Friday, July 19, 2024

Why graduates with papers struggle to hold job positions, get employment

Amidst the dwindling economic situation and the prevalent unemployment rates in Kenya, the Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) has revealed reasons why many graduates struggle to get jobs and retain their positions.

As per a Skills Needs Survey report issued by FKE, the main challenge facing employee retention in the country is incompetence. This mostly affects the manufacturing industry in Kenya.

The report suggested that new employees hired within the areas of the companies/firms lack requisite skills that are vital or demand a salary way above their pay grade.

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“Besides competence of jobseekers being a contributor to the emergence of hard-to-fill vacancies, lack of qualified candidates in the companies’ region was singled out as another top cause (29%), followed by high salary expectations by candidates (26%),” the report read in part.

This makes some slots in the companies hard to fill, and its effect is the inhibition of business expansion.

“Some of the consequences of skills deficit experienced by enterprises inhibition of business expansion (25%), loss of revenue 24 per cent and loss of customers or market share (21%).”


To address workforce attrition challenges, employers are increasingly adopting various strategies, with training initiatives being a key focus in enhancing employees’ skills.

These training programs are aimed at improving the competence of existing staff (48%) and the absorption of new employees from the job market (27%).

According to the Skills Needs Survey report, the manufacturing sector faces the highest number of hard-to-fill positions. It is followed by the accommodation & food service industry, professional, scientific & technical jobs as well as the mining & quarrying sector.


German online data gathering and visualization platform Statista projects the unemployment rate in Kenya to increase significantly to 5.41%. Unemployed Kenyans are estimated to hit 27.71 million at the end of 2023.

More alarming figures include the 500,000 to 800,000 graduates who enter the job market each year but struggle to compete for limited jobs.

This is further underscored by 43.8% of employers seeking potential candidates with undergraduate degrees. 34.9% of employers will take in employees with TVET certificates while 23.4% with KCSE certificates.

12.2% of employers need one to have a Master’s degree while only a fractional 3.3% take in employees with PhDs.

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