An Israeli employment agency has opened a free service on social media to help fill the gaps left by tens of thousands of workers called up to fight Hamas in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

Israel’s employment situation was already tight when 50,000 reservists were mobilized for the drive to shut down Hamas terrorist tunnels and rocket launching sites, and companies are scrambling to find temporary replacements.

When workers serve in the military reserves, the government covers their salaries, but there’s no compensation to their companies for the time lost on delivering critical projects — nor can the government provide replacement workers for companies where a lack of workers puts important contracts, and perhaps the company itself, in jeopardy.

To help remedy that, an Israeli employment agency has jumped in with a free social-media based service, aimed at helping companies find temporary replacements until the conflict is over and the reservists come home.

CVPool appeals to the reservists themselves to help their companies, said CEO Tzippy Bitton Yishai.

If the called-up soldier is a key figure in a project, or has specialized knowledge or skills, the company may depend on him to get critical work done, work that cannot be carried out in his absence. That’s why Yishai came up with the idea of a social media campaign, based on Facebook and Twitter, to reach out to reserve soldiers who had to leave their companies in the lurch, asking for help in finding someone to carry on their work.

“Any reserve soldier called up for duty is invited to submit the details of their situation to the site, and we promise to track down a replacement worker in as short a time as possible,” said Yishai, with the same holding true for employers in need. As the company’s small contribution to the war effort, CVPool isn’t charging either party for the service.

CVPool is a typical on-line employment agency, accepting resumes from workers in mostly white-collar areas and matching them to available jobs. With Israel’s unemployment rate hovering between 5% and 6% over the past year — it hit a record low of 4.9% last April — competition for good workers was already fierce. Because of the Gaza conflict, placement agencies like CVPool have been inundated by requests from companies for placements, said Yishai.

It was hard enough during “normal” times — but with the war pulling tens of thousands of workers in the prime of their careers from the workforce, Israeli businesses are facing a major crisis, unable to deliver on promised contracts, falling behind on orders, and being forced to leave critical paperwork aside. “The economy is losing millions of shekels a day because of the situation, and many businesses have been looking for temporary help in filling jobs,” said Yishai.

“We were established 15 years ago to help workers and companies get together in a market that had until then been dominated by inefficient print ads,” said Yishai. The new service is the result of CVPool’s long experience in the area, and “the least we could do to help out. We are happy to be offering this service during this difficult period, and we promise to do everything we can to find the appropriate workers for each situation.”