In Israel, a number of disadvantaged populations—including ultra-Orthodox men, Arab women, Ethiopian Israelis, and people with disabilities—face barriers career advancement, with many working in low-paying jobs without prospects for moving ahead.
One barrier is the policies and tools that employers use to recruit and promote of employees. These tools often have built-in cultural biases or expectations that can limit the ability of these disadvantaged populations to succeed—reducing both their individual ability for career advancement as well as the broader diversity of Israel’s workforce.
Over the past decade, there are increased efforts to promote workforce diversity in Israel. One example is JDC-TEVET’s EMET (Culturally Fair Testing) program to reduce employment barriers for Ethiopian-Israelis and broaden their employment horizons by encouraging employers to use screening tools that are culturally appropriate for minority populations.
In an initial phase, MJB conducted an extensive review of the best international practices in employment screening. This review enabled JDC-TEVET to develop a series of new culturally appropriate employment screening tools for Ethiopian-Israeli candidates. In a second phase MJB then compared the new screening tools with existing ones, with a focus on the candidate and employer experiences. The new tools were found to predict job performance well.
MJB’s study of culturally fair testing was the first of its kind in Israel. MJB’s work with JDC-TEVET showed that employers who are committed to diversity can do so by improving their screening process. Through EMET’s more culturally appropriate screening tools, employers can increase the diversity of their workforce while maintaining a high level of talent and quality.
Applying these concepts more widely will have important implications for expanding the employment options for Israel’s minority groups and for encouraging workforce diversity.
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