Populations Not Fully Participating in the Labor Market: Extent, Characteristics and Programs to Promote their Employment and Occupational Mobility

This report was prepared as part of the strategic planning effort for the Tevet Employment Initiative, a partnership between the Government of Israel and JDC-Israel. The goal of the Initiative is to develop programs to promote the integration of disadvantaged populations into employment and to expand the opportunity for their upward mobility in the labor market. The Initiative also strives to broaden and deepen the knowledge relevant for addressing these challenges. The strategic plan was developed through a committee that included representatives of government ministries and the municipal and voluntary sectors, with the goal of establishing priorities for the Initiative’s activities. This report was designed to identify needs and review knowledge and experience in Israel and around the world. The report includes detailed data on the Initiative’s potential target populations and information from Israel and abroad on programmatic models and principles for promoting the employment of disadvantaged populations.

The first part of the report is devoted to identifying the characteristics of those who do not participate fully in the labor force, including those employed part time, those not employed who have been seeking work for more than six months, and those who are neither employed nor seeking work. The report attempts to clarify the reasons for non-participation in the labor force and to identify the barriers to employment among specific subgroups, such as immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, ultra-Orthodox men, and the Arab sector (chapter 1). It also examines the connection between background characteristics (e.g., population group, age, family status, age of children, education, and place of residence) and the likelihood of limited participation in the labor force.

pPeople with disabilities form a substantial group among the population not participating in the labor force. The programmatic needs of this group are substantially different, and they are therefore the subject of a separate chapter of the report (chapter 2).

The second part of the report includes a review of the international literature on models to promote employment of weak populations (chapter 3) and a description of models developed in Israel to achieve this goal (chapter 4). The analysis focuses on strategies and implementation principles that have proven effective.

The third part of the report focuses on the criteria for determining the success of the activities of the Initiative both on the individual program level and on the overall Initiative level (chapter 5).

The data in the report are based on a special analysis of data from Central Bureau of Statistics surveys and on surveys conducted by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. The description of the different models is based on professional literature from abroad and on in-depth interviews with program implementers and other officials in Israel along with relevant programmatic and policy documentation.

The report has served as the basis for the recommendations of the Initiative’s Strategic Planning Committee and is also serving as a source of ongoing program planning within the Initiative.