New statistics on employment in Jerusalem indicate a growing demand by the city's haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community to integrate in the general job market during this past year, characterized by challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The surprising trend was reflected in recent data published by the the Central Bureau of Statistics and Kivun Center. The Kivun Center was established in 2014 as a joint collaboration between the Finance Ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality. It provides professional counselling and guidance to haredi individuals looking to work in Jerusalem, while maintaining their religious identity.
Data published by Kivun Center indicates more haredi individuals turning to employment counselling centers.
The center's data shows that despite the mass layoffs that followed each wave of COVID-19 in Israel, some 1,587 haredi men and 785 haredi women were hired in Jerusalem during the pandemic, with 35% of them receiving a salary of NIS 7,500 or higher.
This marks a 35% increase in the number of haredi people employed in Jerusalem since 2014.
Some 4,100 individuals from the haredi sector in Jerusalem had turned to Kivun Center for professional guidance this past year as well.
Demand for professional training also saw a rise among Jerusalem's haredi population during the pandemic, with 700 haredi men and women signing up for educational or professional training courses.
The increased demand is also reflected in the lack of a high enough government budget for issuing vouches for vocational training courses for haredim in Jerusalem. The budget approved was NIS 1,500,000 while the demand for vouches by haredim reached NIS 2,100,000.
This led to dozens and possibly hundreds of requests being denied over a lacking budget.
"The coronavirus year forced us to be creative in the services we offer and provide to job seekers," said Yehiel Amoyal, director of Kivun Center.
"We've seen the efforts pay off and have managed to support the growing demand among all parts of the haredi sector to join the Israeli job market," he added.
However, Amoyal noted an opposite trend of haredi individuals who were fired or put on unpaid leave during the pandemic and are now hesitant to come back.
Kivun Center data shows that many employers are currently offering quality and high-paying positions in a wide range of fields, but are struggling to find employees.
"This is the time to find quality and worthwhile jobs," Amoyal concluded.