by Nick Kolyohin
Jerusalem, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Israeli high tech companies are not able to recruit enough qualified employees and have 15,000 vacancies in the sector, said the Innovation Industry Human Capital Report released on Sunday.
The report, made by Israeli Innovation Authority and Start-Up Nation Central Organization, aims to understand the degree of the imbalance between the demand for high tech talents and the supply in Israel.
Israeli high tech sector is growing every year, which triggers a constant demand for talented employees.
The local industry is growing faster than the supply of talents. The most desperate for new workers are small start-up companies as well as large companies, many of them multinationals.
Over the past five years, the number of people employed in the Israeli tech sector has grown from 240,000 to 280,000, which is still not enough.
Only eight percent of the total Israeli workforce are employed in the tech innovation sector, an industry that is considered to be a locomotive of the Israeli economy.
Although the industry has the highest salaries in the domestic economy, the number of computer science and engineering university graduates has remained nearly flat for about a decade.
"Almost one-quarter of Israeli tech companies established research and development centers outside Israel, because they don't have enough employees in Israel," said Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central.
Israeli technology companies are increasingly establishing offshore R&D facilities in places that offer quality talents at a reasonable cost.
Ukraine is the most favored location, and other popular destinations include Russia, India and the United States, the report said.
Moreover, the report said that 40 percent of the Israeli population take a significant role in the high tech workplaces, adding that only 23 percent of females are employed in core tech professions such as software engineers.
The number of Israeli Arabs is even less in the tech workforce, and two thirds of companies do not have a single Arab tech employee, the report said.
In large firms, including multinational corporations, Arab workers account for only eight percent of the total headcount.
Altogether, Arab tech workers add up to three percent of all workforce of the Israeli tech industry.
In followings years, it is expected that Arabs will hold more positions in the tech industry, due to the increasing number of Arabs going to computer studies at universities.
The Israeli government has recently implemented a national program to increase the number of "women, Arabs, and the Ultra-Orthodox" in the tech industry, said Aharon Aharon, CEO of Israel Innovation Authority.
Israeli academia launched a five-year plan to increase tech graduates by 40 percent. Nowadays, 18 percent of all computer science students at universities are Israeli Arab, said the report.
Furthermore, the Israeli government established a rapid process for obtaining a special tech visa for foreign job seekers, helping Israeli companies recruit experienced professionals from abroad.
According to Aharon and Kandel, the salaries of tech workers in Israel are the highest in the world, except Silicon Valley, and the average monthly wage is 22,000 new shekels (5,834 U.S. dollars).
Israeli high tech industry is concentrated mostly in the central coastal city of Tel Aviv. The most wanted workers are former soldiers from elite technological units of the Israeli army.