Youth, Gender and the Georgian Labour Market

images.jpegIt is a well-known fact that different groups fare differently on the labour market. In this post I analyse the labour market situation of Georgian youth (age group 15-29). The analysis was made in the framework of the School-to-Work transition study in Georgia commissioned by the European Training Foundation. Final report will be available online in 2018, meanwhile I wanted to share one interesting finding that struck me most:

Boys with vocational education have better Labour Market indicators (higher activity and employment rates and almost similar unemployment rates) compared to boys with higher education. On the opposite, girls reap stronger benefits from higher education: girls with higher education have higher activity and employment rates and significantly lower unemployment rate compared to girls with vocational education.

Still interested? Let’s dig in little deeper: national household data shows that there is a clear gender misbalance on Georgian labour market: women are generally less economically active (58%) compared to men (78.2%) and their employment rates (52.9%) are lower than that of men (67.1%). However, Table 1 also shows that when women are economically active their chances of finding jobs are higher. This is indicated by lower unemployment rates among women (8.8%) compared to men (14.2%). This trend remains unaltered throughout 2010-2016.

Table 1: Labour market (Total for the age group 15+)Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 18.38.52.pngSource: National Statistics Office of Georgia

Zooming into the younger section of population, the pattern of main labour market indicators predominantly remains the same. Young women in Georgia in general are less economically active than young men. Activity rates by levels of education show an interesting picture though. It is clear that more education they get more active they become (as one would expect). It should be noted though that girls with higher education have 16% higher activity rate than girls with vocational education. On the contrary, boys with higher education actually have lower (6.1% lower) activity rate compared to boys with vocational education. The employment and unemployment indicators discussed later are in sync with this finding.

Table 2: Youth activity rate by education levels (age group 15-29)

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 18.41.01.png

Source: Author’s calculation based on data from the National Statistics Office of Georgia

Young men have higher employment rate than young women (table 3) – again same trend as in general population. However, it is interesting to note that the gender disparity in employment rates is much more pronounced among youth than among the general population: across the three years of comparison young men have on average 20% higher employment rates compared to young women, while this difference is on average 15% among the total population. So, gender misbalance in terms of employment is particularly harsh in younger ages, while in adult years the gap seems to narrow down a bit.

Youth employment rates also tend to increase by the level of education with higher education having the strongest positive impact (again as expected). However, there is an interesting trend regarding vocational education. If you look at the figures highlighted in bold on Table 3, it becomes obvious that compared to medium vocational education higher education significantly increases employment rates for young females, while the effect is smaller in case of young men. Even more so, in 2016 employment rate of highly educated young males was actually lower (65.9%) compared to boys with medium vocational education (68.6%). In other words, it seems that boys make the most out of vocational education, while girls do the same with higher education.

Table 3: Youth employment rate by education levels (age group 15-29)

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 18.41.47.pngSource: Author’s calculation based on data from the National Statistics Office of Georgia

As for the unemployment rates among men and women, it has a similar pattern among youth compared to general population. The unemployment rate has been higher among young men compared to women in 2016 (21.2% for women and 28% for men). The most interesting part here is that unemployment rates do not really differ much in case of young males in different education groups. While for young females higher education significantly decreases the risk of unemployment.

Table 4: Youth unemployment rate by education levels

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 18.42.24.png

Source: Author’s calculation based on data from the National Statistics Office of Georgia

Obviously, I’m just scratching the surface here and deeper analysis is needed to find out what’s really going on. However, one thing is clear: either the educational system provides different incentives to young boys and girls or it could be that Georgian girls are much more persistent and ambitious once they manage to break out from the “economic inactivity trap”.

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