Two-thirds of Israelis students work their way through college
פברואר 18, 2008. Haaretz: Tamara TraubmannSome 66 percent of all university and college students are employed, earning an average salary only slightly higher than the minimum wage, according to a new study by the Bank of Israel and the Central Bureau of Statistics, whose results have not yet been officially released.
The researchers who published the study in the framework of a series of study papers on the Israeli economy say this is the first definitive study that has ever sought to gauge employment patterns of the student population.
The employment rates of students are defined as "very high" in comparison to other countries. During the first year of school, some 52 percent of students were employed. By the second school year, that number had reached 64 percent. The actual employment rate of students is presumably even higher, as the study only examined taxed jobs.
The study found that work had a minor effect on the time it took students to complete their degrees - a finding which did not correspond with similar studies in other countries.
According to some of the researchers involved with the study, a possible explanation to this discrepancy is a cautious approach on the part of Israeli students who are unsure of whether they are able to study and work at the same time. These students, the researchers say, would be less inclined to take on a job.
Similar studies conducted abroad also indicated a deteriorated level of academic performance on the part of students who were working during their studies. The study in Israel did not examine this aspect. The study also lacked data on the students' living expenses and the support they had received from their parents and other sources of income such as scholarships and trust funds.
The most common jobs for students between the ages 20 and 29 who were studying for a bachelor's degree were in sales, catering, security and services. Some 35 percent of the students of this group were employed in such jobs. Some 20 percent were employed as receptionists or in other related positions. Another 22 percent of students were employed as independent professionals or in technical services.
On average, students work approximately 30 hours a week. Some 40 percent of students work more than 40 weekly hours, or more than a full-time position. In the first year of school, students work an average of 6.2 months. By the third year, they work an average 7.7 months each year.
The study also shows differences in the working patterns of university students compared to college students. University students, according to the study, work 7.7 months a year on average, compared to 8.2 months in students attending public colleges.
Students attending private colleges, where tuition is three times higher than in universities and public colleges, work most: an average of nine months per year.
Students studying for degrees which are considered demanding, such as medicine and the sciences, work less than other students. According to the study, such students work for an average 6.5 to seven months a year.
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