Current Trends in the Employment of Adults Aged 45-74

In recent years, the employment of older adults has aroused growing public interest both in Israel and abroad. Demographic changes have considerably increased their proportion of the workforce, and the substantial increase in life expectancy has lengthened the years of their eligibility for a pension. From 2004-2009, the retirement age in Israel was raised amid ongoing discussion as to whether there should be further increases. The labor market itself is changing due to rapid technological developments and this requires older employees to adapt and make adjustments. Those older employees – of retirement age or even earlier – who would like to go on working, do not always manage to find their place in the labor market. As a result the employment of older adults has now become a priority for JDC- Israel (through Tevet and ESHEL).

The goal of the analysis presented in this report was to serve as a basis for developing policies and intervention programs for older adults in the labor market. The survey presents a comprehensive picture of the employment patterns of people aged 45-74 and the trend from 1990 to 2011. It is based mainly on analysis of the Labor Force Surveys of the Central Bureau of Statistics. It includes an international comparison of these trends.

The report focuses particularly on the group of people who are not employed, but express an interest in working. This group is viewed as a key target population.


  • The employment trends for men and women differed. The employment rates for men declined from mid-1990 to mid-2000, followed by a gradual increase. The employment rates for women rose throughout the period, but they remain far below those for men.
  • Some 93,000 people age 45-74 were not working but were interested in working – 50,000 men and 43,000 women; 50% of them were ages 45-54; 40% 55-64; and 10% 65-74.
  • This group was quite heterogeneous :
    1. Level of education: 35% of the men were uneducated or had only elementary schooling and 22% had a college degree; 18% of the women were uneducated or had only elementary schooling and 24% had a college degree.
    2. Population group: 16% were immigrant Jews, 67% were nonimmigrant Jews and 17% were Arabs.

The findings reveal that there is a substantial group of non-employed people aged 45-74 who are interested in working and could possibly integrate into the labor market, if they received help. The fact that the group is heterogeneous in terms of education and population group indicates the need for comprehensive intervention.

The findings of the survey have been presented at various forums of JDC-Tevet and of the Ministry of the Economy and are being used to develop policy and new intervention programs for older adults in the labor market.

The study was commissioned by JDC-ESHEL and JDC-Tevet and funded with their assistance.

* Not in print, available only on the website