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September 5, 2019 12:17 pm

In Israel, AI Pays Off, New Survey Shows

avatar by Lilach Baumer / CTech

The Tel Aviv skyline at night. Photo: Gilad Avidan via Wikimedia Commons.

CTech – A recent survey conducted via Facebook group Machine and Deep Learning Israel has generated some interesting insights about the sector, made even more relevant by the fact that in recent years more and more multinationals have joined the battle for Israeli talent in the domain of artificial intelligence. Compiled into a report by AI consultant and group founder Uri Eliabayev and data scientist Omri Goldstein, the survey had 569 respondents of the group’s 15,500 members. Of the respondents, 402 of them stated they were fully employed.

The authors cautioned that while the number of respondents was high, it was still not nearly enough data for an accurate statistical model, and that the model was not capable of identifying causality.

Of the respondents, 74.1 percent were male. The average age was 32.7, with gender making no difference. When considering the public versus the private sector, the youngest respondents were those in mandatory military service, and the oldest were government employees, where the median age was 36. For those working in startups and corporations, the median age was 32. Geographically, Tel Aviv scored the highest in terms of employment, attracting almost half of respondents living in Israel’s central district, almost half of those residing in the country’s south, and a third of Jerusalem residents. Tel Aviv also scored the highest in terms of residence.

The most commonplace positions held by the respondents were those of data scientist, researcher or scientist, deep learning or machine learning engineer, software developer, algorithm developer, analyst, and chief technology officer, though that is hardly surprising considering the target audience of the survey. The most common degrees were computer sciences (including electrical engineering, software engineering, and bioinformatics), engineering and exact sciences degrees (mathematics, physics, and engineering disciplines that are not electrical or software), life sciences (including chemistry, biology, and neuroscience), and economy. While computer sciences graduates could be found in all positions, engineering, life sciences, and exact sciences graduates were mostly found in the data scientist position, with the latter being almost all of the data analysts in the survey. Those with a computer sciences degree were on average the highest earners, followed by those with engineering degrees.

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The average monthly wage for all respondents was NIS 31,000 ($8,830). In comparison, the average wage in the private sector was NIS 10,634 ($3,030) at the time of the survey, which ended in March. Half of respondents were in the range between NIS 22,500 and NIS 37,500 ($6,408-$10,681), indicating a wide variety in the industry. The average wage gap between men and women was NIS 2,600 ($740.5), or eight percent. The highest earners, on average, were those who defined their role as researcher or scientist, with NIS 36,000 ($10,254), followed closely by chief technology officers and machine learning engineers, with NIS 35,000 ($9,970). Analysts were the lowest earners, with a monthly salary of NIS 19,000 ($5,410) on average. The gender wage gap could be partially attributed to women making up 45 percent of analysts in the survey, but gaps existed within the same roles as well: a male data scientist earned on average NIS 3,000 ($855) more than a female one, and a similar gap existed for researchers.

The number of degrees also had an impact on monthly wages. More than half (51 percent) of respondents had a master’s, while 12 percent achieved PhDs, and 33 percent had not advanced beyond a BSc degree. On average, those with a BSc degree earned NIS 27,000 ($7,690.5), those with a master’s earned NIS 31,000 ($8,830), and those with a doctorate earned NIS 38,000 ($10,825) on average. While for master’s holders there was no gender gap, for those with a PhD there was a very prominent one: men earned NIS 41,000 ($11,680) on average compared to the NIS 27,000 ($7,690.5) women did. Some of that difference could be explained by the fact that only half of women respondents earned their PhDs in computer sciences or engineering, while 82 percent of men did so.

Age and experience also impact wages positively, as did the size of the company: 25 percent of respondents who said they were employed at companies with over 10,000 employees earned over NIS 46,000 ($13,100) a month.

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