Sunday, 15 June 2014

Jobs in Israel - and What You Really Get Paid

The new (and old) Oleh/Olah may well be surprised to find out both the cost of living in Israel as well as what a job actually pays. For those reading this blog regularly - you may have seen this issue addressed before - but there's never enough said on this subject and it's vital to educate yourself in understanding what you'll be doing to earn an income in Israel - and what you will be paid for your efforts. 

There's a well known fallacy that you get paid what you're worth and that if you're not getting paid enough, it means you need to get a better education. Let's set things straight... The general Israeli outlook is one of socialism. It encourages working for a boss and being a part of a working team that arrives at work at 7:30am and leaves at 6:30pm every day - 6 days a week. In real terms what this means is that the "boss" receives the majority of the income generated by the business - and most employees receive an "average income" which in real terms is known as "minimum wage".

It may seem like everyone is doing okay - but minimum wage really means you'll be earning less than ₪25 an hour. Again - in real terms, you'll be generating some ₪4500 per month before taxes, Bituach Leumi (national insurance) and other other basic deductions that happen before you actually access any of your income. To qualify these figures and the situation at hand - if you'll be working in the main central Jerusalem area - you'll most likely need to be living there. Roughly speaking a 2.5 room apartment - that means one bedroom and one and half other rooms (i.e. the main Salon and a corner) will set you back some 1.1 million Shekels. Do the mathematics on your monthly salary and you will quickly realise it will take you almost 15 years of constant saving to earn the minimum deposit required to purchase that home. I neglect to mention being unable to eat, stay anywhere, use transport or communication methods of any kind during that time - as you continue to save your money. If on the other hand you're considering rental, a one room apartment may well set you back some ₪3700 per month - or in real terms your entire salary after your basic taxes (if you are lucky!)

Yes, this is the real cost of rental and housing. I was happy to hear of another outstanding radio program recently - podcast linked below (you'll be directed to the site it is on.) It is here to educate and to make you aware of just what the job market is actually doing to the average person in Israel.

Remember, you can often earn a lot more working on your own - even if you incur the wrath of friends who cannot understand why you are not "working" - as above that all people should be part of a socialistic society. Yet, ironically as an educated person, working a full time job will often see you earning less than an uneducated person with no experience. 

Choosing your type of work in Israel means choosing to be honest about what you need to do to earn a livable income - as opposed to fitting in with the crowd. Many coming to Israel will either give up highly specialised fields to opt for house cleaning, bus driving and guard work outside of shopping centers - all jobs which often earn at least the same, if not more than the jobs going for highly educated people with many years of experience. It's a phenomenon that makes absolutely no sense. But the faster one gets to understand the process here, the easier one's integration can be.

In this radio podcast - Why are the Wages in Israel Alarmingly Low - you'll get to hear more about what is actually going on, giving you the ability to reconsider the type of work you'll be wanting to do when living in Israel.  

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