Israel sees drop in engineering students, shortage of engineers for hitech


TEL AVIV, Dec. 9 — The General Manager of Microsoft’s research and development center in Israel, Yoram Yaacobi, warned on Monday that the number of engineering students in Israel is steeply dropping, causing a lack of engineers in the Start-Up Nation.
“Israeli hi-tech has been built upon human capital, namely engineers, but the picture doesn’t look good,” Yaacobi said at the Globes Business conference in Tel Aviv.
The number of graduates in computer sciences, engineering and mathematics decreased in the last decade by about 50 percent — from 4,430 in 2001 to 2,951 in 2011, according to data presented by Yaacobi.
“Three years ago we established a consortium of 45 international hi-tech companies that have R&D centers in Israel, including Microsoft, Google and Oracele,” Yaacobi said. “The number one problem that concerns us all is the shortage of engineers,” he added.
A report by the National Economy Commission concluded last year that shortage “raises the already-too-high level of wages of engineers, and is causing Israel to lose its competitive edge” over other hi-tech powers such as India and China.
“It means Microsoft and such companies open less projects in Israel,” Yaacobi said. “About once a month I meet with a company that wants to open a center in Israel, but the country doesn’t have enough engineers to supply this demand,” he noted.[db:内容2]