Arab and Ethiopian women most disadvantaged in job market, survey finds
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Arab and Ethiopian women most disadvantaged in job market, survey finds

Some minority groups earn less than half the Israeli average; ultra-Orthodox men fare the best among minorities

Israeli Bedouin women working at a Bezeq customer service center, located in a mosque, in the southern Arab town of Hura, July 27, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Israeli Bedouin women working at a Bezeq customer service center, located in a mosque, in the southern Arab town of Hura, July 27, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Arab and Ethiopian women in Israel earn less than half of the national average salary and are the most disadvantaged groups in the country’s job market, according to a survey of minorities in the labor market released Monday.

Overall, women’s salaries are fifty-nine percent of men’s salaries in Israel, the survey found.

The annual Employment Diversity Index, put out by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, Tel Aviv University, and the Equal Opportunities Commission at the Prime Minister’s Office, offered a bleak picture of employment opportunities for minorities in Israel, especially minority women.

The survey measured representation of minority groups in 20 private-sector industries representing about one million workers, and compared wages for minority workers to the those of other workers in the same fields.

The index, now in its third year, analyzed the employment of Arabs, Ethiopians, ultra-Orthodox and workers over the age of 45, and measured gender differences within those groups.

In general, Ethiopian-Israeli and Arab women, and women over the age of 45 without an academic degree, earn less than 50 percent of the average salary.

Education helped minority groups, but did not land them equal footing, the survey found. Ethiopian and Arab women with higher education faced more employment barriers than women in the general population.

Women with a degree under the age of 30 earn 20% to 40% less than men with the same academic degree.

Newly arrived Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia stand near a painted sign reading “Joyous Spring” at the Absoprtion Center in Mevasseret Zion, outside of Jerusalem. March 25, 2010. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Ultra-Orthodox women with degrees earned 55% of the average salary in their field, while ultra-Orthodox women without degrees earned 69% of the average.

Ethiopian Israelis were almost entirely absent in certain fields,  were over-represented in low-paying industries, and even in those sectors earned 25% less than non-minority groups, the researchers said.

Among minority men, ultra-Orthodox workers earned the most, and Ethiopians the least.

Ethiopian men and women had the highest employment rate of any of the groups surveyed.

The survey was presented to President Reuven  Rivlin on Monday.

“Alongside the successes, we have a great deal of work to do regarding the huge gaps in wages and employment opportunities for Arab society, the ultra-Orthodox sector and Israelis of Ethiopian origin,” Rivlin said.

“Those gaps are more serious when it comes to women from these groups. This is a situation we cannot accept, and we do not accept it,” he said.

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