A new technological platform promoted by some of the best known and highly reputed names in the local ecosystem seeks to provide a solution for the labor shortage in Israel’s high-tech by leading a fundamental change in the sourcing, screening and placement process applied for Haredi, Arab, Druze and Ethiopian candidates and populations residing in the periphery.
The platform, launched under a new organization called Place-IL, is intended to handle the challenging phase on the path to a career in high-tech: the initial placement of inexperienced candidates (or juniors) – the essential link in the critical employment chain without which even the best training will not be enough.
Behind this intriguing initiative, which seeks to set the foundation for a more balanced and diverse high-tech industry, is Idan Tendler, among the founders of Bridgecrew, which was acquired by Palo Alto Networks in 2021, and its current Vice President.
Operatively, Place-IL will operate a marketplace in which Israeli high-tech companies and employers involved in the venture will be able to select candidates who underwent quality screening and integrate them in a unique and cross-company internship program that will provide the candidates the relevant experience and a true opportunity to fill permanent positions. The platform will not only enable companies to find the suitable “talent,” but will also help overcome the “junior barrier” that thwarts the placement of qualified but inexperienced candidates.
The platform was developed together with dozens of leading companies, including Google, Monday, Cisco, Armis, Palo Alto Networks, Axonius and Hibob. Among the managers and investors advising Place-IL are the highly reputed investor, Managing Partner of NFX, Gigi Levy-Weiss; Partner in Aleph Venture Capital Fund, Michael Eisenberg; Founder of Palo Alto Networks Nir Zuk; Founder and CTO of Armis, Nadir Izrael; Founder and CEO of Hibob Ronni Zehavi; Managing Director in Insight Partners, Liad Agmon; Founder of Talenteam, Fadi Alubra; CEO of AT&T Israel, Natalie Kramer and Former Director General of the Ministry of Justice, Emi Palmor.
“Place-IL was founded by experienced high-tech entrepreneurs, together with the Israel venture capital community and supported by companies operating within the ecosystem”, says Tendler, adding that “we see a growing community of high-tech volunteers who help evaluate candidates in Israel, working together toward a joint cause – closing the labor gaps – both for filling positions and for achieving proper representation for all populations in Israel.”
Keren Halperin-Musseri, former CEO of Shiur Acher and current CEO of Place-IL, working with Tendler found that, despite a shortage of approximately 20,000 employees in high-tech, the impressive qualification array established in Israel in recent years manages to successfully place only 4% of the underrepresented populations. The new platform connects all of the said qualification organizations for underrepresented populations to the high-tech industry, enabling large-scale placement for candidates trained by those organizations, aiming to provide them access to high tech companies in a consolidated and dedicated manner.
The initiative recently conducted a kickoff meeting with members of the advisory board, consisting of over 50 professionals, including senior executives from companies that joined endeavor, entrepreneurs, CEOs, investors, high-tech HR leads, diversity specialists and others. Throughout the event, the members shared insights of their involvement in the field and they conducted roundtable discussions on major issues related to the venture’s business and social objectives.
“For candidates, the process for enrolling in the platform goes through unique screening sessions conducted by a team of high-tech professionals, psychologies and even representatives of the evaluated population,” commented Halperin-Musseri. “Candidates who successfully complete the evaluation, which includes a professional code assignment, is assigned to a 3-month salaried internship program at one of the high-tech companies that pay for the placement and for use of the platform. After three months, where the company chose not to go on with the hiring process, the candidate can go on to another 3-month internship at another company, and so on for a period of one year. Where the candidate was hired by one of the companies at which the internship was conducted, the internship process will stop and the candidate will shift to permanent employment.”
Today, the initiative, which is in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy’s Labor Department, is launching its first pilot program. In this pilot, hundreds of candidates for “software development” roles will be go through the recruitment process. The successful candidates will start the internship program within a few weeks.
“As a leading investor in Israel, we emphasize the diversity the human mix in the companies that we consider, as well as those we have already invested in,” said Liad Agmon, Managing Director at Insight Partners. “Expanding representation to all populations does not only lead to a better organizational culture, but also improves business results. We are proud to take part in the Place-IL initiative as a strategic partner and are convinced that there is reason to believe that the change for the better is already on the way.”