Youth cite skills gap, graft for joblessness


Youth cite skills gap, graft for joblessness

Alex Awiti
Dr Alex Awiti during the launch of the report on November 6, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

Young people in Kenya see corruption and lack of experience as the biggest hurdles in their path to getting employment, a new report shows.

The study by the Aga Khan University established that 50 percent of the Kenyan youth who could not find formal jobs blame their fate on corruption while another 51 percent cited lack of experience as an impediment.

In the informal sector, 54 percent of the youth cite corruption and another 47 percent said lack of experience blocked them from jobs.

“The survey established there is a skill gap in what employers are looking for and what the youth are offering,” said Alex Awiti, the vice provost AKU’s East Africa Institute.

The study was conducted in 24 counties and interviewed 9,355 individuals, 7,055 being the youth and 2,300 employers in the formal and informal sectors. Other barriers to jobs for the youth include low pay.


The Job Entry Level Skills established that the youth in entry level jobs lacked life skills, entrepreneurship and financial planning.

The survey conducted for a year established that 36 percent of the job openings across the country are in Nairobi, explaining the lure of the capital city.

Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu account for 50 percent of job opening with referrals and social networks being the main placement modes.

According to the study, only 25 percent and eight percent of youth in the formal and informal sectors respectively were recruited through advertising.

The revelations come at a time unemployment rates are at an all-time high with Kenya economy generating fewer jobs against the estimated one million youth joining the labour market each year.

Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates that only 78,400 new formal jobs were created last year compared to 114,400 in 2017.

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