By Nino Zubashvili
[Note: Over the next two weeks, Social Science in the Caucasus will publish the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the first blog post in the series.]
What is believed to be the most important factor for getting a good job in a country where unemployment is widely considered to be one of the biggest issues? CRRC’s 2013 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey results show that connections (30%) and education (28%) are the most frequent answers to this question in Georgia. This finding is in line with studies on social capital in various countries, arguing that social ties provide people with better labor market opportunities (Lin, 1999; Mouw, 2003; McDonald and Elder, 2006), as well as with studies on the role of education in the job market, finding that education is an important resource worth investing in as it provides individuals with access to employment and better chances at obtaining well-paid jobs (Kilcullen, 1972;Smith and McCoy, 2009). Analyzing both the social ties and perceptions about what is reported as the most important factor for getting a good job, an earlier CRRC blog post, Finding a good job in Georgia, argued that Georgians without connections might be more likely to think that connections are the most important factor for getting a good job. This blog post, on the other hand, looks at how the answers about the most important factors for getting a good job differ by level of education and by employment status, with the aim of finding out who is more likely to think that education matters the most for getting a good job in Georgia.
CB 2013 data shows there is almost no difference in answers to this question between people having different levels of education. The only notable difference can be observed in relation to the perceived importance of professional abilities/work experience. While 17% of those with post-secondary education think this is the most important factor for getting a good job, 8% of those with secondary or lower education report the same.
Note: The answer options for the question, “What is the highest level of education you have achieved to date?” were grouped as follows: options “No primary education”, “Primary education (either complete or incomplete)”, “Incomplete secondary education”, and “Completed secondary education” were grouped into “Secondary or lower”. Options “Incomplete higher education”, “Completed higher education (BA, MA, or specialist degree)”, and “Post-graduate degree” were grouped into “Higher than Secondary”. For the question, “What is the most important factor for getting a good job in Georgia?” infrequently named answer options – “Age”, “Appearance”, “Talent”, “Doing favors for the ‘right’ people”, and “Other” – were grouped into “Other”.
While there are few differences in perceptions about important factor(s) for getting a good job by education, such differences can be seen by employment status, and specifically between those who describe themselves as self-employed, employed and unemployed. Namely, 34% of the employed think education is the most important factor for getting a good job compared to 25% of the group who report connections. In contrast, the self-employed report that education (20%) is the most important factor for getting a good job less frequently than they report connections (33%). Those who consider themselves to be unemployed also name connections (40%) most frequently.
Note: To the question, “Which of the following best describes your situation?”, the following answer options – “Student and not working”, “Disabled”, “Other”, “Refuse to answer”, and “Don’t know” – were combined into “Other”.
This blog post has shown that while opinions about the most important factors for getting a good job in Georgia do not differ by education level, opinions do vary by employment situation. Those who describe themselves as employed more commonly think that education is the most important factor for getting a good job, while the self-employed and the unemployed most often name connections.
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