While successful Israeli hi-tech entrepreneurs may be arriving in droves to Silicon Valley, just one-tenth of those who choose to do so are women, a new study has found.
“The number of women leading relocations amounts to only 10% of the cases, and even then, most of them are in big companies that transfer the women, like Google, Apple and Facebook,” said Aya Shmueli Levkovitz, CEO of Ogen Relocation.
As a result of successful hi-tech exits and increasing integration in the international community, some 60,000 Israelis – including spouses and children – now live in Silicon Valley, according to Ogen Relocation, a company that helps Israeli hi-tech families transition to living in the US. Yet the profile of the successful Israeli entrepreneur leading those household relocations to California “reveals a picture that is socially alarming and uniform” – that of a white, secular male, the company has found.
Making up only about 10% of the Israeli hi-tech employees who relocate to Silicon Valley, women who do choose to make the move rarely make such transfers in startups or at their own initiative, the study conducted by Ogen said.
In addition to being mostly male, the entrepreneurs tend to be single – with 61% unattached and only 39% married, the data found. About 48% of the employees are under 30 years old, 37% are in the 30-40 age range and only 15% are above 40 years old, according to the data.
Only very few ultra-Orthodox or Arab-Israeli hi-tech entrepreneurs come to Silicon Valley, the study also found. Meanwhile, the community lacks strong representation from the South, North and Jerusalem areas of Israel.
Looking at the small numbers of Israeli women moving to Silicon Valley in particular, Levkovitz observed that corporations are usually more likely to relocate employees with sales or executive positions, rather than programmers or software engineers – roles that women are more likely to hold.
“This reality will change of course when more women will be in higher positions and we’ll see more women entrepreneurs,” she told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday night.
Another problem facing women is the issue that their spouses are often hesitant to agree to a relocation.
“When she gets an offer to relocate, she won’t accept,” Levkovitz said.
Men are less likely to face such a quandary when they raise the idea of relocating to their families, as female Israeli spouses are still much more likely to agree to drop their own careers in favor of their husband’s job, according to Levkovitz.
“We are not able to change the reality but it is something that needs to be given attention,” she said. “It’s a mirror image of the reality in Israel, in which women are a minority in these positions in general, so they represent a smaller percentage.”
Ogen Relocation will be holding a conference for hi-tech employees considering moves to the US next week – on Monday, March 27, at 5:30 p.m. in Airport City.
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