Mapping Human Capital Among Young Men and Women From East Jerusalem - Abstract
Publication Year: 2022
Recent years have seen numerous efforts to integrate East Jerusalem residents into the labor market generally and into quality employment specifically. At the same time, very little is actually known about the human capital in East Jerusalem. Data collection difficulties and various methodological problems have resulted in a lack of credible, comprehensive statistics about the Arab population of East Jerusalem, including its education and employment characteristics.
The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research has therefore sought to map and characterize the human capital of young men and women in East Jerusalem: to map the supply of workers in East Jerusalem as well as their employment characteristics; to characterize the labor force in East Jerusalem and identify the existing gaps between level of education and full realization of the employment potential; and to identify the barriers that prevent East Jerusalem residents from integrating into the employment market generally and into quality employment specifically.
The study included a large targeted survey in East Jerusalem, with the participation of 1,500 men and women aged 18-35. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest survey conducted in East Jerusalem to date. Consequently, its findings may provide new insights and a great deal of previously inaccessible knowledge. In addition, the study included two focus groups and a roundtable at which participants discussed issues that had emerged from the survey and potential solutions to them.
The State of Affairs and Main Insights
Characteristics of Education and Employment
- The young residents of East Jerusalem are relatively educated, with a rate of higher education that exceeds the corresponding rate among young Arabs in Israel at large. Most of the young adults with a high school matriculation certificate are graduates of the Palestinian curriculum (Tawjihi), while only a few are graduates of the Israeli curriculum.
- Most of Jerusalem’s young Arab men are employed, at rates comparable to the figures for Arabs in Israel generally. In contrast, the employment rate among Jerusalem’s young Arab women is lower than the rate among Arab women in Israel generally, and a high percentage of young women in East Jerusalem have never worked.
- The average salary among East Jerusalem women is very low, at NIS 3,000-5,000 per month, even though most of the employed women reported that they work full-time.
- Only a quarter of the men reported that they meet Jews at their workplace, and among women the rates were even lower.
The Link between Education and Employment
- Most graduates of the Palestinian curriculum pursued academic studies at Palestinian universities. Half of the Palestinian curriculum graduates have never been employed.
- Among high school matriculation certificate holders, only a few are graduates of the Israeli curriculum, and most of these graduates enrolled in Israeli universities. Among graduates of the Israeli curriculum, 66% integrated into the labor market and are currently employed.
- Among graduates of the Palestinian curriculum, the type of matriculation certificate received – whether in the humanities and social sciences or the sciences and technical fields – had no impact on their decision whether to attend an Israeli or academic institution or a Palestinian one, nor on the extent of their eventual integration into the labor market.
- Among young adults who attended Israeli academic institutions, there was a high rate of integration into the labor market and most are currently employed.
- Many young adults noted that they had enrolled in universities outside of Israel out of convenience and in order to “bypass” linguistic and cultural barriers, but they did not know that this choice would have a decisive impact on their professional future. The study points to the importance of improving the career counseling system and ensuring that high school students understand the different academic tracks and the significance of choosing among them.
- Among young adults who had pursued academic studies in scientific and technical subjects, there was a high rate of integration into the labor market. At the same time, a majority of those who pursued higher education chose subjects in the humanities or social sciences, such as sociology, humanities, or social work, and as graduates they find it difficult to integrate into the labor market and work in their field of study.
- Among the study population, a higher education did not necessarily lead to a higher salary. Among men a higher education was found to have no impact on salary level, while among women education was found to have a negative return, with women who lack a higher education earning more on average than those who received a higher education. As participants in the study group attested, “Education is good for reputation and status, but not for salary.”
Barriers to Integration into the Labor Market
The study found a number of key barriers to the integration of young adults from East Jerusalem into the labor market:
- A gender and cultural barrier: Even though the women in East Jerusalem are more educated than the men, 69% of them have never worked. In addition, women noted that they do not receive support from their immediate environment when it comes to integrating family life and work.
- A shortage of daycare centers: 52% of the parents stated that their children aged 0-3 remain at home with their mother rather than being placed in daycare.
- Accessibility and infrastructures: A lack of transportation access to West Jerusalem and areas of employment reduces the choices available to East Jerusalem residents and results in their working near home.
- Proficiency in Hebrew: 60% of the young residents reported that they do not know Hebrew at all or that their verbal proficiency in Hebrew is low to moderate. The study found that a lack of proficiency in Hebrew is one of the factors that most impede East Jerusalem residents’ integration into the labor market.
- Higher education and professional certificates: The young residents of East Jerusalem are relatively educated, but a high proportion of them pursue studies in subjects that do not lead to integration into the labor market. Of the East Jerusalem residents with a higher education, 85% had attended Palestinian institutions; in many cases Israel does not recognize the diplomas received from these institutions, and therefore those graduates cannot integrate into the labor market within their field of study.
- Discrimination: 38% of the men and 31% of the women noted that one of the three main barriers to their integration into the labor market is “racism and discrimination on the part of Jewish employers.”