In my sixteen months of being in Israel during my engagement with Rackspace, one thing that drove me crazy were the incredibly low wages / no pay for young, very bright and very driven college grads who come to make Aliyah and of course, a job, only to discover they will earn less than 1/2 of what their counterparts in NY, SFO, Austin are making.
I am not taking about Harvard MBA $125,000 a year jobs. I am talking about basic entry marketing positions that in Israel, if they pay at all, you can maybe earn $1,200 per month — and I am stretching it.
I recently hired a wonderful University of Michigan grad for a project and she was thrilled to get paid “something.”
Many employers in Israel know they can take advantage of “rich” American kids whose parents are more than likely funding their first year or two in Israel.
I know of several marketing agencies that hire unpaid interns because it gives them a great “life experience.” These young adults are smart, well educated, wired, and while enthusiastic and big supporters of Israel, when reality sets in, and maybe your parents can’t help you, then Israel winds up losing great assets, great minds, and what could be the best Ambassadors ever.
Instead, many leave — not just to see their dream of living in Israel come undone, but being a potentially wonderful voice for the country.
I don’t have a solution for this, but I think it’s important to advance the conversation.