Haredim only make half the salary of others in hi-tech industry

The average salary of a haredi tech employee is NIS 10,830 a month, compared to an average monthly wage of NIS 22,479 among non-haredi tech workers.

Avratech director Aaron Safrai (right) is pictured with ultra-Orthodox Jewish students learning computer programming at Avratech's Jerusalem offices (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Avratech director Aaron Safrai (right) is pictured with ultra-Orthodox Jewish students learning computer programming at Avratech's Jerusalem offices
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Despite a rise of haredim (ultra-Orthodox) in Israel's tech sector, they make on average only half the salary according to a report cited by the Knesset Spokesperson's Office. 
The report was published by Israeli Advanced Technology Industries (AITI), Israel's umbrella organization of the hi-tech, life science and other advanced technology industries, and KamaTech, a nonprofit organization working to integrate Israel's ultra-Orthodox population into its technology industry. 
The average salary of a haredi tech employee is NIS 10,830 a month, compared to an average monthly wage of NIS 22,479 among non-haredi tech workers, according to data from the Israel Tax Authority. 
At the same time, the report showed that as of 2018, the number of haredim employed in the tech industry was 9,700 which only amounts to just around 3% of the total number of employees in the sector, while haredim amount to some 12% of Israel's population.
Haredi tech workers without an academic degree make an average of NIS 9,786 a month, haredim with a college degree in a relevant field make an average of NIS 16,692 a month, and haredi workers with university degrees in relevant fields make an average of NIS 25,698 a month. In every one of these education levels, haredi tech employees consistently make less than non-haredi employees in tech.
However, according to the report, the wage gap narrows down with experience. Comparing the wages of haredi and non-haredi women in tech suggests a NIS 1,986 monthly gap for fresh graduates, a NIS 1,628 gap one year after graduation, and a gap of just NIS 610 four years after graduation. In addition, the wages of non-haredi women see a slight decrease two years after graduation while the wages of haredi women remain in a constant upward trend as experience accumulates.
The report offers several explanations for the wage gap between haredi and non-haredi tech employees. As women account for the majority of the ultra-Orthodox tech workforce, the report suggests the gap results from these employees' preference to work shorter hours and remain within a haredi environment, which limits their employment options. Also, the report claims, haredi women tend to be less career-oriented and more focused on providing for their families.
The rise in the number of haredi tech employees goes hand in hand with a growing number of haredi students in universities and colleges majoring in tech-related subjects. In 2014, 1,050 haredi students studied tech-related subjects, amounting to 3.8% of students in the field, compared to 1,417 and 4.1% in 2018. This represents a 35% increase in the number of haredi tech students.
When taking into account the number of graduates the leap is far more significant. According to the report, in 2008, only 19 ultra-Orthodox Jews graduated from an academic institution with a degree in a tech-related subject. This number multiplied by more than 11 in 2018, with 216 graduates.
The report led to for the Science and Technology Committee, chaired by MK Einav Kabla to convene on Tuesday, following a request for a quick debate by MK Ariel Kallner (Likud) titled “Encouraging an increase in the employment of haredim in the hi-tech industry, which is a foundation stone in the Israeli economy."  
“In cooperation with the Treasury, we are promoting important and unique programs to train haredim for various professions in the Israeli and global hi-tech industry," Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay told the committee. 
“The economy of innovation feeds the Israeli economy. This is the economy that will offer an opportunity to populations that are not there enough – women, haredim, Arabs and the periphery. Bringing haredim into the hi-tech industry is not a haredi mission, it is a national mission, and even my personal mission, Shay said, further noting that according to the report only 5% of all workers in the hi-tech industry are haredim and Arabs.
However, while growing the hi-tech industry and increasing the employment of haredim are national goals, these goals are being threatened by "organizations that speak in praise of liberalism but seek the exact opposite," Kallner said. 
He further noted that these organizations hurt the haredi sector by filing an appeal with the High Court of Justice calling to prohibit haredim from studying while maintaining their way of life.