Menu JTA Search

Jews Should Explore New Fields Labor Dept. Official Warns Jewish College Grads Face ‘tighter’ Job Pr

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

College educated Jewish young men and women face “tighter” job prospects in the 1970s because the growth of job opportunities generally filled by college graduates does not keep pace with the number of graduates entering the job market, a US Labor Department official said here today. Herbert Bienstock, Regional Director of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, suggested that Jewish youths may find more attractive career opportunities in non-professional fields that have traditionally not attracted significant Jewish participation.

Bienstock analyzed the job situation for Jewish youth at the 36th annual convention of the Rabbinical Council of America, the Orthodox rabbinical organization. In his paper titled “Changing Social and Economic Patterns and Their Implications for the American Jewish Community” he cited studies made in 1957 that showed about one-fifth of the Jewish male labor force was employed in professional jobs, compared to about one-tenth in the general population.

While professional and technical jobs are expected to grow more rapidly in the 1970s than any other major occupational categories, the anticipated 50 percent increase in the number of college graduates during the present decade creates a paradox where by college graduates will find more difficulty in job placement than in previous decades, he said.

The job hunting problem will probably be relatively greater for a group–the Jews–which has close to 80 percent of its young people going to college, Bienstock said. It might be well to explore occupational paths that have been ignored in the past, he said, though this will require attitudinal reconditioning in terms of value structures relating to non-professional jobs.

Bienstock said that young Jews planning their careers may find better pay and job security in such crafts as carpentry, plumbing, tool and die making and electrician than in professional occupations requiring a college education. He suggested that the Jewish community might well consider more emphasis on vocational guidance and placement activities through communal organizations.

Nevertheless, he said, the levels of educational attainment of Jewish young men and women indicated that a majority of them would still be moving in the direction of white collar professional activity. That movement, he said, might lead to a significant return to self-employment in fields such as accounting, business advisory services, legal and other activities which, Bienstock said, are part of the enormous growth in the services sector of the American economy. He suggested in that connection that the Jewish community might provide assistance in capital support for young people starting out in such fields.

NEXT STORY