Georgian Gov’t to Establish Employment Agency

The Georgian government is working on establishing an Employment Agency which will be a legal entity under the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs. Its aim will be to reduce the level of unemployment in the country and to train qualified workers for potential employers.

The agency is set to be established less than a year before the 2020 parliamentary elections. According to official information, it will aim to provide public employment support services and pursue active employment and labor market policies.

The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs said that due to the priority of the issue and its effective implementation, within the current reform process and budget, a separate agency for employment promotion was established.

The Ministry also explains that special emphasis will be placed on promoting legal employment abroad. Labor market services provided under the existing state program will also be developed. However, the Ministry does not specify exactly what measures are planned within the project.

Akaki Zoidze, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Healthcare Committee, said that the main goal of the project is to promote employment in Georgia, with special emphasis on those who have problems finding a job.

He explained that one of the priorities of the Employment Agency will be to find job opportunities for socially disadvantaged people in order to keep them and their families financially secure.

There are already several employment promotion programs in Georgia, including a 2016 Active Labor Market Strategy Resolution approved by former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in 2016, which includes an action plan for 2016-2018.

The purpose of the document was precisely the integration of the population into labor, productive employment and increasing income generation. The document reads that particular emphasis should be placed on vulnerable groups in the labor market. According to Zoidze, this program is still underway, with more than GEL 4 ($1.35 million) having being spent.

“Within the new strategy, the employment problem should be in focus and effective work should be done to solve it. The employment agency will facilitate the implementation of this program, as it does not have an institutional patron at this stage, and the agency will be able to provide this patronage,” Zoidze told Netgazeti.

The lawmaker added that the main responsibility of the agency should be acting as a mediator between the potential employer and the job seeker. According to Zoidze, the project should include several key points, according to which the state will be able to play the role of a bridge between two entities. These main points are:

• Research should be carried out to identify not only unemployed people but also those who are poorly employed and who do not have adequate remuneration;

• These people should be trained and become qualified in order to meet the requirements of some vacancies;

• Systems should be regularly updated where both parties can find the desired workforce or job;

• The state should assist employers and employees to establish proper communication.

The Chairman of the Healthcare Committee stated that if the agency's goal, among other changes, is not to meet these requirements, he will not support its creation.

"Otherwise it will just be a new form of bureaucracy and I will not support it in any way," he noted.

Paata Sheshelidze, an expert in the field of economics, assessed the project as bureaucracy from the very beginning.

"The creation of an agency will be a waste of money. Employment is a free process of the open market and if the government wants to promote the employment sector, it has to help the open market and create a situation where people can use their land, property and resources for various activities,” the expert stressed.

Sheshelidze believes that the government itself has contributed to the problem of unemployment in the country as a result of reforms which have tightened the procedure for citizens to borrow from the bank, and restricted the transfer ownership of land and the work of taxi drivers.

Political analyst Gia Khukhashvili agrees the only way to reduce unemployment is to assist the open market.

“The government should not start promoting employment by directly and mechanically setting up an agency, but by increasing economic activity and stimulating market development. It should implement protective policies towards the private sector, which itself will create jobs and will not need the help of the government,” Khukhashvili said.

The annual unemployment rate in Georgia decreased by 1.2% to 12.7% in 2018, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat).

Geostat data reads that in 2018, the economically active population amounted to 63.9% of the working age population and, compared to 2017, the economic activity rate and employment rate decreased by 1.9 and 0.9 percentage points respectively.

Geostat data about QI 2019 reads that the unemployment rate in Georgia decreased by 1.2% compared to the same period of the previous year and equaled 12.8%, while in the second quarter the unemployment rate in Georgia decreased by 0.7 % compared to the same period of the previous year and equaled 11.4%.

The statistics show that, traditionally, the unemployment rate is higher for men than for women. Last year, this indicator was 2.7 times higher for men compared to the corresponding indicator for women. In Q1, 2019 the unemployment rate was 3.9% higher for men compared to the corresponding indicator for women while in Q2 of the same year, unemployment rate is 2.6% higher in men compared to women.

Over the last 10 years, the highest unemployment rate was observed in 2009- 18.3%. A year after the 2008 Georgian-Russian August war, the unemployment rate was 17.9%. According to the statistics, in 2008-2018, the unemployment rate decreased by 5.2%.

By Tea Mariamidze

Image source:

21 October 2019 18:06