Haredim study more, work less

Bank of Israel survey reveals number of ultra-Orthodox students in study programs designed for haredi sector has gone up from 2,000 in 2005 to 6,000 in 2010. Haredi participation rate in workforce stands at 40%, compared to 80% among non-haredi Jewish public

Ynet News, Israel/April 1, 2011

The number of male and female ultra-Orthodox students in study programs designed for the haredi sector has gone up from about 2,000 in 2005 to some 6,000 in 2010, according to a Bank of Israel survey conducted as part of its annual report.

In the academia, the number of haredi men acquiring an academic education grew from several hundred in 2005 to some 2,500 in 2005.

However, although 90% of the haredi students are studying professions with a strong connection to the labor market - auditing, advocacy, computer science and others - the ultra-Orthodox sector avoids entering the labor market in a significant manner, and the participation rate in the workforce stands at only 40%, compared to about 80% among the non-haredi Jewish public.

The haredi population currently makes up some 8-10% of the population, and according to predictions, its rate in the working age population (25-64) will stand at 17% in 2030.

The Bank of Israel report states that "in recent years we are witnessing a slow but stable process of academization in the haredi sector, which is intensifying especially among men. Haredi men and women turn to academic and professional studies in programs designed for this population and in regular programs."

The ultra-Orthodox sector's main educational institution is the Ono Academic College, in which 2,208 haredim study, followed by the Bnei Brak College, in which 792 study.

Some 25% of all haredi students in all institutions study business administration, 23% study law, 11% study medical assistance professions, and about 2% study mathematics and computer science.

According to the Bank of Israel, "The governmental policy can help overcome different barriers preventing haredim from integrating into academic and professional studies. If this trend is intensifies, a significant change will be created in the future in the employment patterns of the haredi population.

"This change can greatly influence the situation of the Israeli economy and prevent it from reaching a situation in which low participation rates in the workforce will damage its ability to grow."

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