Survey finds pervasive labor discrimination against Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, women

Economy Ministry poll: Both employers and employees show some reluctance to work alongside Arab men (46%), ultra-Orthodox men (30%).

March 30, 2014 14:27
1 minute read.
Passengers on the light rail.

Arab woman haredi man on light rail 370. (photo credit: Shalom Hartman Institute)


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Pervasive discrimination exists in the labor market against Arabs, haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) and women, a survey the Economy Ministry released Sunday showed.

According to the survey, 42 percent of Jewish, Hebrew-speaking employers preferred not to hire Arab men and 37% preferred not to hire haredi men. Both employers and employees showed some reluctance to work alongside Arab men (46%), ultra-Orthodox men (30%) and even educated Arab women (28%).

“The survey data raise serious questions regarding the public’s attitude in general and employers’ attitudes in specific regarding employees from different populations,” said Tziona Koenig-Yair, of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner.

Women faced the greatest discrimination when it came to family issues. In 2013, 60% of complaints women registered at the Economy Ministry’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were on grounds dealing with pregnancy or raising children.

When it came to hiring women with children, 41% of employers preferred not to hire Arabs and 27% preferred not to hire ultra-Orthodox women.

Another 13% said they would be reluctant to hire any married woman with young children.

Women deemed beyond the age of raising young kids had it much easier. 93% of employers and 95% of workers said they would have no problem working with a woman over the age of 50.

“Though half the survey participants were women and most of them were married or had been in the past, there was great opposition to employing women with children and a worrying reporting of wage gaps between men and women,” said Koenig-Yair.

A quarter of employers said women in their companies earned less than men.

The survey, one of several conducted ahead of a convention on inequality in the workplace, to take place Monday, was conducted among 500 respondents representing the Jewish, Hebrew-speaking population.

A survey released last week found 80% of the LGBT community saying they faced discrimination in the hiring process.

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