Kenya is one of the countries worldwide where workers take home peanuts for loads of work done. Apart from having the lowest minimum wage one could imagine, the real wages adjusted for inflation scream a tale of workers dying slow deaths.
Admittedly, employees across the country have stuck to their jobs on “better than nothing” basis. Money motivates people to work, and when you have a job that doesn’t pay you well yet you are doing a lot, it takes a toll on you.
The livelihood of many people depends on the remuneration package of the breadwinner, which is why life’s too short when you have to contend with any pay for a specific task. It would seem that the government and various employers are focused on making life hard for the workforce, and sadly, many employees have no idea what the minimum wage in their industry should be.
Earning a living should not be the driving force in a working environment. It breeds exploitation from employers and for your desperation, some of them think you will go nowhere – which is exactly the case if one feels like there is no better place.
That said, what exactly is the real wage across the country currently? First off, it is worth noting that Kenyans earn a lot less today than they were earning a decade ago. This is according to a report released on November 26 by the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation (ILO).
According to the report, the rate of change in real wages, that is monthly earnings adjusted to inflation, dropped by 1.6 percent in the country between 2008 and 2017. In 2017 alone, the rate dropped significantly by 2.9 percent.
This clearly states that either the economy has been falling or that common citizens have somehow been stifled economically despite the economic expansion. Well, to contradict the idea of slow economic growth, World Bank says that the country’s GDP grew between 5 and 6 percent yearly from 2013 through 2017. The question is, why are Kenyans still earning less than they should despite the growth?
It is so sad that the citizens have to suffer the consequences of a country’s economy. Kenya, for instance, is marred by corruption cases that are characterized by individuals wanting to pocket money and paying those doing the real work less. No wonder the ILO study reveals that the country is lagging behind among the 24 sub-Saharan covered by the report. These other countries have had their real wages increase 2.7 percent during the past five years.
Now here is the irony, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) says that nominal wages have significantly grown in the country. KNBS says that although not adjusted for inflation, the nominal wage has risen from an average of 42,886 shillings per month in 2013 to 57,008 shillings in 2017.
Clearly, there is a serious problem in the country. The report by ILO signifies only a small proportion of Kenya’s working population. It doesn’t present estimates for the dynamics in remuneration packages in the informal sector.
If the gender pay gap in Kenya is considered, the case is even worse. The disparities in earnings between men and women are seldom discussed, and when it is talked about, nothing much comes out of it.
According to the United Nations (UN), women earn at least 20 percent less than men across the globe and the phenomenon is not fully comprehensible. Maybe some employers are just biased, who knows?
Meanwhile, as the real wage in other countries continues to rise, Kenya is still debating whether it is in the best interest of the economy. Maybe a commission will soon be formed to discuss whether paying people more will benefit the economy. Buffoons.
We are a third world country. That we are struggling to develop and better the economy is so much true, but even an idiot knows that it starts by rooting out corruption and ensuring the standards of living among the people will better the much-desired growth. As such, if you are a worker, don’t settle for less. Go forth and have no fear. Demand what is rightfully yours.