Unemployment Rate 44% for 2016 Vocational Education Grads

The Ministry of Education and Sciences recently released the results of a survey of Year 2016 graduates from Georgia’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutes.

The survey was commissioned more than a year ago to determine the effectiveness and quality of TVET programs. A training was conducted in August 2017 for vocational college staff members on how to conduct research on graduates and their institutions. While all the country’s TVET institutions were invited, only representatives from 14 attended the training. During the training, participants learned research methodologies developed by the Ministry of Education based on international best practices. Attendees also shared their experiences conducting research on graduates and discussed existing challenges.

According to the survey, just 56.2% of 2016 graduates of professional educational programs are now employed. The employment rate is 0.2% higher than the rate reported by 2015 graduates when surveyed last year.

The National Statistics Office of Georgia (GeoStat) says unemployment nationwide in 2017 was just 13.9% - making the 2016 TVET graduates less likely to be employed than the average Georgian.

Some of the key findings of the survey were:

• 83% of the graduates are satisfied with their chosen profession, and would choose the same course again, given the chance. 93% of respondents were satisfied with the educational institution in which they studied.

• Gradutes were asked what aspects of vocational education need improvement – 64% of students mentioned employment opportunities and career support, 40% said the practicality of courses offered, and 39% said the quality of education in general.

• 32% of graduates plan to continue their studies – 48% of whom plan to continue at a vocational school.

• 49% of respondents are “hired employees” (not self-employed), and of those, 38% are working in a profession related to what they studied and 13% have work that is partially related to their vocational education program.

• For those graduates who are employed and whose employment is at least partially related to their field of study, their average monthly salary is 689 GEL ($281). The average monthly salary in Georgia, according to GeoStat, was 940 GEL ($384) in 2016.

• 32% of self-employed respondents claim that they are working in a profession related to what they studied, 16% of self-employed graduates have work that is partially related to their vocational education program, and 51% say their work is unrelated to their program.

• 31% of unemployed respondents say a lack of demand for their profession is the biggest obstacle to finding a job, while 26% of unemployed respondents blamed their lack of experience.

• The highest rate of employment is seen in the following fields: engineering, tourism-related fields (e.g., bartenders, hotel workers, guides, tour operators), and agricultural sciences.

• There is a gender difference in employment: 61.1% of male respondents are employed and 49.7% of female respondents are employed.

Of the 2016 graduating class of 6,886 students, 3,144 were interviewed. 57% of respondents were men and 43% were women.

Full survey results (only available in Georgian) can be found here: www.mes.gov.ge/uploads/files/2016-(Tracer%20Study).pdf

By Samantha Guthrie

19 July 2018 19:27