Much has been said about the various effects of 2 years of COVID-19 has had on the Israeli high-tech world, beyond the hybrid work model and how that amount of capital that flowed into it peaked last year. We now get a glimpse of some of these effects with a new survey, which revealed some new insights and data.
Hybrid work benefits the workers in the periphery
One of the most interesting figures emerging from the survey, conducted by the OurCrowd fund and includes 177 startups, is that a quarter of companies reported that thanks to their transition to a hybrid work model, they were able to recruit more workers from the periphery. In other words, the transition to a model that combines working days from home instead of 5 days in the office - usually in the center of the country (and often - the center of Tel Aviv) - allows the employment of more workers from the periphery. Another possible effect of a hybrid working model is on labour productivity. The survey showed that about a third of the companies (34 percent) reported that the move to a hybrid work model harmed the company's productivity - while 40 percent did not feel any change and 26 percent reported improvement.
And what about the future of the hybrid work model? The survey shows that about one in three companies (28 percent) plan to return to full-time work from the offices, while 66 percent of the companies are expected to allow their employees to divide their workdays between home and the office. The remaining six percent are companies that have not yet opened their offices at all.
The shortage of workers is still with us
The report also shows that the severe shortage of workers in the industry is far from being solved – despite the vision of Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Yair Lapid of "one million Israelis in high-tech." The report shows that 72 percent of companies have recruited more workers than in the past – but the shortage of workers makes it difficult for them to do so. 62 percent of the companies testified that they did not get enough suitable applicants for the jobs they advertised for; one in three companies said that suitable workers were hired – but the number was limited, which made it difficult for the recruitment and staffing process. Of all the companies, only 6 percent testified that they had more qualified employees than needed.
The most sought-after positions, as expected, were in the areas of research and development, and 3 out of 4 companies indicated that they are looking for employees in these areas. At the same time, about 80 percent of the companies testified that they have difficulty finding employees in these areas. 9 percent of the companies reported that they recruited employees for the areas of operations, product management, and human resources and 6 percent recruited for the sales and business development departments.
Half of the companies are not worried about a crisis
Quite a few sources estimate that the high-tech market will soon encounter "winter" -- a crisis that includes a halt in investments against the background of rising inflation, rising interest rates, fluctuations in currencies around the world, the war in Ukraine and more. However, the study shows that half of the companies (49 percent) reported that they do not expect to be affected by such a crisis.
On the other hand, about a third (34 percent) of companies expect some negative impact on their businesses in the event of such a crisis, of which about a third of companies expect the negative effects to be relatively mild, while a small proportion of them fear that the economic crisis will have a severe impact on them. On the other hand, 17 percent of companies think that they will benefit from a possible crisis.
Laly Scherf (David), a partner, business development manager and a member of OurCrowd's investment committee, said with the release of the report that the companies are raising more money and planning large-scale acquisitions in 2022. “This is also accompanied by a significant increase of ‘back to offices’ and intentions to reduce the hybrid model since it is perceived by many companies as no longer being relevant yet detrimental to productivity. At the same time, the benefits of the hybrid work model that allows for more workers in the periphery to be employed must be seen. The shortage of skilled manpower was and remains a problem that most companies face today and there is no solution for it" said Scherf.
The report is based on an analysis of more than 4,500 new jobs, published by 177 OurCrowd portfolio companies, and on a survey of company executives in various fields.