By Leehee Gerti, VP Marketing at CodeValue
A melting pot. A land of refuge, the only homeland for people of Jewish heritage. That is what modern-day Israel IS. It’s been 30 years since the last big wave of “Aliya” (immigration to Israel) when over 1 million people from the former USSR made their new home here in the land of milk and honey. Education, science, creativity, and innovation have been the cornerstone of the new founded land straight form its inception, that is true enough, but what that wave of Aliya brought with it is a different culture that sanctifies hard work, uncompromising compliance with goals, and deep exploration.
The merger between the two, the method versus ad-hoc, the planning versus “it’ll be okay”, these have made Israel a global high-tech super-power and one of the strongest economies in the world.
The war in Eastern Europe presents us with a new challenge, a potential pool of tens of thousands of people entitled to immigration under the “Law of Return”. A genetic and cultural repository similar to that of the immigrants of the 1990s. If we are smart enough to prepare properly, embrace, understand the difficulties and provide a quality integration infrastructure – the potential benefits are massive.
When the 1990’s immigrants entered the Israeli labor market, their labor productivity fell. This is because they – as with any immigrant – suffered from the “Kuznets effect”. Simon Kuznets, a well-known Jewish economist from Harvard and one of the first to calculate the GNP, found that when immigrants arrive in a new country, their earning capacity drops by 50% to 70%, and it takes them 20 years to return to earning level that is appropriate to their level of education.
We do not have that time nor privilege.
In the last year or so, we’ve been experiencing a massive workforce shortage in the Israeli high-tech industry. It is estimated that there are anywhere between 10,000 to 25,000 open development positions waiting to be filled.
Many companies have put a lot of effort into narrowing the gaps between what is required and what is available. At my company CodeValue, for example, we conducted several Techboost rounds in which we identified and recruited people with potential and love of tech’ but lacking sufficient experience – and trained them in modern technologies to suit current market requirements.
Such initiatives need to be replicated and adapted in order to accommodate the potential immigrants from Ukraine and Russia. High-tech companies and other prominent employers need to join hands with government organizations and NGOs whose goal is to promote immigration and integration. Let us map out the needs of the immigrants, their abilities, and professional aspirations and at the same time establish a unified system that will incorporate specific jobs and open positions that may suit the immigrants’ professional interests, language, and culture. We need to shorten processes, streamline procedures, and get going… fast.
History presents us with a unique opportunity. Rare coincidence complied of global epidemic aftershock – which has pushed forward the digital transformation revolution, A country that has put its trust in the high-tech industry, and a well-educated, hard-working workforce looking for a new home to thrive in.