This guide was written prior to the October 2023 escalation of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militant groups. The ongoing conflict has markedly affected the safety and advisability of travel to the region. Please consult with relevant authorities and exercise extreme caution when considering travel to Israel and the surrounding areas.
Israel has a fairly resilient economy with a particularly strong technology sector. Much of this progress is due to Israel's innovative abilities in the fields of applied sciences and technology, as well as its highly educated workforce. Many Israeli graduates become specialists in telecommunications, software development and IT.
Thanks to its rapidly growing GDP, Israel has become a popular expat destination for those seeking career progression and businesses looking for investment opportunities. This influx of expats, combined with Israel's diverse population of Jewish, Arab, Druze and other groups, means Israel is a tapestry of cultures, with many ways of living and working.
Job market in Israel
Within Israel, a considerable proportion of the workforce is employed in technical professions. Israeli companies have staked a major claim in worldwide high-tech and telecommunications markets due to 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, finance, medicine, law and marketing. Many foreigners also find employment teaching English.
Finding a job in Israel
Most expats move to Israel with a job in hand. Foreigners intending to occupy a position in Israel must obtain a work permit. Jewish expats who intend to immigrate ('making Aliyah') 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 three to four 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 some expats.
Jobs can be found through online job portals, through listings in local newspapers and by directly contacting recruitment agencies. Investing time in learning Hebrew can be beneficial, as many job listings won't be in English. In Arab-owned businesses, prevalent in the north and areas like Nazareth, learning Arabic would be a boon. Learning the local languages will not only be useful in the workplace but in social situations too.
Networking is also crucial in Israel, as most jobs are not actually advertised publicly. It is worth speaking to colleagues and other contacts about potential job opportunities, as a personal recommendation can go a long way there.
- For high-tech and start-up positions, expats can check out Secret Tel Aviv's Job Board.
- Expats with expertise in IT and engineering might find AllJobs a valuable resource for job listings.
Work culture in Israel
Tel Aviv is the business capital of Israel, although there are also significant industries and tech parks in Haifa, Jerusalem and Beersheba. For the most part, work dress in Israel is generally more relaxed than in North America and Europe, but meetings require formal dress. Both men and women are advised to dress conservatively when in religious areas or interacting with religious communities. Business cards are common, but there is no formality involved in exchanging them. Socialising is an important part of meetings, and 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 in some industries. These hours may vary, especially in predominantly Islamic areas, where Friday is a significant day of rest. Employees work eight to nine hours per day, including an hour for lunch, and according to Israeli law, working hours may not exceed 42 hours per week.
►For more on work culture, read Doing Business in Israel
What do expats say about working in Israel?
'There is the understanding that employees do have a life outside work. Family time is highly regarded as most Israelis have their own children and the society values children in general.' Learn more about the realities of working in Israel by reading American expat Aviva's interview.
Are you an expat living in Israel?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Israel. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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