“In order for the Israeli high-tech industry to grow significantly, it needs to include more diverse populations and workers from the periphery,” Michal Braverman-Blumenstick, vice president of Microsoft at Microsoft Israel, who also serves as CEO of Microsoft Israel Research and Development and VP of technology, said at the Jerusalem Post. The company’s global cloud and AI security.
“We call ourselves the start-up nation, the high-tech nation, but in practice the percentage of those employed in high-tech is only 8%,” she said. “What we need to do is dramatically increase this number. For Israel to be a real economic power, 15% of Israelis need to integrate into high-tech.”
Braverman-Blumenstein is the first woman to head the Microsoft Research and Development Center in Israel. According to her, the company is developing cyber products in Israel that lead the line of Microsoft security products. “Only last week we announced that we would double the number of our employees in the coming years,” she noted, “after increasing it by about 40% since February 2020.”
According to Braverman-Blumenstein, there are several solutions to the manpower shortage in high-tech: the first is education, the second is diversity and the third is the return of Israeli hitchhikers to Israel. “We need to make sure that women, Arabs and ultra-Orthodox participate and take part in the high-tech world. It should be a national task to rectify the situation, and we can do that.”
In addition, she said that as part of the efforts, the company plans to open five new centers, including in Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva, in order to increase the integration of the diverse populations. Microsoft also opened a development center in Nazareth a few years ago, and has since quadrupled the number of Arab employees it employs.
As mentioned, a critical point is the return of Israeli hitchhikers home. “About 150,000 Israelis work in high-tech abroad. If only 10% of them were returning, it would add 15,000 people to the high-tech workforce in the country and meet the immediate distress. The Israeli ecosystem is very unique, there is no such thing in the world, “she said, emphasizing that high-tech is the best thing that has happened to the State of Israel.