The FINANCIAL -- Georgian students’ salary expectations are 20% below the reality, a
recent survey run by The FINANCIAL has shown. Over 300 students took
part in the survey.
Students of both private and public universities and
from various professions are ready to begin work with a minimum
starting wage of GEL 500 a month. The average monthly salary on the
current job market, however, amounts to GEL 600.
“Their wage expectations are the individual students’ estimations of both their knowledge and acquired skills. They comprehend well enough that the level of their education does not adequately meet the market’s demands. Lack of experience and undeveloped skills, as highlighted by employees, are also an important issue. The high rate of unemployment in the country, when educated and skilled workers can hardly find jobs and professionals are paid low wages, are also reasons for the pessimistic expectations of future employees,” Lili Bibilashvili, PhD, President at HR Professional Guild, told The FINANCIAL.
“In terms of acquired knowledge, students are of the opinion that employers know much more, which is incorrect. Another reason is the high rate of unemployment among adolescents. Accordingly they are afraid to lay down their conditions. So they prefer to work, even for the minimum wage, than to remain unemployed. Such a nihilistic approach discourages the further development of workers. We can find many people who have been working for decades in the same position with minimum salary growth that are still satisfied with their situation. Accordingly, the companies are benefiting from this,” said Akaki Tavadze, Teacher at Free University of Tbilisi .
The results of the survey varied between the students of state and private universities. The salary expectations of private university students are higher (15%) than those from state universities.
“Tuition fee is the main reason for this. Public university students realize that when buying a product (knowledge) at a higher price, associated with high quality, they should then sell it on at a higher price. In general, students of private universities receive a better education as they are in a technically better-accommodated environment with better educational programmes,” Bibilashvili said.
However, Bibilashvili argued that some graduates of public universities are equal to the graduates of private ones in terms of their level of education. “Unfortunately though, generally the level of acquired skills and education in the country is far from that which is demanded at job fairs. There is a big gap between the supply and demand of education and skills which causes problems for both graduates and employers.”
“It is generally the graduates of private universities that more frequently appear on the TV or in printed media. Hence, students of private universities tend to have more ambitions, which can sometimes be unrealistic,” said Tavadze.
There was also a discrepancy between the salary expectations of the different sexes. The women tend to expect a 10% lower wage than the men.
“This difference is due to traditional stereotypes, as males are the customary breadwinners and demand for them is therefore greater. The job market does not pay attention to gender however. Professional skill is the key factor,” said Bibilashvili.
More than 70% of the students interviewed stated that after graduation they will need additional trainings before being able to start work. “This confirms that the current universities do not fully satisfy job fair demands,” concluded Bibilashvili.
HR Professional Guild ran a survey recently in which over 30 companies from various sectors were questioned.
Out of the total number of companies, 6.25% estimated the theoretical knowledge of graduates to be unsatisfactory, 50% estimated it to be satisfactory, and 43.75% stated that it was good. In terms of the level of practical knowledge and according skills, 50% responded that it was unsatisfactory, 18.75% said that it was satisfactory, and 31.25% said that it was good. None of the employers involved estimated both criteria to be the best.
Contrary to Bibilashvili, Tavadze from FreeUni thinks that the fact that the current level of the universities cannot satisfy the market’s demands could partially be a reason. “The main factor here is that most frequently employers do not know what they want, and cannot formulate their demands. The majority of candidates are asked to have a creative approach, but how many companies encourage their creative approach - too few of them. In most cases initiative is ‘punishing’,” he said.
“Universities are not in active communication with organizations and therefore fail to respond to their changing demands promptly. Another problem is that some universities are copying the educational systems of leading European or US universities. They forget that the university programme needs to be connected with the country’s school programme,” said Tavadze.
65% of The FINANCIAL’s respondents stated that when choosing their future career path they are constrained by the potential salary it will offer. The top five most popular professions at the moment are: IT, IT engineer, IT Trainer, Programmer and Base Administrator.
Currently it is the financial sector that offers the highest rate of wages - with an average of GEL 1,400.
“As LTDs are dominating on the Georgian market, most frequently its founders are also its directors. Accordingly, demand for directors’ positions does not exist. I think this is a wrong approach. Hiring a professional manager and remaining as just an owner might be better instead. A factor of distrust still remains high, although there are some exceptions,” Tavadze, freeUni, told The FINANCIAL.
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