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‎Director of Employment Regulation & Senior Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Economy Michal Tzuk today submitted to the Minister of the Economy the conclusions of the inter-ministerial steering committee on dealing with the shortage of skilled manpower for the hi-tech industry * The committee formulated a long list of recommendations with the goal of reducing the gap between the demand for skilled and high-quality workers in the fields of science and technology, and the current supply in the employment market *

Main Recommendations:
Integration of Arabs, the ultra-Orthodox, women and veteran/ older employees in engineering, computers, and science training and studies
Increasing accessibility to higher education – in the fields of engineering and sciences – among ultra-Orthodox, Arab, and other candidates who find it difficult to meet the acceptance conditions
Encouraging high school students and soldiers to integrate in sciences and engineering
Reinforcement of the school science and technology curricula

Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett: "Israeli innovation is an inseparable part of our national strength. Israel's economic strength and image depends, among other things, on it being a groundbreaking innovative power, providing mankind with technological solutions for cyberspace, security, defense, agriculture, water, energy, medicine, safety, etc. However, Israeli hi-tech suffers from a flaw, and that flaw is extremely significant – the shortage of skilled manpower required for technological professions. The great potential for employment and growth is not realized because companies have problems in finding high-quality, skilled employees. Not enough young people are studying mathematics and the sciences; there are not enough Arab and ultra-Orthodox graduates in technological fields, which is a shame. Hi-tech knows how to employ everyone, and needs more and more talented employees. Therefore, this report comes exactly at the right time, and its test will be in how it is implemented."

This morning the inter-ministerial steering committee, headed by the Director of Employment Regulation & Senior Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Economy, submitted to the Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett its conclusions on dealing with the shortage of skilled manpower for the hi-tech industry, which suffers from a serious shortage of high-quality academic graduates in engineering, computers, and science. While there are some 7,000 new positions in the hi-tech industry annually, the education system produces around only 6,600 graduates each year with the potential to study engineering and sciences, and a large percentage go on to study other fields. While the demand rises, the number of students for the subjects in demand has stagnated.

In light of the importance of the issue to Israeli finances, labor market, industry, and the economy, a committee deliberated over the last year on formulating a range of tools which would provide solutions to the stagnation in the number of students in the innovative industries, and bring about an increase in the supply of candidates to be employed in the many positions – most carrying high salaries – offered to high-quality graduates.

Representatives of many bodies participated in the inter-ministerial committee, including: The Office of the Director of Employment in the Ministry of Economy, the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy, the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister's Office, the Budget Department in the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, the Planning and Budgeting Committee at the Council for Higher Education in Israel, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, the fund and unit for Guidance for Ex-Servicemen in the Ministry of Defense, the IDF, the Israeli Employment Service, the National Cyber Bureau, and various representatives in the fields of industry, employment, and development of human resources.

Amit Lang, Director General of the Ministry of Economy, noted that: "Every day we witness the effects of the lack of professional manpower on the Israeli economy in general, and on its hi-tech industry in particular. The difficulty experienced by the technology companies in finding expert employees in science, engineering, and computers, has a direct effect on the economy's ability to export goods and services in the technological industries. Therefore, we attribute great importance to strengthening the professional and academic training in fields which enable their graduates to acquire a profession for life, while also providing solutions to the needs of industry and the economy. We are currently working on the formulation of a government resolution which will establish a team, led by the Ministry of Economy, to implement the important recommendations of the report. We will continue to work – together with all the partners in the government, academia, the private sector, and the Third Sector – to increase the supply of scientists, engineers, practical engineers, and computer science graduates, and we will create growth impetus to provide solutions for the needs of the economy, alongside high-quality job placements with high salaries appropriate for skilled employees in the relevant fields."

Director of Employment Regulation & Senior Deputy Director General Michal Tzuk noted that: "The hi-tech industry is a primary growth engine for the Israeli economy. However, the shortage of available and skilled manpower is an obstacle to the development of the hi-tech industry. Finding skilled and high-quality manpower, available and accessible for employment, is a prime requisite to continue strengthening and developing the industry, and we will work to realize and implement the recommendations so that they will begin to be implemented during the 2015 budgetary year."

Main Committee Recommendations
The committee recommends a variety of activities, which have been divided into different periods of time and are relevant to a range of target populations, who serve as a potential target in the field of human resources.

Dealing with two major issues:
The problem of demand for skilled employees, with an emphasis on populations with training, who are not currently employed in the industry, and the supply.
Dealing with the gap between the industry's growth and the stagnation in the number of students in the required fields.

In the short term, the committee recommends steps including:
Creating a refresher program for veteran engineers (45+)
Including academics with engineering and science degrees who are not currently employed in the field, among the unemployed Arab sector
Encouraging a "brain return", in partnership with the employers
Easing bureaucracy related to work visas for expert hi-tech workers

In the medium term, it is recommended to do the following, including:
Broadening the programs which increase accessibility to higher education in the fields of engineering and science for populations which do not currently meet conditions of acceptance to engineering subjects in academia
Creating various programs for the integration of target populations in academic studies in the relevant fields, including Arabs, the ultra-Orthodox and women serving in technological units
Continuing to encourage the institutions of higher education to increase the number of students in computers and engineering

In the long term, the committee recommends:
A range of tools to encourage scientific excellence (in the formal/informal education system)
Increasing the exposure of children and young people from all population groups to the field of sciences
In addition, the committee recommends institutionalizing both a steering committee for advancement, as well as follow-up for implementation and integration of the recommendations, which will coordinate all the solutions for the issue. And also an employers' forum, with which the steering committee will hold regular consultations, and create with it cooperative efforts, joint initiatives, and work interfaces.