Background

In the early 90s, before the hi-tech industry became the main driving force in Israeli economy, hi-tech employees constituted 1% of all employees in Israel. Since then, the hi-tech industry has grown dramatically and impacted the whole of Israeli society and its economy. Tsofen believes that as the number of Arab hi-tech employees grows and reaches 1% of all employees in the Arab community, the impacts on the economy of the Arab community will reach similar levels.

Between 2008-2014 we succeeded in kickstarting a process that placed nearly 2,000 additional Arab software engineers into the hi-tech sector. This has cause hi-tech to come to the Galilee in order to operate in Arab communities. The industry is learning how to leverage the talent of Arab university graduates, just as it leverages the talent of the Jewish software engineers today. Once this happens fully, organizations like Tsofen, working towards overcoming cultural barriers, will no longer be needed in order to expose existing potential, to encourage employment of Arab engineers and to promote operations in Arab communities.

Hi-Tech in Israel – Jews and Arabs (2014 statistics):

  • Arab university graduates of the exact sciences (in the last 10 years): 2,500*
  • Arab graduates employed in software development (2014): 2000 (300 in 2008)
  • Jewish university graduates of the exact sciences (in the last 10 years): 40,000
  • Jewish graduates employed in software development (2014): 100,000**

* This number includes graduates of Israeli universities alone, thus the number of potential Arab software engineers is much higher
** This number includes many who are not university graduates of the exact sciences

Arabs in Israel and the Employment Cycle

  • Employed Arab university graduates: 52% of those with 13 years of education
  • Arab graduates employed in professions allowing easy retraining for software: 3,000
  • The potential for hi-tech talent in the Arab community, including many women: 5,000

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