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The Israeli Resilience Index

Increasing the economic-occupational resilience of households will serve as an impetus for strengthening the Israeli economy in coming years.

A unique crisis and even more unique opportunity

The present crisis is unique in its characteristics and in the breadth of the damage it’s caused, having hurt nearly every aspect of the economy. Repercussions are felt all over the country and across a variety of demographic cross-sections. The crisis is expected to continue to be present in our daily lives due to concerns of a second wave of a virus outbreak.

As a result, what needs to be done in order to rehabilitate the occupational-economic situation of the citizens of the State of Israel is complex. Government policy makers, local authorities and the business sector who will undertake to assist in the recuperation process, are, more than ever, in need of tools to identify the source of the problems requiring intervention, to prioritize these interventions, and track their efficiency.

We propose a tool which is simple and accessible, to create direct links between people’s efforts and basic needs to handle the existing situation and grow from within it.

The goal – establishing economic – occupational resilience for households

The focus is on the “household” unit – the family or individual unit each of us belongs to. This unit affects the financial situation of the economy while simultaneously being affected by it, both due to its role as an instigator of the wheels of production and output on the supply side, and for its power as the creator of private consumption alongside demand and as consumers of services supplied by the State.

People suffering economic or occupational problems or who are having a hard time finding appropriate housing, have been found to be more vulnerable health-wise, both physically and emotionally. Increasing the household’s occupational capacity has been noted as the most effective factor in preventing poverty – more than the support given without providing a significant increase in the basic possibility of finding employment.[1]

Given the grave repercussions of employment upon households, the fear or a drastic rise in its rates brings the need to address not only improving employment rates but also the choice of a broad approach to the establishment of household economic-occupational resilience to the forefront. The latter refers to a household’s ability to recover independently from an employment crisis, while using the range of aid services and programs offered in the economy. It thus embodies not only the current household employment situation but also addresses the additional parameters, including obstacles to returning to work, occupational flexibility and the household’s ability to withstand a state of temporary unemployment.

We have therefore chosen to focus on the characterization and measurement of the economic-occupational resilience of households as an operative tool.

The economic-occupational resilience index

The nature of the crisis has created obstacles which are unlike the many situations which were examined and studied in the past. There is, therefore, great importance to gathering detailed data on the state of households and to understanding the various obstacles blocking various groups within the population according to their current employment status. This applies both with regard to households who have maintained their pre-crisis workplaces and those who have lost their jobs as well as freelancers who are suffering a serious reduction in demand.

One obstacle to effective intervention today is the lack of appropriate data infrastructure. Mapping those obstacles standing in the way of households, using a bottom-up method, along with the establishment of a resilience index to be used to monitor, will support the following goals:

  • Providing an operative tool for policy makers to locate vulnerable populations and prior identification of trends expected to harm certain populations, prioritization of resources and programs and effective control of their level of influence.
  • Harnessing the business sector to provide solutions for strengthening resilience by using the index to understand the obstacles faced by population segments they are interested in helping. For example, mapping the needs of an employer’s current employees will motivate them to help.
  • Strengthening the efforts of local authorities – Using the index will assist the authorities to understand local resilience on the basis of the situation which appears through the individual gauges as well as the ability to derive characteristics, patterns and insights at the local and regional levels.
  • Strengthening and motivating household action – In the hands of the households, measurement results will serve as an accessible analytical tool to identify “weak spots” which are holding back their ability to successfully deal with the economic-occupational crisis. Furthermore, the relevant information will become accessible regarding existing available resources and programs which may help create an individual “coping plan”.[2]

Components of the economic-occupational resilience index

The economic-occupational resilience index for households is composed of three main sub-indexes: the household economic resilience; the household’s occupational fitness; and the employment flexibility which estimates the wage-earner’s ability to adapt themselves to changes in the labor market.

Economic resilience

One of the direct results of employment is the level of income per household. The income level affects the household’s ability to fulfill regular obligations and other unexpected expenses. The resilience index is intended to map the economic ability of the household to withstand changes or shocks to the employment situation and levels of income, as well as to identify to what degree the fear of economic difficulty may affect the level of productivity of the wage-earners in the household.

Occupational fitness

The household wage-earner’s ability to carry out their work is affected by a variety of physical conditions.

Occupational flexibility

Broader skillsets or those which suit a variety of positions or can be transferred to other economic sectors improve ability to adapt to exogenous changes.

Components of the economic-occupational resilience index

Economic resilience Occupational fitness Occupational flexibility
Existence of consistent income from work Existence of conditions which permit going to work (for example, solutions for children or sick family members, mobility, good state of health, etc.) Flexible skills which permit a change in positions or a move to another economic branch
Ability to make regular payments with the existing income Possibility of distance working Access to potential employers and work-seeking skills
Existence of a safety net to handle reductions in income or unexpected, significant expenses Fear or loss of employment or of inability to return to work Commitment to employment and willingness to change
Level of fear of the economic situation Sense of fear and loss of control due to the situation

Using a questionnaire (which will be a pilot initially) to be filled in by households, their needs and those of the employers and other organizations will be identified and the existing obstacles mapped. In accordance with the data received and its analysis, gauge charts and tracking tools will be created. A digital platform will make it possible to point households towards the solutions suited to their needs. The final product will include:

  1. A family gauge chart
  2. A digital platform to make solutions accessible
  3. Tracking reports and a summary for decision makers at various levels
  4. Periodic tracking reports for the public

THE HASSON FAMILY’S ECONOMIC-OCCUPATIONAL RESILIENCE INDEX (FAMILY GAUGE)

Economic resilience Occupational fitness Occupational flexibility
- Existence of regular income from work -Ability to pay regular expenses -A sufficient safety net -Economic fear -Existence of conditions which permit work - Ability to work from a distance - Concern for loss of employment - Sense of fear and loss of control - Flexibility in changing jobs/ fields - Access to potential employers - Commitment to work and willingness to change
Well done! You have sufficient savings for the near future and are in control of the situation. For now you are on stable ground. Soon, we will offer you tools to better prepare yourselves for working from home, so you can continue to function even when it isn’t possible to reach your workplace. Be careful! In a period of uncertainty, it’s worth making sure you can find various sorts of jobs. We will try to work together to improve to ability to find new employment if the need arises.