Employment among Arab women, Haredi men rising sharply

Israeli Arab women  credit: Shutterstock
Israeli Arab women credit: Shutterstock

In the second quarter of 2023, employment among Arab women reached 45%, up from 33% in 2014.

Employment among Arab women and Haredi men is rising sharply, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. In the second quarter of 2023, employment among Arab women reached 45%, up from 33% in 2014. Among Haredi men, employment has reached 56%, up from 52% in 2014.

These figures come at a time of a tight job market with 67% of the adult population in employment but the rise in employment in these minority sectors is far higher than the overall average, which has risen by just 0.5% since 2014.

Ministry of Labor senior economist Hadas Fuchs said, "The increase in the employment of Arab women is part of an ongoing process. A decade ago we already began to see a significant increase in the rate of matriculation passes and a doubling of the rate of academic education compared with 2010. In fact, it's surprising that it didn't happen sooner."

Fuchs points out that higher matriculation and academic education rates increases employment rates, but this is not limited to education: "We also see an increase in the employment of Arab women without an academic education or even matriculation. There is a cultural change in Arab society that makes it more acceptable for women to work. When female academics go out to work, it also inspires uneducated women and even mothers of children."

Regarding Haredi men, Fuchs stresses the change for the better now taking place after the stagnation in recent years. She says, "In the last two quarters we finally see employment increasing. We hope that this is a good sign of things to come, but it cannot be taken for granted. These are preliminary data, and it is worth continuing to monitor it."

Why is it happening? In Fox's view, this is about the rising cost of living. She says, "Haredim also go to the supermarket, and the women's income is simply not enough."

One of the factors that may have a particular effect is the increase in interest rates, which is especially relevant for Haredi families who leverage as much as they can to get an apartment. According to a study by the Bank of Israel, Haredi communities are strongly affected by the increase in interest rates.

Fuchs claims that there is no link to the increase in the number of jobs in the public sector for the Haredim, and "there is no data yet, but it is probably on the margins." In her view, it is likely that we will also see an increase in the quality and scope of employment: "Usually an increase in employment comes together with an increase in the quality of employment. We will probably not see an increase in the proportion of part-time employees, the data will be seen next month and we will know for sure."

How do we continue the positive trend? Fuchs emphasizes the work being done by the Ministry of Labor, of orientation centers that help vulnerable populations find work. "40% of those studying on technology courses supervised by the Ministry of Labor are Haredim and Arabs. They are directed to training such as English studies, computer applications, payments for professional training, referral to the technological colleges."

But still, you can't ignore the elephant in the room - the core studies such as math and English, the lack of which makes it very difficult to find a well-paid job. Fuchs says "Core studies are needed. People need to be given the skills to integrate into the job market. We meet people 18 and over, but the education system has responsibility for what happens before that."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 2, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Israeli Arab women  credit: Shutterstock
Israeli Arab women credit: Shutterstock
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