The most prominent trend in the labor market in 2018 was a steep rise in employment among Israeli Arab women, a report by written by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies president Avi Weiss and researcher Hadas Fuchs has found. The employment rate of Israeli Arab women has risen by 3.8% since the beginning of 2018, following a 2.5% increase in 2017. The employment rate among Arab women is now nearing 40%, two years ahead of the target set for 2020 and getting closer to the employment rate among haredi (Jewish ultra-Orthodox) men. The report attributes the increase to higher education levels among Arab women, a trend that has continued since the beginning of the decade.
Another important, albeit less surprising, point highlighted in the report is that the population group that has derived most of the benefit from the prosperity in the Israeli high-tech sector is non-haredi Jewish men. Employment figures show that the proportion of people in this group employment in high tech rose from 8% to 15% in the course of a decade, compared with 7% among non-haredi Jewish women, 3% among haredi Jewish women, and less than 2% among haredi men and Arab women and men.
The general picture in the labor market is positive. Wages continue their upward path, with an 11% increase since 2014. Growth in productivity continues to lag behind the rise in wages, which will prevent further wage rises in the long term. Fuchs and Weiss find a surprising resemblance between wages of haredim and Arabs, despite differences between the two groups in work hours and other variables.
Employment rates continued to improve in 2018; the downtrend in unemployment rates since 2003 continued into 2018. Employment rates among women have risen dramatically since 1995, greatly narrowing the gap between men and women in this aspect. The employment rate among women has risen from less than 60% in 1995 to 74%. The employment rate has risen slowly among men, regaining the 83% level it reached in the mid-1990s.
The most impressive increase in employment rates was among haredi women - 22% in 15 years. The employment rate among Arab women went up 11% since 2002, especially in the past few years, boosting the numbers of those employed by 50%, concurrently with a strong rise in education in this group.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 31, 2018
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