Best practices and recommendations.
1. Focus on best practice: a combination of employability training and job placement
a. Focus more on the new skills provided and on the quality, rather than number, of placements made.
Job placements are often short-lived and they do not always improve the standard of living of participants. Thus, any evaluation of placement efforts needs to be done on a long-term basis and be based on the concept of progress.
b. Support programs that involve both job placement and training.
Both training programs and placement programs contribute to the employment possibilities of minorities. However, the winning strategy appears to be a combination of iob placement and on-the-iob training.
Especially among Ethiopian immigrants but also among Arabs, there is a sense of weariness from what are sometimes perceived as "theoretical programs" and a desire for practical job solutions.
2. Expand the notion of excellence
Expand programs based on excellence so as to include a wider range of workers: excelling high school graduates in vocational tracks, skilled workers who are not university graduates, students during their period of study, etc.
Meanwhile, it is essential to pursue efforts focused on the training and placement of rank and file workers.
3. Expand and diversify successful vocational training models
a. Expand training programs and initiatives that fit the traditional skills and way of life of certain social groups, utilizing existing resources such as the guest house program for Druze and Circassians in the North, the Bedouin cooperatives in the Negev, and the Maan cooperatives in Arab localities.
b. Expand programs that combine vocational training with business training, maximizing the options.
4. Continue making resources available to non-profits and Grassroots R&D
Continue targeting grants for advocacy, innovation and experimentation in order to ensure that civil society organizations continue to develop new ideas, new policies and new programs, rather than focusing exclusively on service provision.
Private Sector Initiatives
Until quite recently, there was no expectation that the private sector engage in non-discriminatory hiring initiatives. It is only in the last year or two that the Israeli government has begun to partner in joint ventures with non-profits and the private sector in the design of affirmative action and non-discriminatory programs.
1. Continue Awareness Raisinq
a. Work with employers' associations to raise awareness.
Over the last three years, the government has been working with employers to promote affirmative action through awareness-raising conferences. These activities can be pursued much further, especially to encourage the wide-scale employment of Arab workers.
b. Continue to partner with the government and the non-profit sector to promote joint initiatives.
Among employer associations, awareness of the need for affirmative action is a new phenomenon, and it is phrased in economic and organizational terms as the integration of broader sectors of the population into the labor market and as diversification of the labor force.
c. Broaden the scope of awareness raising efforts.
Awareness raising need not be limited to senior management and resource/manpower managers, as is the current practice. Efforts need to be made to reach middle- range managers as well as rank-and-file workers, so as to ensure receptive attitudes throughout company hierarchies. Moreover, within government and mixed companies and in the industrial sector, it may prove desirable to work with workers' committees, as these have significant influence on the hiring, firing and reception of new workers.
2. Use the US Experience to Promote Non-discriminatory Hirina Practices in Israel
Use the US and European multi-nationals' concept of corporate responsibility to promote affirmative action in Israel. Benchmarks can be established for different levels of the organization with regard to different population groups, and the requirement of periodic reporting on progress made can also be instituted.
3. Employ Economic incentives
a. Partner with the government and business sectors to promote economic incentives for employers, especially in the industrial sector in the North of Israel, With Arab workers, where this strategy has already proved successful. These initiatives were halted in 2008 and should be renewed.
b. Target incentives to localities, not to population groups, so as to avoid stigmatization.
Incentives may stigmatize employees from minority groups. One possible solution is to create employer incentives targeted at specific localities in which these immigrants form a majority. For example, as Or Akiva is a community dominated by Caucasian immigrants, incentives can be directed at employers in the nearby industrial area, who can be encouraged to engage a certain percentage of workers from this development town.
4. Revise the selection processes
Support efforts to revise the employee selection process to make it culturally diverse.
Prodded by advocacy organizations, private companies and placement agencies have just begun to revise the battery of tests and interviews that precede hiring, so that they are culturally appropriate for persons from minority groups. This direction of change could benefit the groups under discussion.
a. Support and strengthen government action
It should be borne in mind that Israel is a small country in which power is concentrated in the central government. The central government is the only body that has the capacity to promote employment policy on a large scale, from both the standpoint of funding and that of planning. The potential of the private sector to finance social change programs is quite small and Diaspora Jewry cannot be expected to act as an alternative to the government of Israel.
b. Keep in mind the need to secure the sustainability of the Tevet programs.
A problem foreseen by many of the non-profits participating in the Tevet programs, as well as by JDC Tevet people, is its sustainability. In view of government retrenchment, the question is whether or not public agencies will take over Tevet projects that prove successful.
c. Support Development Prerequisites.
Government efforts to increase the workforce participation of Arab citizens will probably make only a limited impact until the major structural obstacles are removed; the reference is to the lack of public transportation, childcare and industrial enterprises in Arab localities. This is especially relevant for the Bedouin community in the Negev.
d. Partner with government to promote development incentives.
Joint Jewish-Arab industrial parks not only contribute to increased employment opportunities in the Arab sector but also contribute to the de-segregation of the Arab labor market. Efforts need to be made to expand this strategy.
The strategy of "national priority areas" that gives economic benefits to investors can be used on a wider scale in Arab localities to boost new initiatives.
4. Legislation for Active Anti-discrimination Practices
a. Support efforts to legislate active anti-discrimination practices.
The principle of anti-discrimination in employment is well anchored in Israeli law. However, most legislation is declarative in nature and deals with outlawing discrimination. Sanctions for the violation of antidiscrimination laws are not well developed. Legislation and regulations that do mandate affirmative action are limited to stipulating percentages without referring to positions or rank. These cover only some parts of the civil service and are not relevant for the private sector. The biggest problem is the weakness of enforcement and the inability to deal with structural discrimination.
A number of laws that do not exist in Israel or that exist but require improvement would serve to promote affirmative action:
* Outlawing employment discrimination in basic law on the normative, declarative level;
* Promoting transparent legislation requiring the collection of data on minority groups, and/or the requirement of submitting periodic reports.
A step in this direction was taken with the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (2007), which has the authority to issue orders mandating employers to submit data on representation and on affirmative action undertaken.
* Broadening the legal definition of "adequate representation" in the public sector so as to include goals like representation in posts requiring a college education and in managerial posts, as well as the imposition of sanctions for not meeting affirmative action goals;
* Conditioning government procurement of private services and the bestowal of financial benefits on adequate representation of minority groups.
It is common practice in other parts of the world to vary such requirements with the size of the firm and its centrality;
b. Support efforts to strengthen enforcement mechanisms
Enforcement mechanisms, especially with regard to the low-wage labor market, in which Arab citizens and new immigrants are found in large numbers, clearly need to be strengthened.
Agents of reinforcement include the newly created Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the employment inspectors at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment.
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|Title Annotation:||Non-discriminatory hiring practices in Israel towards Arab Citizens, Ethiopian Israelis and new immigrants from Bukhara and the Caucasus|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2008|
|Previous Article:||Non-discrimination and affirmative action in Israeli law.|