Young people in Georgia are optimistic about their future employability, according to a study unveiled on 23 January by the German political foundation, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. According to the study, 41% of young people aged 14–29 are in education, with 71% of these feeling optimistic about their employment opportunities.
A large majority, 75% of those surveyed, believe that personal connections are the most important factor in finding a job. Only 26% of young Georgians are in any kind of employment, either full-time part-time or self-employed. A large number of young people, 42%, are interested in working in the public sector, despite their low levels of trust in governmental institutions.
A mere 25%–26% of young people expressed trust in political parties, Parliament, and central and local governments. Young people appear disillusioned with politics, with only 20% believing that political engagement is important for young people. International and local non-governmental organisations fared better. Young Georgians are enthusiastic about EU membership, with 84% supporting Georgia’s ascension. The vast majority of these believe that EU membership will bring greater economic prosperity to the country as well as improved education.
Young Georgians are slightly less keen on NATO, with 68% supporting Georgia’s membership ambitions. Many expressed concern at the possibility of provoking a response from Russia as well as suffering greater numbers of casualties participating in NATO deployments.
The highest levels of trust displayed by young Georgians were in religious institutions (81%), the army (76%) and the police (62%). Fully 90% of young Georgians named a belief in God among the most important values.
By contrast, the survey revealed high levels of homophobia among young Georgians; LGBT people received the lowest ratings for trust. Forty-four percent of respondents stated that they would not be happy if a homosexual person or couple moved into their neighborhood. However, the number who would not care is also fairly high (45%).
Family remains one of the most important aspects of life for young Georgians. Seventy percent live with their parents, with 62% supported financially. Half of young people reported that their political views were at least somewhat aligned with their parents. And almost half reported making decisions with their parents.
The vast majority of young Georgians (91%) consider it very important to lead a good family life, with almost the same number planning to get married, with a quarter of young Georgians already having done so. The optimum age for getting married is considered to be around 25 for both men and women.
Georgian youth expressed the highest level of trust towards their immediate families. Seventy percent of young people live with their parents, and 62% of respondents are financially supported.
The ‘Generation in Transition, Youth Study Georgia – 2016’ questioned young people aged 14–29 throughout Georgia on their ‘awareness, expectations and approaches towards changing realities’. The study is based on a similar study, the Shell Youth Study, which has been used to assess youth attitudes in Germany and other European countries since 1953.