Israeli men working less than they did a decade ago

Study finds haredi men worked fewer hours per week than general Jewish male population; change credited to global shift toward a leisure economy.

July 28, 2011 02:54
1 minute read.
Israeli workplace (illustrative)

workplace 311. (photo credit: Veronica Therese)

Israeli men are working less, according to research published Thursday by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. The report revealed that Israeli men worked fewer hours per week in 2009 than they did a decade ago, with Israeli non-haredi Jewish men shortening their work weeks by 3.4 percent from 1999 to 2009.

The work weeks of Israeli Arab men did not change significantly, decreasing by 0.5 hours during the 10-year period.

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The study also found that haredi men worked 20% fewer hours per week than the general Israeli Jewish male population. While the average work week in 1999 was 42.5 hours, 2009 saw haredi men’s hours drop to 37.5.

Eyal Kimhi, director of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel and author of the study, credits the fewer work hours to a global shift toward a leisure economy.

He said that the study, based on labor force surveys conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics, does not reveal if Israelis are choosing to work less, or are finding fewer employment opportunities.

Kimhi expressed concern about the decrease in the number of hours haredi men worked, as the number of haredi children and poverty rates continue to grow. Haredi children represent one-fifth of all primary school attendees in Israel today, and their enrollment in schools has increased by 51% during the past decade alone, according to the study.

“If the employment patterns continue, fewer haredim will go into the labor market and will work fewer hours – so who will work in this country?” Kimhi said.

Meanwhile, Jewish women’s work hours did not decrease in either the haredi or non-haredi sector. In the 10-year period, non-haredi Jewish women’s work weeks increased by 1 hour (from 36.8 to 37.8 hours). Though haredi women continue to work fewer hours than non-haredi Jewish women, the average work hours per week remained 29.7 hours from 1999 to 2009.

Kimhi explained that a general trend favoring increased female participation in the labor force likely counteracted the trend towards a leisure economy.

Arab women’s work hours, meanwhile, dropped from 37.4 to 34.8 hours.

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