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August 2, 2019 10:26 am

Israeli Employment at Record High While Pay Gaps Remain, Study Shows

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A view of the Yehudit Bridge and the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv, Feb. 17, 2019. Photo: Adam Shuldman/Flash90. – The employment rate of Israelis aged 25 to 64 stands at a record 78.3 percent, while major wage gaps between population groups continue to exist, according to a report published on Wednesday by Israel’s Labor Ministry.

Israel’s employment rate is higher than the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 73.7 percent, with the unemployment rate at a “healthy” 4 percent, the report said.

Nevertheless, there are still significant obstacles for Israel to overcome. Arab women and haredi men are the two population groups struggling to integrate into the Israeli workforce. Only 38.2 percent of Arab women and 50.2 percent of haredi men are employed, the report stated.

While the average Israeli employee earns approximately NIS 11,500 (about $3,300) per month, the highest wages are earned by non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish men at NIS 15,372 (nearly $4,400) per month. Women earn less than men, and Arab and haredi wages are even lower.

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“Wage and employment disparities are particularly important as the demographic characteristics of Israel are expected to change in the coming decades,” the report stated.

The Labor Ministry expects Israel’s workforce to reach approximately 3.85 million employees by 2030, compared to 3.1 million today, with ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs estimated to represent between 63 percent and 70 percent of the “additional” workforce.

“My ministry is working to reduce social gaps and provide optimal tools for employment-challenged populations to integrate into the workforce and earn respectable wages,” said Israeli Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz.

“This report that we are publishing for the first time is intended to present the state of the labor market in Israel and the extensive activity to promote the economic and social resilience of Israeli citizens, including increasing resources, improving and developing new programs, along with future planning and adapting services to changing employment situations.”

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