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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Continuing to break the stereotypes associated with communal living, the highest paid members of today's kibbutzim are earning just under NIS 18,000 per month, the Kibbutz Movement reported Monday.
"The introduction of differential salaries among members has been the leading contributor to the changing way of life in the movement," the group said.
Two-thirds of the country's 180 kibbutzim have adopted the new budget management system, moving away from the more traditional socialist approach of years gone by.
"Whereas before members would receive a budget based on the number of children they have and how long they have been on the kibbutz, today there is more of a correlation with what they do and how hard they work," said Kibbutz Movement spokesman Aviv Leshem.
The kibbutz also taxes its members according to their salary level, he added.
The results of the survey conducted by the Kibbutz Movement showed that the kibbutz administrative coordinator earned the highest gross salary of all members at NIS 17,952 per month, followed by the kibbutz secretary who takes in NIS 15,716 and the community manager clocking in at NIS 14,716.
Today's cowshed manager is the top earner among the agricultural supervisors, herding in NIS 12,500 per month, while the average professional cowshed worker earns NIS 6,600 per month and his non-professional counterpart pulls in an average NIS 4,560.
The survey showed account managers to earn NIS 11,070 per month, food managers earning an average NIS 9,900, and education coordinators bringing in NIS 8,800.
Leshem explained that the first kibbutz moved to the new budgeting system in 2000 and that its success was another sign that the movement as a whole was growing and had overcome its 20 years of crisis.
For the first time in 2005, he noted that the "kibbutz economy" grew at a faster rate than the general Israeli economy and that the average kibbutz family earned more than the average Israeli household.
The kibbutz movement prepared its survey of salaries for the second year running but said that due to the war it was unable to conduct as comprehensive research as it had intended - instead of the 40 Kibbutzim which had been planned to participate in the survey, just 27 were able to supply salary figures of some 2,200 members.
The research covered the average gross salary of 180 different jobs and did not include those working in industry.
The Kibbutz Industries Association, meanwhile, said Monday it expects sales from its factories to grow 5.3 percent to NIS 31.5 billion for 2006.
KIA managing director Amos Rabin gave the forecast ahead of the group's annual conference on Thursday and said exports would grow to NIS 11.3b. for the year, some NIS 1.4b. more than in 2005. Sales to the local market are forecast to rise by NIS 1b. to NIS 15.2b. by the end of 2006.
Sales to Europe make up half the exports, while those to the US constitute 24%. The remaining sales abroad go to Asia, the Far East and South America, KIA reported.
Operating profits should reach NIS 2.4b., it said.
Rabin added that the growth came as a result of new workers employed in kibbutz factories, bringing its combined work force to 40,000.
KIA reported that it has 277 factories under its umbrella, of which 66 have annual sales of over NIS 100 million. The most active sectors in which the kibbutzim operate include plastics in which 44% of KIA factories are active, food with 17% of the factories and metals and machinery taking up 13%.
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