Israeli Arabs Severely Underrepresented in High-tech - Even When Fit for the Job

Arab citizens make up just 1.4 percent of Israel's high-tech workforce – a fraction of their 17.4 percent share of the country’s total labor force

File photo: Arab-Israeli tech workers.
Ilan Assayag

Israeli Arabs are severely underrepresented in the high-tech industry even when their scores on psychometric exams, required for admission at most institutions of higher education, show them suited for jobs, the Finance Ministry’s chief economist said in a survey released on Monday. 

Arab citizens make up just 1.4 percent of Israel’s high-tech workforce – a fraction of their 17.4 percent share of the country’s total labor force, said the treasury, using data for people born between the years 1975 and 1985. 

Israeli Arabs scoring close to the 150-point maximum in the math section of the psychometric are unlikely to be working in the industry, even though there is a high correlation between top scores and future tech employment. Among Jewish men, 50 percent scoring at the top were working in tech, as were 30 percent of Jewish women. 

In the Israeli Arab community, the rate was 28 percent among men, and just 10 percent for women, the ministry found. Even at the lowest-paid tech jobs, members of that community made up just 3.4 percent of those with average salaries of 7,000 shekels ($1,955) a month.