Among both Jews and Arabs, the influence of education on employment is clearly evident. According to the Labor Force Survey conducted for the year 2016 by the Central Bureau of Statistics, the rate of those employed among Jews at the predominant working ages (25-64) in Israel is 82%, while the rate of employment among Jews who hold a BA degree is 89%, rising to 91% among those who have an MA degree, and to 92% for those who have a PhD. Among Jews who possess a matriculation certificate (who did not continue on to higher education), the rate of employment is 81%. Among the Arab population, the total rate of employment is only 53%, a similar percentage to those among the Arab population who hold a matriculation certificate (54%), while among Arabs who have a BA, the rate of employment reaches 77%.
The ratio between education and the rate of employment among Jewish men and women is similar, while among the Arabs there are wide gaps between the men and women. Among Arab men, the rate of employment is 75%. The rate of employment among Arab men who have a matriculation certificate is 82%, and the rate of employment among Arab men who have a BA degree is 88%. Among Arab women the rate of employment is lower – only 32%. Among Arab women who have a matriculation certificate the rate of employment is 30%, while for those who have a BA degree the rate is 68%. The chances that an Arab woman who holds an MA will be employed are 82%.
While the rates of employment in Jerusalem are lower than those in the rest of the country, the trends are similar. Among Arabs, the rate of those at the predominant working ages who are employed is 49%, whereas the rate among Arab men is 80%, with the rate among Arab men who hold a BA reaching 86%, while 83% of those who have a matriculation certificate are employed. Among Arab women in Jerusalem the rate of employment is only 20% in general, 12% for those who have a matriculation certificate, and 43% for those who have a BA.
The Council for Higher Education in Israel claims that the market for higher education has reached its limit with respect to the number of students enrolled. In an attempt to assess the extent of enrollment among the different populations in institutions for higher learning, we compared three age cohorts (ages 20 to 22) with the number of students studying for a first degree at local universities and colleges. We found that about 60% of non-Ultra-Orthodox Jews ages 20 to 22 are studying at institutions of higher learning, as compared to 23% of Arabs at the same ages.
It appears that the Arabs lag behind the Jews when it comes to embracing higher education. The percentage of Arab women who hold academic positions is high (35%) relative to those in other positions, and similar to that of Jewish women (33%). In other words, education is a key to employment for Arab women, so that encouraging Arab women to continue their studies at institutions of higher education may yield high returns with respect to their rate of employment.
Translation: Gilah Kahn