As tensions flare in Ukraine, amid fears of a possible Russian invasion, Israeli tech companies are assisting their employees in the country to navigate a difficult situation, with financial support and offers to relocate to safer areas.
While it was reported on Tuesday that Russia has pulled back some of its forces near the Ukrainian border — the first steps towards de-escalation – Israel continues to warn Israelis to leave the country as threats of war ramp up.
Ukraine has become a kind of “proxy” for Israel’s tech sector, as companies struggle to hire staff, Globes reports, though there are no official figures. IT outsourcing firm Ciklum’s VP Eran Cohen, who has been working with Israeli companies over the last 10 years, tells Globes he estimates 15,000 to 17,000 employees serving Israeli firms. Meanwhile, news site Al-Monitor suggests Israel relies on close to 20,000 Ukrainian employees. These employees make up several categories including those who work for large outsourcing companies that help Israeli companies, those directly employed by Israeli companies like Wix, Playtika, and Plarium, and those who freelance or are employed by local outsourcing companies. Globes cite some 5,000 Ukrainians directly employed by Israeli companies.
Israeli web development platform Wix said earlier this week that it had evacuated most of its 1,000 employees and their families to Turkey for at least two weeks, with a handful of employees moved to Poland, according to Globes. Wix is said to be one of the largest Israeli employers in Ukraine. The company covered flights, hotels, and food.
Israel’s AppsFlyer, a company that develops platform that measures and optimizes marketing operations, told Calcalist it employs 30 people in Ukraine and has offered to temporarily relocate employees for three months with an option to extend the stay.
Israeli-founded data privacy and protection firm BigID has been following the situation for weeks and has been in touch with 40 Ukrainian developers in cities throughout the country, according to The Times of Israel. The company conducted a survey and offered relocation to other countries, a move within Ukraine to safer areas, and a mapping of which employees would host others as the situation became dire. Most employees preferred a relocation to Poland or Bulgaria, but only 5 percent opted to leave so far. The rest want to stay until there is a real need to get out, BigID’s VP R&D told TOI.
Meanwhile, many employees have opted to stay for now and some are not even worried yet. Israeli property management firm Guesty employs 40 development and support personnel in Ukrainian cities Kyiv and Lviv, but told Calcalist that Israeli managers in Israel seem more stressed about the situation than those living in Ukraine. The company keeps in close contact with their employees and are prepared to relocate or transfer them should the need arise.