Improving the Job Market in Georgia: Insights from Nini Zekalashvili
In this interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Nini Zekalashvili, the CCO of Georgian employment application Awork, and founder of the Facebook group, Freelancer.
Our discussion focuses on the state of employment and freelancing in Georgia, the challenges and opportunities in the freelance market, and the role that Awork and Freelancer are playing in improving the employment landscape in Georgia. We also explore the vision and key features of Awork, as well as the observations and achievements of the Freelancer group.
Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in the field of employment and freelancing in Georgia?
I was working as a marketing manager in one of the companies when I was offered a parallel remote mode as well as my marketing position. This is how my career began in 2018 as a freelancer in marketing and PR. Later, I started researching if people were working in a similar direction in Georgia, and I discovered international platforms, got to know their functionality and learned how to work as a freelancer. After one year, I created a Facebook group called Freelancer and actively started promoting this issue. I also became interested in the employment market, as I encountered a lot of injustices during my career, such as salary cuts and no bonuses after leaving the job. I always encouraged members of the group to contact relevant authorities and lawyers in such cases.
As the CCO of Georgian Awork, what was your vision for the app and how do you see it impacting the job market in Georgia? Additionally, what are some of the key features of the app that make it unique and valuable for job seekers and employers alike?
Although the visions and goals were formulated before I joined the Awork team, they align with my vision for a recruitment platform that filters out unscrupulous employers as much as possible and matches job descriptions to positions. Awork demands a fixed minimum salary to give people a general idea of where to send their resume. The platform is unique as it is location-based, allowing job seekers to view job vacancies close to their home, maximizing their time to find employment. The platform also provides a CV Builder, completely free of charge, for those who do not have relevant information on CV making. We have a very good success story of 1000 people being employed through our platform, and 50,000 registered users.
Your Facebook group, Freelancer, has been helping young professionals in Georgia find jobs and exchange knowledge. Can you tell us about some of the key observations you have made about the freelance market in Georgia, and what challenges and opportunities you see in this space?
The most important problem in the Georgian market is that freelancers are considered as industrial entrepreneurs, and there is no service that allows freelancers to have the opportunity to fix their official salary if they do not register as an individual entrepreneur. There is also a lack of corporate insurance, Fitpass, and other benefits. The employment market needs to be seriously improved, and a special model should be developed for all of this, even if there is a monthly subscription fee, within which the user will have a complete package, including an official tax and payment of intelligence money.
What do you think are some of the key points or issues that need to be addressed in order to improve working conditions in Georgia, and how can the government, employers, and employees work together to achieve this?
The Georgian government needs to address the issue of freelancers not being able to fix their official salary without registering as an individual entrepreneur. A model should be developed to improve the employment market, even if it includes a monthly subscription fee. Employers need to be transparent about their salaries, and employees should be encouraged to contact relevant authorities and lawyers in cases of injustice.
How do you envision the employment landscape in Georgia evolving in the next few years, and what role do you see Georgian Awork and Freelancer playing in this evolution?
I believe that the employment landscape in Georgia will continue to evolve in a positive direction, with more opportunities for remote work and a focus on improving working conditions for employees. Georgian Awork and Freelancer will continue to play a crucial role in this evolution by promoting transparency and fairness in the job market. The Freelancer group has already raised the standard for many job seekers by providing guidance on job search strategies, interviewing skills, CV writing, and finding the right educational institution. Additionally, our research has brought to light sensitive issues such as nepotism and unscrupulous employers, creating a more aware and empowered workforce. Through our platform, many people have found not just one, but several full-time or remote jobs, and we continue to offer discounts on educational institutions and coworking spaces to our members. As for Awork, we aim to revolutionize the recruitment industry in Georgia by promoting fair employment practices and connecting job seekers with reputable employers. Our unique features, such as location-based job search and the CV Builder, will continue to make job search easier and more efficient for Georgian job seekers.