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The demand for workers in the hotel and tourist branches will rise in 2005, following a 41-percent surge in tourist entries to Israel in 2004. The demand will center not only around those with jobs connected to hotel reception desks, room service and restaurants, but also will affect workers in services connected to the hotel industry, such as tour guides, taxi drivers and even salespeople at souvenir shops.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade's Planning Research and Economy Authority head Benny Pfefferman and Manpower CEO Dalia Narkis, who provided these assessments, commented yesterday on various fields that can expect growth in 2005.

Pfefferman predicted that the departure of tens of thousands of foreign workers has created a vacuum in the construction industry that Palestinian workers will be unable to fill in the near future. Pfefferman believes that Israelis will take their place, as there will be a demand for workers in flooring, plaster, ironwork and construction.

"It's a matter of supply and demand, whereby as soon as the number of foreign workers diminishes, Israelis fill in the void," said Pfefferman, adding that "there has already been a sharp rise in applications by Arab Israelis in the building industry, and unemployment in this sector, which rose to 14 percent in 2003, is expected to fall to 10 percent this year."

Narkis said that high-tech will continue to see an increase in demand for workers this year at the same pace it set over the last two quarters of 2004. The industry needs all sorts of computer and electronic engineers in particular, as well as industrial and management engineers.

"The problem is that small- and mid-sized high-tech companies are not prepared usually to absorb inexperienced candidates - a phenomenon that makes things harder for recent graduates seeking a job. Salaries are expected to rise with demand after having risen 10-15 percent in 2004 over 2003," she noted.

Sales is another field expected to blossom this year, both in the areas of telemarketing and advertising.

Pfefferman said that alongside the general rising demand for workers, he expects thousands of teachers to be fired and that demand for teachers will decline in wake of the Dovrat Commission report. In addition, the need for workers will fall in textile, car-body repair and painting, typing, drafting and accounting.