Between 2003-2018, a combination of pressing economic circumstances and public policies supporting the entry of ultra-Orthodox Jews to the labor market resulted in a large increase in employment rates among the ultra-Orthodox– -among both men and women. As a result, more than 50% of ultra-Orthodox men ages 25–64, and 76% of women in the same age bracket are employed. However, the impressive rise in employment rates over several years came to a halt in 2015. Since that time, the rate of employment has not changed among ultra-Orthodox men, but among the women—the rate continues to rise. It is possible that the standstill among men is the result of coalition agreements of the government formed in that year, which led to a cutback in the incentives for entering the labor market, and an increase in financial support for yeshiva and kollel students.
Figure 7: Employment by Population Group and Gender (ages 25-64) (%)
In analyzing employment patterns, a vital component which must be taken into account is the level of income from work. The average salary for ultra-Orthodox workers in 2017 was 63% of that of other Jews. This gap can be explained by the fact that the ultra-Orthodox generally work fewer hours, and earn lower salaries, due (among other factors) to their predominance in low-paying fields of employment, such as education, while—by contrast, the numbers of ultra-Orthodox workers in industry and hi-tech are small. However, recent years have seen a drop in the proportion of ultra-Orthodox workers in the field of education, and an increase in the numbers of those employed in industry. If this trend gains momentum, it would likely result in higher per capita incomes in the future, and consequently, in higher standards of living in ultra-Orthodox households.
Figure 8: Average Gross Monthly Income, (NIS) by Population Group and Gender, 2017 (ages 25–64- )
** The Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel is based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, government ministries and authorities, and the National Insurance Institute.