Employment Challenges in Kenya
This paper explores the employment challenge in Kenya. It focused on the past employment creation interventions adopted by the country over time, their outcomes and the status of the country’s employment policy. Kenya’s employment challenge is manifested in terms of a 12.7 per cent open unemployment rate, 21 per cent underemployment and a working poor estimated at 46 per cent of the employed. The employment challenge is heightened by rapid population growth at 3 per cent per annum, a youth bulge of 67 per cent of the adult population, low and un-sustained economic growth, and structural rigidities. The paper establishes that much of the employment creation measures adopted by the government have recognized the role of economic growth in employment. This is despite the low employment yield of the country’s economic growth attributed to sluggish economic growth. To reverse the trend in slow employment growth, Kenya must focus on ensuring high and sustained economic growth. In addition, employment needs to be put at the centre of the country’s macroeconomic policies. Since a large proportion of the Kenyan labour force, even under the best scenario, will remain in the informal sector, the living standards of Kenyans will only brighten if the productivity and employment conditions of informal employment improve. It is envisaged that improving the productivity of the informal sector with a well balanced mix of economic and social policies will make a remarkable contribution to improve the labour and living conditions of a large number of Kenyans.