Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

CAREER DEVELOPMENT in ISRAEL: Characteristics, Services and Challenges

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

CAREER DEVELOPMENT in ISRAEL: Characteristics, Services and Challenges

Article excerpt

Israel - General Background

Basic facts. Israel is a small, developed western-oriented country and a representative democracy, situated in the Middle-East. It is surrounded by Oriental, Islamic countries, and has suffered continuously from security threats and wars since its inception in 1948. In spite of the lack of national resources, Israel has established a strong, advanced economy and a firm industry; in 2010 it was accepted to the OECD. Israel is ranked as having the second largest number of startup companies in the world after the United States and the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies outside North America. It was ranked the highest among the MiddleEastern countries on the United Nations Development Index; in 2009 it had the 29th highest gross domestic product per capita in the world.

The diversity of the population in Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2010 the population of Israel was approximately 7.7 million people, of whom 75 per cent were Jews, 20 per cent Arabs, (18 per cent Muslims and 2 per cent Christians), and the rest various other minorities, among whom the Druze were the largest (1 .5 per cent). Approximately 68 per cent of the Jews are Israeli-born, with the remainder having immigrated from Europe and America (approximately 22 per cent, mostly from the Former Soviet Union), and from Asia and Africa (approximately 10 per cent, mostly from Ethiopia). With respect to religious affiliation of Israeli Jews above the age of 20, 20 per cent consider themselves secular, 55 per cent traditional, 17 per cent orthodox, and 8 per cent ultra-orthodox (haredi).

Labor force participation rates. Demographic characteristics. Reports of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (2008) show that the labor force participation rate (LFPR) in Israel in 2008 was 70.9 per cent for ages 24-65. For the Jewish population, LFPR was 77.5 per cent (for OECD countries it was 72.0 per cent); 8 1 .7 per cent for men (similar to OECD countries) and 73.5 per cent for women (significantly higher than for the OECD countries, 61 .6 per cent). For the Arab population, LFPR in those ages was 48.4 per cent, 72.1 per cent for men and only 24.0 per cent for women. The LFPR for the ultra-orthodox ages 24-65 was 48.6 per cent: 40.4 per cent for men and 56.7 per cent for women.

Trends in Higher Education

The last 20 years were characterized by a flourishing of higher education in Israel. This trend stems from a significant increase in the number of colleges providing undergraduate and Master level graduate studies throughout the country, as well as by new majors and fields of study emerging in academic studies (e.g., biotechnology). Many of these additional higher education institutions are public colleges which have been established in peripheral regions, thereby making higher education more accessible, whereas others have surfaced in relative proximity to the established universities and colleges.

Furthermore, private colleges have also began to emerge. A few of these colleges focus on a single field of study (typically law; law studies in Israel are offered at an undergraduate level), whereas others provide undergraduate studies in a number of fields, typically for those whose demand is high and for which the universities' admission requirements are particularly high (e.g., computer science, psychology, business administration, communication). The universities and many of the public colleges provide special one-year preparatory programs aimed at boosting chances for admission to higher education institutions. A large proportion of participants enrolled in these programs come from Israel's peripheral regions and many from families with lower than average SES. These programs offer students opportunities to complete high-school matriculation requirements, improve matriculation scores, and improve study skills necessary for success in higher education. In many such settings counseling is available to assist students in career planning, with an em,phasis on choosing a major. …

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