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Israel losing IT jobs to India

April 18, 2005 11:44 IST
Israel has already lost 3,500 jobs to India in the hi-tech sector and stands to lose more with local companies preferring to outsource part of their work, the Gartner group, a leading technology research company, said.

Heads of several hi-tech companies participated in a discussion of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Education and Culture Committee, amid rising concerns over the issue, business daily Globes reported.

India has become a high-tech superpower, with established companies in software, computer, support, and other knowledge-intensive industries.

Israeli companies are also making use of cheap and well-trained labour in countries like India and China, the daily said.

The nearly one-fourth cost of engineers and support personnel in the industry has forced most of the companies to outsource their work to India and other destinations in the Far East in order to stay competitive, it said.

The rate for Indian engineers is $13 dollars an hour, it said. The Bank of Israel statistics in the sector indicates a 12 per cent growth in output and software exports, nearing $3 billion, for 2004, but the rate of unemployment remains high at 10.4 per cent.

To counter the problem some entrepreneurs have launched a drive to employ 'Haredim' (ultra-orthodox) women, who are being trained for the job, and agree to work for lesser wages unlike the Israeli engineers, developers, programmers, and support staff who do not agree to work for minimum wages.

Moti Gutman, CEO of Matrix IT, which provides technology services, with the help of former Amdocs senior VP (international marketing) Norman Rafalowitz, a haredi Jew, and Libi Afin, a 'Haredi' woman who has worked as a programmer, have founded a centre in Upper Modiin (near Jerusalem) to train and employ 'Haredi' women.

About 200 women are currently working there and the ministry of industry, trade and labour has recently approved a Machon Lev (Jerusalem College of Technology) training course for 35 'Haredi' women to further encourage the trend, the report said.

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