It’s every college freshman’s dream to immediately land a job after a long struggle in college. But the bitter truth slumps them right in the face as the rate of unemployment goes higher each day that passes by.
According to the United Nations in the Human Development Index (HDI) 2017 report, the rate of unemployment in Kenya is the highest in the East African region hitting a new high at 39.1 percent. This makes it the highest than its neighboring Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Economic growth continues to disappoint and underperform; this paints a worrisome picture for the national economy and the ability to generate enough jobs, let alone the quality of jobs. The persistently high level of vulnerable forms of employment combined with a clear lack of progress in the quality of the job is alarming.
Unemployment in Kenya is a growing problem especially among the youth and has been the election agenda for almost every politician in the past few elections seasons and still continues to be.
Economic growth continues to disappoint and deficit in decent work remains widespread in the country. The country is currently facing a twin challenge of repairing the damage caused by the economic and social crisis and creating quality jobs for tens of thousands of new labors.
The Kenyan labor market is one that is characterized by inadequate employment opportunities against a large and growing population of unemployed people especially the youth. It is dual in nature, presenting a small formal sector alongside a large informal sector.
Massive joblessness, especially among the among the sprightly and innovative youth, is a drag on the economy because it forces unemployed adults to depend on the small working class, stretches family resources and consumes savings for future investments.
The World Bank Economist Apurva Sanhi in a report made on Tuesday 8, 2016, said that the problem that is mainly compounded by the fact that Kenya’s ability to create new jobs has lagged behind population growth, resulting in narrow formal opportunities, especially for entry-level workers fresh from college.
Individuals face many challenges while seeking for employment. These include few available employment opportunities against a fast-growing pool of employment seekers, lack of requisite skills sought by industry due to mismatch of acquired skills and industry expectation, poor access to information on available opportunities. Others measures are gender and cultural biases, ethnicity, and corruption, unfavorable geographical distribution of jobs and limited career guidance. The main obstacles for job seekers are limited to financial resources, lack of relevant skills and experience.
Mass unemployment continues to deny Kenya the opportunity to put its growing labor force to productive use, thereby denying the economy the demographic dividend from the majority of the young people.
It’s the government’s task to put in place measures to create jobs both in the short-term and the long-term.