Intel Israel lays off dozens; thousands to reportedly be offered retirement packages

Company says global headquarters ordered reduction of expenses by billions of dollars over next three years, forcing firings in Israel and elsewhere

An Intel building in Jerusalem, May 18, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
An Intel building in Jerusalem, May 18, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Intel Israel has laid off dozens of employees, the country’s largest private sector high-tech employer confirmed Thursday, as it sought to cope with financial struggles that have hit the firm globally.

Sources at Intel Israel told Hebrew media Thursday that the layoffs have been taking place over the past several weeks and that they amount to only a fraction of the company’s 14,000 workers in the country.

However, due to a directive from Intel headquarters in the fall for all branches to cut spending significantly, some fear that additional layoffs are in store.

The firings have taken place across multiple departments as the firm closes various projects, according to the Calcalist business daily.

In addition to the dismissals, other Intel Israel employees were offered retirement packages or unpaid leave. Channel 12 said thousands are slated to be offered such packages without citing a source.

“In response to the market conditions and macroeconomic changes, global Intel is acting to reduce expenses by billions of dollars over the next three years, including by making the size of teams more efficient and limiting the recruitment of employees. This will result in a reduction to the workforce across the world, including in Israel,” the firm said in a statement.

Intel Israel has a computer chip manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat and R&D centers in Jerusalem, Petah Tikva and Haifa, and acquired self-driving technology firm Mobileye in 2017.

With high salaries and exorbitant perks, Israel’s high-tech sector had been breaking more and more records in recent years, though some observers warned of a bubble in the market given an investment frenzy and sky-high valuations.

Those assessments have appeared accurate, with the sector being one of the hardest hit during the ongoing inflation crisis.

The Kan public broadcaster reported that 3,000 high-tech employees were fired in the first three months of the year, and Channel 12 said that an additional 2,800 workers were fired in June and July.

Earlier this week, the SodaStream home seltzer machine manufacturer laid off 120 employees, mainly at its factory in southern Israel, as demand for its products returns to lower pre-COVID levels.

Earlier this month, Isracard announced that it was laying off 250 employees, 12% of its workforce, as Israel’s largest credit card company also embarked on a plan to streamline costs and operations.

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