Israeli Startups Are Losing Their Luster as Employer of Choice, Survey Finds

Instead of working around the clock, people are now seeking 'more organized and stable workplaces that provide fair working conditions' surveyor says.

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Startups may get most of the media buzz, but engineers and others working in high-tech prefer to work at older, established companies, according to new surveys conducted by business intelligence company BDI-Coface.

"There's been a slowdown in the hysterical pursuit of startup companies, where people work around the clock," says Tehila Yanai, co-CEO of BDI-Coface. "Now, people look for more organized and stable workplaces that provide fair working conditions and a nice atmosphere."

The high-tech employee rankings were based on a survey conducted in the 12 months through to January 2013, released on Sunday. Roughly 20,000 high-tech workers answered the survey, which asked where they would like to work and what companies they would recommend as prospective employers to friends. Both rankings were compiled. "There's a growing understanding that work is an important place that provides a livelihood, but people want to have energy left for family, hobbies and leisure-time," Yanai said, adding, "That is true for high-tech workers and workers in general."

Out of the 60 companies appearing in the high-tech employee rankings, close to 90% of them are in the high-tech field. The other companies, such as Israel Electric Corporation and Bank Leumi, employ tech workers, even though their primary business is outside the high-tech industry.

Among high-tech workers, the top three places to work this year were all unchanged from last year: Intel, HP and Google, all American companies with operations in Israel. Intel has consistently ranked number one over the six years that the survey has been conducted.

Amdocs, an Israeli maker of telecommunications billing software, was ranked fourth, a two-place jump over its rank last year. Microsoft rounded out the top five, dropping one spot from last year.

However, a broader BDI-Coface survey, of some 75,000 paid employees, revealed a big change. For the first time, the Israeli unit of American semiconductor company Intel wasn't the No. 1 employer. Instead, that honor fell to state-owned power company IEC. The company was also ranked sixth by high-tech workers this year, two places above its ranking the previous year.

"IEC is considered a place where people want to work because of the stability, the work conditions and the company's [financial] strength, in workers' eyes," said Yanai. She added that such an impression was shared by all workers, not just those in high-tech.

High among tech workers' rankings were also companies from the defense industry, such as defense electronics maker Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which were placed 10th and 11th, respectively. Bank Leumi, which was ranked third as a place to work among all employees, was 15th among high-tech workers.

Among companies that fit the more conventional definition of high-tech, EMC Corporation jumped 13 places, to 13th. The U.S. data storage technology company has become a serial acquirer of startups as it expands its R&D operations in Israel.

Another American company, Qualcomm - which overtook Texas Instruments in microchip sales for cellphones several years ago - jumped 26 places, to 22nd on the high-tech list. The microchip company Broadcom Corporation, which has also been acquiring a significant number of Israeli startups, jumped 22 places to 29th.

The herd is swimming away from startups.Credit: AP
Best employers: Ranking of top companies to work for in high tech, 2012 (2011). Source: BDICredit: Illustration

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