Microsoft announced it will open five new development centers in Israel, and hire an additional 2,000 personnel, primarily in the area of R&D. Microsoft’s statement comes after several multinational corporations released plans to expand their workforces in Israel. Recent reports affirm that a total of 5,000 new employees are currently being sought by multinationals. This is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, it’s nice to see the most important companies in the world expanding their operations in Israel (although it would be nice if Apple would stop hiring engineers, and instead hire retailers to man their conspicuously absent Apple Store). On the other hand, there is a fear the multinationals will squeeze out local companies in the race to attract the best talent. While Israel has been talking about plans to increase the number of software engineers in the country, no serious proposals have ever been undertaken to date, and the shortage of top personnel is becoming acute.