Israel exports many high-end technologies and develops computer hardware, software and medical products. In addition to exportation, other important parts of Israel's economy include agriculture, finances, industry, telecommunications and tourism. Most jobs are in computer engineering, finances, research, medical and private professional services.
The Israeli job market is competitive, and many jobs go to Israelis and non-nationals who have already lived in Israel. More than a fifth of the population of Israel has a degree of some kind, and foreigners who have a university degree might not find a job easily. You will have to put a lot of effort into finding a job in Israel.
Jobs for foreigners in Israel
Foreigners find jobs in industries such as medicine, law, business, marketing, education and technology. The most popular jobs for foreigners are in the high-tech industry, which means that computer programmers and electrical engineers should be able to find jobs fairly easily. Other popular jobs for foreigners include sales and marketing personnel, accountants and financial representatives.
In professions like marketing, the more languages you speak (in addition to Hebrew and English), the more likely you will be hired.
Certified jobs in Israel
Most professions in Europe and North America are accepted in Israel. In many professions, you must be certified to be legally employed (e.g. nurse, lawyer, real estate agent).
Certification exams are difficult, and licenses are awarded to citizens or temporary residents (some professions only require you to have a permanent resident permit). Certification examinations are administered in Israel. If you are a candidate for Jewish immigration (aliyah), you may take your examination before you register for immigration.
For more information on your profession's certification requirements, consult the directory of professional associations on Israel's Science and Technology's website.
Do you need to speak Hebrew?
If you want to work for an Israeli company, it is necessary to know Hebrew to communicate with your co-workers. Most Israeli companies will not look at your resume if you cannot speak Hebrew well.
To learn Hebrew, you should study at a university or at an ulpan (intensive Hebrew language course). Courses last between three and five months. If you need to learn Hebrew before coming to Israel, this will affect your job availability. Some companies give you time to learn Hebrew, but many do not.
If you apply to a foreign company, you might get a job without knowing Hebrew. Technical companies and electronics developers might hire you because much of the computer industry works in English.
Israel has a shortage of English teachers, and becoming an English teacher is a popular way for foreigners to get a job in Israel.
You need to be certified before you can be a teacher. Certificates are obtained from educational schools, such as the one at Bar Ilian University. Israel also accepts teaching certificates like the ones given by TEFL and TESOL. Tel Aviv has a program called the Teach and Study Program (TASP) which gives you practical teaching experience while you study for a Master's degree.
Many non-nationals come to Israel as volunteers. Typical volunteer periods last for one month, three months and six months. Volunteer opportunities include tutoring in schools, helping with archaeological excavations or working on kibbutzim (industrial or agricultural communes).
Your government staffs consulates and embassies abroad. Many of these jobs abroad are available to nationals only. If you want to work in Israel, check to see if there are openings at your country's government offices in Israel.