The UK Task Force hosted a drinks reception and discussion with Yael Kohn-Sharon and Kheir Abdel Razek from Kav Mashve on 13 September. Kav Mashve is a coalition of employers in Israel dedicated to creating a business environment that provides equal opportunities to Arab university graduates. Yael and Kheir gave an informative presentation to 25 audience members on challenges facing Arab graduates in Israel and what Kav Mashve is doing to help.
While a very high percentage of Arab graduates find employment (89%, compared with 91% of Jewish graduates), when these figures are broken down more carefully, a different story comes through. Whereas 92% of Jewish graduates find employment which reflects their levels of achievememt, the figure drops to 20% for Arab graduates becausemany are unable to obtain employment in their chosen field and instead move to other industries, such as construction and maintenance. Yael and Kheir gave the audience an analysis of why it is difficult for Arab graduates to gain employment in business companies. Many live in the North, away from the high tech hub in central Israel and have little experience of networking and interview situations. Arab graduates also start out much younger, as many Jewish Israelis complete national service and travel before starting their degrees.
Kav Mashve run programmes to help Arab graduates get the jobs they deserve. They also work with Israeli companies to show them the merits of having a more diverse and creative workforce, and support them in their efforts to employ more Arab graduates. Kav Mashve also goes into Arab secondary schools to raise the ambitions of school children and help prepare them for life after school. Yael explained to the audience her dream of expanding the breadth of the work they do help bring a change across Israeli society to make it more trusting and inclusive of Arabs in all walks of life.