10 Careers That Make The Big Bucks in Israel

From government to the private sector, jobs that pay more in Israel

Tel Aviv is Israel’s economic nucleus. But what professions pay the highest salaries? Here are some well-paying fields.

With ha’arnona ba’shamayim (pop culture reference for those unfamilar), beer costing a small fortune, and Tel Aviv the fifth most expensive city in the world (for more depressing financial stats, click here), there comes a time when many olim — and olot — turn to the salary tables (Hebrew: טבלאות שכר) to figure out ways to make more shekels in the Jewish homeland.

Drushim — part of the Yad2 Group — recently updated their salary surveys. So we — by which I mean I — did a little digging. The conclusion: while it certainly pays to be an algorithm developer (oh how it pays to be an algorithm developer), there are other ways to make a decent salary in Israel.

(To balance the bleak financial stats article with some optimism, we’ve taken the highest figure for each salary — which is typically that for a ראש צוות — team leader).

Without further a-do, here are 10 career tracks in Israel that can offer salaries of more than 20K NIS / month.

Data source: Drushim salary survey (Hebrew).

Note2: For those unfamiliar, salaries in Israel are quoted as thousands of shekel per month. The average Israeli salary, at the time of writing, is approximately 11.5K NIS.

Java Programmer (35-38K NIS)

Java programmers: can earn almost 20K NIS as graduates

If you thought that Java was just a nickname for coffee then … well, you would be wrong.

According to Wikipedia, “Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language.”

Drushim says that freshly minted IT graduates can rake in 18-21K NIS (at today’s rate, that’s the equivalent of an annual salary of $65K-76K).

With 2 to 3 years’ work experience, graduates will already be passed the 20K NIS/month mark. And after five years, Drushim pegs their earning power as being in the 30-34K NIS bracket.

Where the jobs are found: Companies that use Java as a programming language.

Do I need Hebrew: It depends, although having a good level of Hebrew is always advisable.

High Tech International Sales (30K+ Base Before Commission)

Why tap into numbers from the internet when you can just dial up your friends and — as Israelis do — ask them how much money they earn?

The first data point we received from an oleh hadash working in the sales field was so astronomically high — 30K-50K NIS / month — that, as all intrepid journalists do, we felt the need to corroborate the info with a second source.

When the second oleh hadash told us nonchalantly that he was making 35K NIS / month working for an international company, I — I mean we — wept silent tears and cursed the day we ever went into writing.

Naturally we can’t divulge details about these sources. But we hope that they won’t be offended if we share that they’re not crazy experienced salespeople at the VP/C-suite level.

Lesson learned: it’s possible to earn the big bucks in international sales for high-tech companies, particularly once bonuses and commissions are factored in. (Note: at today’s FX rate, 30K NIS = $108K USD. Thus, a six figure salary in American dollars).

Where the jobs are found: Israeli companies that sell internationally (note: many sale jobs do not pay this much. Also note: there can be differences in compensation between domestic and international sales roles and between sales and business development).

Do I need Hebrew? For international sales roles, Hebrew might be optional. For domestic-oriented sales roles, obviously, Hebrew is almost certainly going to be necessary.

Freelance Writer (30-40K NIS / month)

One more from the friends and professional contacts bucket before we get back to the salary table.

Sadly, I don’t earn this month money. But I’m including this one piece of anecdotal data to dispel the idea that all writers are poor.

An Israel-based freelance writer recently confided in me that he was routinely grossing between 30K-40K NIS per month in billing and was even eyeing up the 50K NIS mark as a credible target.

How did he (or she) do it? From what I could discern, a few juicy retainers and (as always) a good measure of persistence. His takeaway: there’s a lot of business up for grabs in Israel. If you know how to bill wisely, it can add up.

Where the jobs are found: By starting one yourself!

Do I need Hebrew? It might help for working with Israeli clients. But otherwise, no.

MarCom (20-25K NIS / month)

Another job I can speak to because …well, I used to do it. Although its noteworthiness is dubious because according to Drushim’s data this career path only tops out at 20-25K NIS (graduate salaries are 10-12K NIS).

MarCom is an abbreviation for marketing communications. MarCom managers are typically responsible for a variety of functions related to helping startups or other entities communicate including drafting marketing collateral; helping out with public relations (PR); and even planning and organizing events.

Where the jobs are found: Because these roles tend to encompass a few different functions, MarCom roles tend to be found in smaller to mid-sized organizations.

Do I need Hebrew? It depends on the organization.

Port Worker (38K NIS / month)

Crane | The AMLI crane operator did a wonderful job handling… | Flickr

Something that people forget when sizing up the Israeli job market is that while many high-paying careers are notorious (ahem …. programming) there are others that are less well known. The compensation here might have a lot to do with Israel’s somewhat monopolistic economy. But who cares about that when you’re bringing home almost 40K NIS a month?

According to Ha’aretz, Haifa dockworkers land some of the fattest public sector paychecks in Israel clocking in at 38,000 NIS / month.

Where the jobs are found: In Haifa Port!

Do I need Hebrew? Yes

Electricity Company Employee (34K NIS / month)

Your neighbor’s high electricity tariff can be your windfall if you join the party going on at the Israel Electric Company (IEC).

According to the same Ha’aretz article average monthly compensation at the power company stood at 34K NIS.

The IEC, at the time of writing, enjoys a monopoly position in the electricity market.

Where the jobs are found: At the IEC!

Do I need Hebrew? Yes

Government Company Worker (26K NIS / month)

In fact, the State’s largesse isn’t limited to specific companies. Jobs across the public sector in Israel pay relatively well.

Salaries at Israeli state-owned companies averaged 26K NIS.

Source: Ha’aretz.

Where the jobs are found: Israeli government companies.

Do I need Hebrew? Yes

IDF and Israel Police Top Brass (57-100K+ NIS)

Career IDF soldiers can be paid surprisingly well

If you thought that the only salaries paid out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were those paid to lone soldiers you would be … very wrong.

Career soldiers in the IDF, it turns out, can do rather well for themselves. Ha’aretz, a few years ago, offered some benchmarks about what the IDF pays its upper echelons. But as continuously citing from the same newspaper is probably starting to seem a bit lazy, here are some more recent figures from Ynet:

  • Chief of Israel Police: 93,091 NIS / month
  • IDF Chief of Staff: 98,135 NIS / month

Where the jobs are found: The IDF, Israel Police, and other organizations within the defense and intelligence community.

Do I need Hebrew? Yes

SEO Managers (17-20K NIS)

Know your meta titles from your meta descriptions and your backlinks from your outbound links?

If so, a career in SEO could be not only a good fit but a nice money-earner. According to Daniel Zrihen, SEO managers can expect to earn up to 17-20K NIS and “sometimes north of that,” for their role in helping companies manage their search engine optimization.

Where the jobs are found: SEO managers can be found working in all manner of companies that take their digital marketing and search engine performance seriously.

Do I need Hebrew: It depends on the role.

Product Managers (30K+ NIS)

Another hot field in Israel with good earning potential is product management (not to be confused with project management — which is also a hot field, although these days PM jobs are more commonly found in tech companies than at construction sites).

Product managers serve as the crucial liaisons between a company’s customer base and product development resources. Frequently employed in technology companies, product managers might keep abreast of what features users are looking for, prioritize requests, and relay them to development resources.

For their role in helping companies take strategic product decisions that can increase profitability, product managers can be handsomely compensated. According to Drushim, salaries can surpass the 30K NIS / month mark after 5 years’ experience.

Where are the jobs found? Many technology companies. Sometimes, separate product managers are appointed for each product that a company providers for even for different use-cases.

Do I need Hebrew: It depends on the role.

Want To Get More Benchmarks?

Google טבלאות שכר to find other salary surveys. These are compiled by many Israeli job boards. The figures here were drawn from Drushim.

Want To Share Your Career Story?

If you want to share a spotlight on the career that you have chosen in Israel, then consider dropping After Aliyah a line.

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