Working in Israel

Working in Tel Aviv
Only 60 years after its establishment, Israel's economy and technological sectors are booming. Israel has one of the fastest-growing GDP rates in the world, currently standing at just over 300 billion USD, making the prospect of working in Israel a rather lucrative one.

Much of this progress is due to Israel’s innovative abilities in the fields of applied sciences and technology. The education system in Israel has generated 15 percent of its graduates from engineering departments as specialists in telecommunications, software development and IT. Israeli universities and research institutions, such as the Israel Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science, are of a world-class standard.

Another reason for the booming economy is the compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which sees all Israeli citizens serving for a period of two years. The army offers young soldiers practical technical experience and stresses the importance of effective teamwork to those who serve in technology-related units.  Moreover, many Israeli entrepreneurial partners previously served together in elite IDF development units.

Job market in Israel

Within Israel, over 25 percent of the workforce are employed in technical professions. Israeli companies have staked a major claim in worldwide high-tech and telecommunications markets due their specialisations and ability to excel in diverse technological applications.

Key fields of technological innovation and expat employment are communications, computer hardware and software, information systems, medicine, food processing and solar energy. Expats with valid working visas will find countless opportunities to work in Israel and the potential for professional growth and development is extensive.

Working culture in Israel

Tel Aviv is the business capital of Israel. For the most part, business dress in Israel is generally less formal than in North America and Europe, but meetings require formal dress. Women are expected to dress conservatively, particularly in religious areas. Business cards are common, but there is no formality involved in exchanging them. Socialising is an important part of business meetings, and, as such, they often run overtime or begin late.

Business hours in Israel are usually from 8.30am to 5pm. The working week is Sunday to Thursday as well as Friday mornings. Employees work nine hours per day, including an hour for lunch, and and according to law working hours may not exceed 45 hours per week.

Finding a job in Israel

Most expats move to Israel with a job in hand. Foreigners who intend on taking up a position in Israel need to arrive in the country with a work permit. Expats who play on immigrating ('making Aliyah') as a Jew may find the process easier as there are Aliyah organisations that can offer advice.

Israel produces large numbers of qualified professionals each year so expats will need to stand out from the crowd if they want to secure a job in the country.

It's best to begin the search for a job 3 to 4 months before moving to Israel. Most employers don't hire people more than four months in advance as they want people to start almost immediately, which can be problematic for expats. 

It can be beneficial to invest time in learning Hebrew as most job listings won't be in English. Learning the local language will not only be useful in the workplace but in social situations too. The best job sites for expats intending on working in Israel are Iraemploy and Jobnet. Newspaper can also be a useful source for job seekers. Friday editions of papers have Hebrew listings and the Jerusalem Post publishes adverts in English too. 

Networking is also very important in Israel as most jobs are actually not advertised publically. So it is worth speaking to colleagues and other contacts about your job prospects. A personal recommendation can go a long way here.

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