Unemployment numbers in Israel continue to drop with the reopening economy, yet people under 34 seem to be staying stagnant. With unemployment benefits in place until mid-June, almost half, or 47.4%, of the young and unemployed are not incentivized to return to work. With COVID-19, many receive 70% of their paycheck, at least until June 12, and that is good enough.
For the economy, this translates into a large gap that requires filling, mostly for the employers who commonly hire the younger population, like the restaurant, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Without the youth running the service industry, it’s become challenging for them to return to full service. Israel’s Employment Service recently noted that the number of restaurant jobs available has increased by 200% since December. In addition, the Central Bureau of Statistics has marked a record 112,500 job vacancies in March, which is the highest ever to date.
While the shortage of interest continues amidst young people, there is a hopeful flip side in a different population for another industry in need. With the rise of remote work available in the hi-tech industry and thousands of gaps to fill, 91% of employers are more willing to hire ultra-Orthodox people, who are also more willing to work given the work-from-home option. The hi-tech industry is in dire need of good talent, and 18% of companies already report seeing higher numbers of Haredi within their offices. Moshe Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Kama-Tech, an organization that works to integrate the Haredi community into society, is hopeful. He says that “Especially during the employment crisis, we believe that ultra-Orthodox hi-tech has tremendous growth potential for the Israeli economy in the long run.”