompanying economic pullback cooled off the demand. Companies concerned about revenue loss and startup ventures worried about an inability to raise new funding froze hiring plans through the first two months of the outbreak.
“We saw a 30 to 40 percent decrease in job openings. Many startups will not get funding in the near future, so they don’t have the ability to hire people in the near future. Multinationals were sitting on the fence at the beginning of the crisis,” said Dana Bash, CEO of iTalent, an IT job staffing and recruitment company.
Some companies took advantage of the crisis to let go of weaker IT talent, said Eyal Solomon, CEO of Ethosia, an IT recruiter. “The demand for engineers is coming back down to earth” but salaries haven’t gone down for those with experience.
Developers, AI specialists still in demand
The most in-demand jobs haven’t been changed that much by the pandemic. Companies are still hungry for algorithm developers, python programmers, and machine learning specialists.
However, as companies encourage at-home work and thin out their offices to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the new dispersed employee deployment is driving demand to bolster enterprise network security and the security in the development of their applications, said Ronen Engler, a vice president for sales at the Israeli technology services company Matrix and the CEO of its tech placement subsidiary, SeeV.
“Organizations need to focus on cybersecurity because, on the one hand, they’ve given permission for people to work from home, and on the other hand, they’ve become more exposed to attacks,” said Engler. “This is the reason why there is more demand for cybersecurity researchers throughout the organization and more IT infrastructure security.”
The pandemic has also accelerated IT trends that were already under way before the outbreak, like the increasing number of organizations that are deciding to move their computing hardware from on-premises locations to the cloud.
“You can see that there’s a lot of demand now for the cloud and for infrastructure in the cloud,” Engler said. “When they move to the cloud they have to have people that know how to do DevOps engineering and maintenance. There’s a boom.”
Below are some of the most in-demand specialist IT roles in Israel. Much of the salary information is based on an April survey by Israeli human resources company, Ethosia. Average salary ranges are provided in new Israeli shekels (NIS) and U.S. dollars on a per-month basis for employees with two to four years’ experience in a given field.
22,000-25,000 NIS (US$6,400 – $7,250) per month
Coders fluent in Python have been in demand in recent years, with salaries rising 10 percent in 2019, according to the SeeV employment agency. The data science community has embraced the language for artificial intelligence and machine learning, which help organizations gain key insights from the vast amount of information that they collect. Python is used for automation, data collation and web development.
22,000-28,000 NIS ($6,400 – $8,130) per month
Developers in this role write instruction sets and create mathematical equations that form the basis for computer programs; programmers take the instructions and mathematical models and translate them into code that computers can execute. An example of one of a myriad use cases, financial services companies have employed applications researchers to find equations that make trading in public markets more efficient and profitable.
15,000-20,000 NIS ($4,360 – $5,800) per month
The job of cybersecurity analysts is to detect and prevent cybersecurity threats to an organization. The role involves analysing an organization’s security policies and protocols, and probing for weaknesses. In addition, the specialist plans, implements and upgrades security controls. In the event of a breach, security specialists respond to and remediate the vulnerability.
20,000-26,000 ($5,800 – $7,500) per month
DevOps engineers work with coders and IT staff to help streamline and automate code development, testing and deployment. They can hail from the discipline of programming as well as IT systems administration, to synchronize the work of both professionals. The shift to cloud infrastructure and the need for constant updates have increased demand for professionals who can harmonize the process of development, testing and production.
22,000-27,000 NIS ($6,400 – $7,800) per month
Data scientists take reams of data and use analytic tools to extract valuable and actionable insights. Businesses use data scientists to identify customer preferences and detect market trends. Data scientists are familiar with the algorithms that companies can use to analyze their information. “They can implement models and use tools, but usually they are more on the analytic and business intelligence side of the company,” said Eyal Solomon, CEO of Ethosia.
Machine Learning Experts
35,000 NIS ($10,000) per month
Like data scientists, machine learning engineers work with vast quantities of data. Instead of focusing on insights and analysis, however, machine learning engineers focus on training software to “learn” and improve its predictions with every operating cycle. Machine learning experts use algorithms to create closed-loop systems, and teach themselves how to become more accurate.
“There is still huge demand in this area. Many of them have masters and doctorates who study machinery,” said Solomon. You find them in health care, medical devices, cloud, automotive, cybersecurity.”
34,000-40,000 ($9,900 – $11,600) per month
With R&D centers for Motorola and Intel, Israel has a sizeable semiconductor research and development industry. Chip architects develop the circuit boards that run everything from computers, to routers to mobile devices and cars. Chip architects have a background in electronics, physics, mathematics and computer science.