Security tensions affect workplace relations, study finds

52% afraid to hire Arab employees.

April 21, 2015 01:41
1 minute read.

The Dome of the Rock is seen in the background as Israeli border police officers stand guard. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Kav Mashve, a Haifa-based non-profit organization that promotes equal employment opportunities for Arab university graduates within the Israeli business sector, has published the findings of its latest study, which shows a spike in employers who are afraid to hire Arabs due to the security situation.

The follow up to four previous studies conducted since 2008 showed that 52 percent of the employer-respondents were afraid of hiring Arabs, compared to the 20% who said this in 2013. A quarter of the employers reported that they believed their Jewish employees feared working alongside Arabs. Employers explicitly noted that security tensions affected their decisions regarding hiring Arabs.

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Approximately 100 electronic surveys were sent out to employers across the country, and approximately 20 in-depth interviews were conducted with managers of workplaces having both Jewish and Arab employees. The timing of the survey, coming only months after the end of Operation Protective Edge, allowed the organization to note the extent to which the fighting affected workplace relations between Jews and Arabs.

Of the workplaces surveyed that employ both Jews and Arabs, 85% reported that there was usually no political tension, but 70% reported that there had been tension during Protective Edge. Additionally, over half reported a workplace incident during the operation.

Despite these findings, Kav Mashve noted two positive developments: Workplaces that reported tensions also noted that work continued as normal and tensions dissipated quickly, and 80% of the employers said they did not see any difficulty managing mixed teams of Jews and Arabs.

Employers with no Arab workers were more likely to doubt the abilities of Arabs, according to Kav Mashve. This demonstrates, it said, the benefits of integrating Arabs into workplaces to discourage such stereotyping.

The report showed an improvement in the awareness of employers to the importance of hiring Arabs, up from 51% in 2011 to 86% this year. There has also been an increase in adjusting the recruitment and absorption processes to suit applicants of different backgrounds.

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