Data on employment and perceptions about work present an interesting lens on Georgia. This is especially true since the official unemployment rate is 15% according to Geostat in 2012, and 31% of the population is unemployed and seeking work in Georgia as of September 2013, according to the National Democratic Institute. Connections, education, and professional abilities/work experience are the most common reasons cited for being able to get a good job in Georgia. However, are Georgians more likely to think that having connections is important for getting a good job if they don’t actually have many connections? What does the data tell us about perceptions of important factors for finding a good job?
One indicator of the strength of an individual’s social network is whether they feel they have people close to them who would help them in certain situations. In the 2013 Caucasus Barometer survey, participants were asked, “How likely or how unlikely is it for you to receive some help from your close relatives, friends, and neighbors” to “repair your house/apartment” or to “lend money for a month to cover your usual expenses?” The following graph shows a notable difference between those who think that it is not at all likely (10% more) that someone would help them with living expenses for a month, compared to those who think it very likely.
Note: Each column on the 1 (not at all likely) to 5 (very likely) scale originally summed to 100%. Additional factors, such as professional abilities/work experience, luck, hard work, talent, age, appearance, doing favors for the ‘right’ people, and other were also included as potential answer options. Together, these composed over a third of responses and have thus not been included in this chart for simplicity. Respondents were shown a card with possible answer options to choose from (including a don’t know, other and refuse to answer option). See this blog post for further information on other factors related to finding a good job in the South Caucasus.
Furthermore, those who felt they could not depend on someone close to them to help repair their living accommodations were more likely to report connections as the most important factor in getting a job-9% more often than those who said that it was very likely that they could expect someone to help them.
Note: Factors other than education and connections were not included in this chart.
Trust in institutions is another interesting factor related to perceptions of the most important factor for getting a job. The following graph shows that of those who fully distrust the police, 50% perceive connections to be the most important factor for finding a good job. This compares to 23% of those who fully trust the police and think having connections is the most important factor for finding a good job. This trend is most pronounced when looking at trust towards the police. Yet, a similar pattern is found when looking at trust in the health care system, education system, court system, NGOs, parliament, executive government, political parties, media, local government, the religious institution one belongs to, the ombudsman, the EU, and UN.
Note: Factors other than education and connections were not included in the chart.
Another notable, but slightly weaker trend in the graph is that education is the most important factor for those who fully trust the institution of the police. This trend is also present when one looks at the cross-tabs between most important factor for getting a job and trust in the following institutions: healthcare system, education system, court system, NGOs, parliament, political parties, media, local government, the EU, and the UN. Interestingly, trust in banks does not show the same kind of relationship.
Is it possible that Georgians without connections are more likely to emphasize and perceive that connections are the most important factor in getting a job? What role does trust in institutions play when it comes to how one perceives finding work? How do the trends presented in this blog relate to social capital? The data-set used for this post is available online here, and you too can explore it to further understand what Georgians consider important for finding a good job. Also, take a look at our previous post on the CRRC blog.