According to the Labor Market Report for 2022 released today by the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, over a decade, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of Arab women acquiring higher education, which has translated into greater participation in the labor market.
In 2020, the report states, a quarter of Arab women aged 30-34 held academic degrees, double the proportion in 2010, when just 13% of Arab women in this age group held degrees. In the 29-31 age group, the proportion of those with degrees reached 27% in 2020.
The figures are in line with those of the Council for Higher Education in Israel, which also show a substantial rise in the number of female Arab students. The proportion of women among Arabs studying for a first degree has remained steady in recent years at about 69%, but the proportion of Arabs in the undergraduate student body as a whole has risen from 16% in 2014 to 20% today, almost the same as their proportion in Israel’s population.
There is a correlation between higher education, participation in the workforce, and level of pay for those in work. People with academic degrees are found to earn more than those without, even after control for variables such as occupation, industry, gender, ethnic group, and location. According to a study by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, a degree yields 45% higher pay, which means that higher education is an important avenue for advancement for weak sections of the population such as Arab women.
The general level of participation in the workforce by Arab women, which historically has been very low in comparison with women in other sections of the population, has also risen significantly. According to the Labor Market Report, in 2014, the rate of participation in the workforce by Arab women was just 33%. This compared with a rate of 69% among haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) women, and 78% among non-haredi Jewish women. By 2022, the rate of participation among Arab women jumped to 42%.
Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services director general Israel Uzan said, "The future of the Israeli labor market is dependent on the ability of different populations to participate in it in general, and particularly in areas with high demand that offer high pay, and that is the task before us. In the past decade there has been a noticeable improvement in employment among Arab and haredi women alongside a sharp rise in education levels. Among haredi women, the proportion with academic degrees has risen from 9% to 15%, and among Arab women the proportion has doubled to 25%. These are encouraging figures. We are working to strengthen and broaden the accessibility of institutions of higher education and training to all sectors, including engineering studies and professional training, so that they will continue to help in matching workers qualifications to the demands of the market."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 5, 2023.
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