Employers reluctant to hire Ethiopians, Haredim and Arabs, study shows
What are the chances for Ethiopian Jews, haredim and Israeli Arabs with academic degrees to integrate into prestigious, lucrative professions in Israel? According to a study conducted by researchers at the Kiryat Ono Academic College - a summary of which was released on Monday - the answer is: not very good.
According to the study, which surveyed dozens of employers and potential employees in professions like banking, advertising, media, accounting, the public sector and law, most Israeli employers reported that they were hesitant to hire Ethiopians, haredim or Arabs, even if they met the academic qualifications for the job. The findings showed that 83 per cent of employers preferred not to hire Arabs, 58% said no to haredim and 53% rejected Ethiopians.
The study also found that these populations had a tough time seeking advancement in the workplace, with 86% of employers tending not to promote haredim, 79% Arabs and 70% Ethiopians.
The study found that of the sectors researched, the television and advertising sector was the most discriminatory, while there had been an improvement in the legal and accounting professions in recent years.
In the banking and finance sector, haredim have managed to gain entry, albeit only in junior positions, while Arabs and Ethiopians have been left out completely.
The Ono report represents the first formal study that questions whether the statement "Everyone can succeed" is correct in Israeli society. The researchers studied the reasons for exclusions of the three population groups in specific employment sectors, and suggested changes to remedy the situation.
"We like to consider ourselves a multicultural and open society, but the data shows that we still have a long way to go when it comes to equal opportunities," said Moshe Karif, who led the team of researchers. "The results of the survey are not flattering and not simple, but we have to look at them without flinching. We have to take a closer look at the idea that education is the solution to decreasing the gaps in our society.
"Our ultimate desire is to help reduce the gaps between the different segments of the population, gaps that are really unjustified. After all, why can't you have an Arab give a financial analysis on television? Why can't a haredi man represent us in court?" he asked.
Karif said it was still early to talk about concrete measures like affirmative action and quotas, but he hoped that the study - which will be presented on Tuesday before government ministers and some of the top business leaders in a day-long conference in Kiryat Ono - would make people realize that discriminatory practices were almost the norm in Israel, and work to remedy the situation.
Among the study's recommendations are that the public sector open its doors to people from the three populations and include them in positions that deal with the general public, and that it demand employment equality from companies bidding for state tenders the same way it does in the television and media market. The report also urges the private sector to launch forums dedicated to hiring minorities.
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