The employment rate of ultra-Orthodox men reached an all-time high of 55.8% in the second quarter, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics' (CBS) employment target collection. This positive trend marks a significant shift in norms among the younger generation compared to recent years, during which the employment rate varied between 50% to 52%.
The increase in employment is attributed to the flow of funds for allowances to ultra-Orthodox men, which made it easier for them to remain in yeshivas. At the same time, the social cost of leaving the kollel (yeshiva for married men) remained high, leading many to choose continued study over seeking employment. However, with the recent surge in employment rates, it seems that more ultra-Orthodox men are entering the workforce.
The employment rate of ultra-Orthodox men still lags behind that of non-Orthodox Jewish men, standing at 87%. Nonetheless, the significant rise in employment for the ultra-Orthodox community has been hailed as a positive development for both individuals and the broader economy.
Labor Minister Yoav Ben Tzur praised the achievement, attributing it to extensive investment in the integration of the ultra-Orthodox population into the workforce. He emphasized that this integration not only benefits individuals by providing quality training and employment but also contributes to the overall economy by creating a diverse, skilled, and high-quality workforce.
The Kamah Foundation, a non-profit organization working to integrate the ultra-Orthodox into the labor market, hailed the recent data as a realization of their efforts to encourage employment within the community. They believe that ongoing discussions about lowering exemption ages for religious studies have contributed to reducing fears about entering the labor market without compromising social and community status.
The positive shift in employment rates among ultra-Orthodox men signals a significant change in societal norms and highlights the potential for further integration and economic growth within this community.