Study: Haredi employment on the rise

Haredi participation in the workforce has increased in recent years, with women in the community now employed at only a slightly lower rate than non-haredi Jewish females, a recent study revealed. The rate of haredi men employed has also gone up, although the gap remains much wider when compared with other males in the country. Despite these improvements, poverty remains a serious problem in the haredi community due mainly to a lack of secular elementary education, the large size of families and the high proportion of men who continue to study Torah full-time. The report suggests that the simplest solution for the community's employment problem is to promote relevant education for basic job skills, especially in the areas of English, mathematics and computers. However, the report tempered, the effects of this solution would only begin to be seen in the long term. According to the study, conducted for the Van Leer Institute by Bank of Israel economists Dr. Daniel Gottlieb and Yehuda Eliraz, any plan to reduce poverty must include educational goals agreed upon by the haredi community that increase their employment potential. The large size of many haredi families was also noted by the report as a contributing factor in the community's economic hardship because it both drastically reduces the mother's earning ability and demands significant resources to maintain the family. The study also reported that the reduction in state child allowance payments contributed to the difficult financial situation of the haredi community, despite the increased number of haredim who either found jobs or were looking for work.