Employment in Israel

Employment in Israel is a primary concern for most people considering Aliyah. There are several general types of employment situations that apply most to Olim from English-speaking countries.

Local Employment in Hebrew – Some Olim have, or acquire, Hebrew skills suitable for employment in the general market. This may allow them to be hired by a business where Hebrew is the dominant language (as is the case in most businesses). However, it may be difficult to handle the same level of business communication they had in English, meaning someone who formerly managed staff or prepared business reports might only have the language skills for positions lower than those occupied formerly. This is not always the case, but high-level Hebrew skills, including writing and comprehension, are surely valuable in seeking employment and career advancement.

Local Employment in English – Many jobs value English skills and require less fluency in Hebrew. Someone with basic Hebrew skills and useful experience or qualifications in an area that uses English might find suitable employment in Israel. Computer programming, technical writing, teaching English, and other jobs where English dominates are open to Olim, but the competition for such positions may be high.

Remote Employment in English – This option has become more established in recent years and shows potential for expanding. Some communities have a significant number of residents working during North American office hours, and performing their work entirely in English. This option may offer salaries that are higher than those of similar jobs in Israel, with the obvious trade-off of working in the evening and at night. For those able to secure remote employment without the need to work North American hours, the situation can be very good.

Independent Employment in Hebrew – For people with a business of their own and sufficient Hebrew to communicate with customers and vendors, self-employment is a good option. Opening and operating a business in Israel may involve more effort and be more complicated than in your home country, but for those who have something valuable to offer it may be a good solution. If the service or goods can be offered at profitable rates to a Hebrew-speaking audience, this can work. It is important to research the options carefully, and to have a fallback plan.

Independent Employment in English – English-speakers in Israel constitute a market for many independent businesses. English-speaking consumers often prefer the ease of doing business with others who can communicate with them effectively, and the customs and expectations of doing business in English often vary from those of Hebrew. Although local licensing and business regulations require knowledge of Hebrew or some translations support, advertising and conducting business with customer in English is definitely an option.

Operating a Foreign Business – Many Olim have a business in their current country that can continue to provide income after Aliyah. Some choose to hire a local manager and accept smaller profits in exchange for the ability to have a more financially secure life in Israel. Others are able to continue operating their business with little or no change after Aliyah. This can be a very good post-Aliyah employment  strategy.

Some general points about Employment in Israel are worth noting:

  • Salaries paid by employers in Israel may be lower than those for comparable jobs in your former country. It is important to research the pay offered and the general availability of employment before deciding on Aliyah.
  • There may be fewer positions available in your current field than expected. Some types of work are either less frequently needed, or there may be significantly more people with the required skills, certifications, etc.
  • Professional credentials may be difficult to transfer. You may need to provide extensive documentation and visit or communicate with the relevant authority in Israel to receive accreditation or licensing. Education and examination requirements may need to be met in Israel, and in Hebrew. It is strongly recommended that you research any credentialing requirements with Israeli authorities before Aliyah.
  • While some help finding employment is available from the Aliyah agencies or Oleh support groups, it is not necessarily wise to rely on that support for finding the optimal job in a reasonable time. It is not rare for Olim to mention that they regret having overestimated the amount and quality of job seeking help they would receive after Aliyah, or the other challenges related to employment in Israel. Researching work opportunities before Aliyah is strongly recommended. Many employers in Israel are willing to communicate with potential new hires, and it may even be possible to interview for jobs in Israel as part of your research.
  • Age can be a significant factor. While age discrimination in employment is illegal in Israel, older Olim may find it hard to be hired. Employers may have many applicants from which to choose, and many valid reasons to choose someone who happens to be younger. Israel’s relatively youthful population virtually assures that Olim over 50 will be competing with much younger applicants for jobs.
  • Location is often a key factor in employment. Some areas have many foreign employers offering jobs at higher salaries and where English may be an asset. High-Tech employment is very lucrative in Israel, but those employers are generally concentrated in large urban areas such as Tel Aviv and Haifa. Locations with significant English-speaking populations offer more jobs to English-speaking job seekers. The community profiles on this website provide a brief overview of employment opportunities in those areas.

Because income and employment are so important to decision-making about Aliyah, and successful adaptation to life in Israel, it pays to do extensive research into the options available. It is also important to consider the cost of living in your desired community in relation to the employment and income opportunities within reach of that location. The difference in cost of living between locations can be significant, as well as the availability of employment and prevailing salaries. It is not rare for people to choose to live in a lower-cost community and commute to higher-wage employment regions, but it is best to know in advance what options are available to you.

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