If demographic trends remain the same, the percentage of Israelis participating in the workforce is expected to decline by 6 percent in the next 20 years, according to a new report.
The report, issued on Monday by the Research & Economics Administration of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, predicted Israel's demographic composition for the next 20 years and its expected impact on the workforce.
According to the report, if the numbers of ultra-Orthodox, minorities, and elderly people in the workforce do not increase, the Israeli workforce in general is expected to decrease by 6% within 20 years, because these groups will represent an increasing percentage of the total population.
Two factors expected to affect the size of the workforce are a drop in the percentage of the age of the working population (after a three-year rise) and an increase in the proportion of groups characterized by low participation in the work force.
The findings were based on new demographic statistics compiled by Dr. Eliyahu Ben Moshe for the Research & Economics Administration.
In response to the report, politicians pointed to the need to increase the participation of ultra-Orthodox and Arab sectors in the work force. "The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry is working to increase employment rates among the ultra-Orthodox and minorities and has made this issue one of its top priorities," said Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon (Independence). "If the current employment rates of these sectors do not significantly change in the coming decades, the overall employment participation rate in Israel is expected to plummet," he said.
Minister Simhon added that such a scenario would damage Israel's gross national product and lower the standard of living for the country's entire population.