Report Shows Significant Rise in Women's Representation in Israeli Tech R&D Positions


Almost 40% of employed women in the tech industry are currently involved in R&D roles, reflecting a substantial 130% increase over the past decade

The Israel Innovation Authority, in collaboration with the Aaron Institute for Economic Policy at Reichman University, released today a report for International Women’s Day that sheds light on the evolving landscape of women in research and development (R&D) positions in the Israeli tech sector. The report reveals a significant increase in women’s engagement in R&D positions, while also highlighting key areas for improvement.

According to the report, almost 40% of employed women in the tech industry are currently involved in R&D roles, reflecting a substantial 130% increase over the past decade. In 2023, 38% of women in the tech industry held R&D positions, compared to around 28% in 2013, demonstrating a steady annual growth rate of 2.7%, similar to that of men.

However, despite these positive trends, women still only occupy a third of all high-tech positions, falling short of the 43% target set by the National High-Tech Human Capital Committee, known as the Perlmutter Committee, for 2035. This gap is particularly pronounced for Jewish women (non-ultra-Orthodox), with approximately 80,000 positions needed to meet the designated target.

Despite the slowdown in the tech industry over the past year due to the war and the legal reform, the growth rate for both women and men in the tech industry remains consistent at around 2.7%. However, the proportion of women in administrative and business development roles has decreased from 50.7% in 2014 to 41.4% in 2024, demonstrating an 18% decline in the last decade. The findings indicate a need for targeted interventions to ensure balanced representation across all sectors within the industry.

Dror Bin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, said: “The tech sector has been at the forefront of the Israeli economy for many years, but there is still a way to go regarding gender equality. We see more women in core roles, but the growth rate is insufficient to reach gender parity goals. In 2023, about 3,500 positions were added for women in tech compared to about 6,700 positions for men. To bring about change, there must be a concerted long-term effort by the tech industry and relevant government entities to continue breaking the glass ceiling for women earlier in their career.”

The report also includes two newly published research papers: the first, led by the Aaron Institute for Economic Policy in collaboration with the Israel Innovation Authority, explores the connection between high school studies, salary, and employment in high-tech; and the second, led by the Trump Foundation in collaboration with the Israel Innovation Authority, examines gender wage gaps in high-tech and how job transitions impact disparities. The research sheds light on critical aspects of women’s participation in the tech industry, providing insights into educational pathways, salary structures, and employment dynamics.

Dr. Sergei Sumkin, a senior researcher at the Aaron Institute for Economic Policy at Reichman University, said: “From the research data, it is evident that gender gaps in tech positions and the tech industry’s R&D positions are not a result of differences in ability or achievements between men and women, but rather stem from different choices made by them at various stages of the education system. Therefore, since studies in advanced technological classes that allow for physics and computer science studies in high school are one of the prominent factors explaining the gender gap in employment in tech positions and the tech industry, access to tech studies should be provided to every student in Israel within the school framework or excellence centers. Additionally, attention should be paid to the professional explanation by the school staff regarding the contribution of tech skills to quality employment for female students.”
Eli Horowitz, CEO of the Trump Foundation for Education, said “The research shows, and parents who consider this important must know this, that the important choice for their daughters is already made in middle school. Those who choose and are accepted into the science excellence class in middle school go on to study physics, computers, and mathematics at a high level there. Then, when choosing majors in high school, she has a great advantage over those who studied in regular classes in middle school, where they did not study physics and computers at all. The problem today is that there are almost no female students in the excellence classes in middle school, and schools can and should change that.”

The Israeli tech industry’s trajectory mirrors global trends in gender representation, with women comprising approximately one-third of the workforce, aligning with countries like Poland, Germany, and France. Notably, while Sweden boasts leadership in international equality rankings, its proportion of women in tech lags behind Israel at 29%. Conversely, Estonia, a pioneer in digital transformation, showcases a relatively high proportion of women in tech at 40%. Meanwhile, in the United States, the figure stands at 36.5%.

The Perlmutter Committee’s summary report underscores the imperative to enhance human capital and growth potential in tech, particularly among underrepresented populations. While most groups are anticipated to exceed their growth targets by 2035, challenges persist, notably for Jewish women (non-ultra-Orthodox) and Arab women, who are not expected to reach their 2023 growth target of 80,000 positions, necessitating additional interventions to bridge these gaps effectively.

Read more in the full report