Thousands of university graduates enter the job market every year. But, is the labor market ready for so many freshers?
Unfortunately, some of them remain unemployed for more than 5 years, while others settle for whatever job comes their way.
The assumption that merely being a university graduate guarantees easy passage into the job market is not entirely true. The unemployment rate stands at 40%, with the highest percentage among the youth between the ages of 18 and 34 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. It takes a university graduate five years to get a job in Kenya according to the British funded study on unemployment and higher education.
A British council report released by the Commission for Higher Education reveals that more than 50,000 students graduate annually from private and public universities in Kenya. Only half of them are suitable for employment. And of these graduates, more than half are not suited to their career choice, the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) notes in a survey.
Although some experts say that Kenyan institutions of higher education need to tailor their courses to the national development agenda, this perception appears to be misleading.
Vision 2030 is Kenya’s development blueprint to transition the country to a middle-income economy by developing the infrastructure and manufacturing sectors, among other areas.
Can tailoring higher education courses fit the blueprint to achieve the vision without job creators? Will the vision be achieved by working for already established companies or by starting up new companies that create millions of jobs for graduates while realizing the dream? Universities and colleges need to emphasize on demand, transferable skills, creativity, and most importantly, entrepreneurship.
Simon Gicharu, founder and chairman of Mount Kenya University, said that minting graduates with inadequate practical skills will negatively affect Kenya’s quest to become an industrial powerhouse over the next 18 years. He was right, however, what is also valid is that graduates should utilize their skills to start companies in all sectors which will, in the long run, transform Kenya into the powerhouse it is intended to be.
Lots of investment and a clear growth plan are needed for Kenya to become an industrial powerhouse. Even if foreign investments are secured, this vision can never be realized if there are no industries that flourish, no companies that are formed or even small businesses that can solve problems while creating employment.
Kenyans join universities with the intention of receiving an academic qualification that can land them a good job. But there are not plenty of good jobs because already there are people in those positions and those people are not switching careers yet nor will they be any soon. The end result is a university graduate with a degree working at a construction site or a call center.
Will an emphasis on entrepreneurship and practical skills needed to start and manage a business result in much better opportunities for freshers?
The figures are clear - there are fewer jobs in Kenya than college graduates. And since there are not enough new businesses being started, a recent graduate may end up unemployed for years.
The rise of remote working in Kenya
Most organizations in Kenya have now adopted remote working due to the spread of COVID-19 although it has been hard for some employers to provide the necessary tools and software to their employees. At the same time, about 740,000 people in Kenya lost their jobs as the country’s economy was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears that the government is currently focusing on the implementation of the Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) that aims to restore the economy to a strong growth path, creating jobs and economic opportunities across all regions of the country with a view to manage social and income inequalities.
The latest Kenya Economic Update Edition 23: Rising Above the Waves, notes that with the number of people in working age (18-64) increasing by almost 1 million per year, this young and growing population will see a significant increase in the labor supply which inevitably leads to higher competition for each job available on the market. If this increase in labor supply can be matched by a corresponding increase in the created jobs, then average household and per capita incomes will also increase.
The solution to remote working
Businesses looking to hire independent contractors and employees in Kenya
Searching for talented workers to fill positions is challenging no matter where you are in the world. However, staying in compliance with the local labor legislation and being in compliance with all regulations that apply to businesses hiring independent contractors, freelancers and employees in Kenya can be challenging. Plus, you as an employer, have the responsibility of handling all the different aspects of your international expansion and management.
Hiring talented independent contractors, service providers, freelancers and employees in Kenya is one of the most crucial steps of your expansion, but you need to make sure you know the right ways to acquire talent in a foreign country. Kenyan laws and regulations permit you to use fixed - or indefinite-term employment contracts depending on the type of employment you need. However, all contracts should be in compliance with the local labor legislation and include the necessary information about the benefits, termination requirements, compensation, and other related information.
Expanding to Kenya in many cases means that you need to first set up your own subsidiary before providing compensation and benefits. However, it can take months to register your subsidiary, thus further delaying your time to start operating in Kenya, not to mention the associated costs.
As a solution to this and the rising unemployment rate, HR software companies like Transformify provide employer of record ( EOR) and global payroll on-demand services to businesses that want to hire independent contractors and employees and run global payroll without first establishing a branch office or subsidiary in Kenya. This enables customers to run payroll in Kenya while HR services, hiring, onboarding, tax, and compliance management matters are all addressed by Transformify. Also, Transformify manages service agreements, employment contracts, statutory and market norm benefits, and employee expenses, as well as onboarding and termination.
Hiring a candidate via Transformify in accordance with the local labor laws and the subsequent onboarding take days instead of months. Moreover, the full automation of billing and payments to your international contractors saves 60% on costs on average allowing businesses from across the globe to tap into the vast talent pool of qualified candidates in Kenya.
Jobless graduates and job seekers in Kenya looking for remote jobs
Luckily, remote working arrangements became prevalent in the last few years allowing job seekers in Kenya to apply for remote jobs across the globe. They can work for employers based in the UK, US, Japan, Korea, EU, etc. as Transformify operates across 184 countries. Signing up with Transformify is free of charge and takes seconds. Unlike many freelancer management platforms ( FMS), Transformify does not take a cut on the earnings of the independent contractors and freelancers providing their services to businesses across the globe. Billing and payments are fully automated and there is no need to know how to issue a tax compliant invoice. Providing invoice details and setting up a default payment method is simple and there are many payment methods to choose from including Payoneer, HSBCNet, Revolut, local bank transfers and more.
To stand out from the crowd and get their dream job that will help them develop their careers, they need to ensure that their Transformify profiles provide all the information recruiters need to make informed hiring decisions. Links to portfolios, examples of work, a clear resume outlining achievements and career goals are a ''must have''. Although stating their desired pay rate is not mandatory, it is highly advisable to provide the information as it will limit the number of interviews for jobs that pay less.
Although the unemployment rate in Kenya and across Africa has skyrocketed lately and the effects on youth unemployment are devastating, jobless graduates, PhD holders and job seekers now have better chances of getting remote jobs with businesses across the globe and advancing their careers.