Photo Credit: Yehonatan Valtser/TPS
Offices of Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Nov 7, 2019

The public sector in Israel constitutes some 730,000 workers with annual salary costs of NIS 190 billion, the Knesset’s Labor and Welfare Committee learned.

The Committee convened for a briefing on trends and changes in the public sector.


According to the statistics presented on Wednesday by Kobi Bar-Nathan, Director of Salary and Employment Agreements at the Ministry of Finance, the public sector numbers about 730,000 workers, constituting 15-20% of the workers in Israel.

The average in the US in 2019 was 13.3%, as opposed to 2.15% in the UK

The total salary costs for workers in the public sector stood at about NIS 190 billion per year as of 2019.

The average wage for a worker in the education system between the ages 25–65 stands at NIS 12,014; in Government ministries, it is NIS 16,716; in the defense establishment NIS 18,261; and in the healthcare system NIS 16,960. The average wage in Israel is about NIS 11,300.

Bar-Nathan noted that in the past decade there had been many significant reforms that raised salaries in the public sector.

He also pointed out that the dismissal rate in the public sector is significantly lower than in the private sector. In 2016, for example, dismissal was the reason for 46% of cases of ending employment in the private sector, versus just 16% in the public sector. This fact, along with automatic wage increments, leads to low mobility of workers in the public sector,” he explained.

In the public sector, there is no clear correlation between one’s psychometric score and the wage earned, as opposed to the private sector in which such a clear relationship exists. Bar-Nathan said that in recent years there has been an attempt to incorporate in the public sector a payment scale based on parameters of quality, both in admission and throughout the worker’s employment period, joining the existing parameters that compensate workers mainly for formal education, seniority, and other factors.

“We want as much as possible to pay for capabilities, for people who give added value to the public. In the private sector, this happens—payment is based on the worker’s productivity. In the public sector it can’t change completely within a day, but there are processes to advance this,” said Bar-Nathan.


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