Kenyan Employers Explain Why Companies Struggle to Retain Workers

Kenyans queue for job opportunities in Nairobi.
Kenyans queue for job opportunities in Nairobi.

Kenyan companies are struggling to fill vacancies and retain workers due to poor skills among job seekers, a new report by the Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) has revealed.

The Skills Needs Survey report released on Tuesday indicated that numerous companies, especially in the manufacturing sector, struggle to retain employees on competence grounds.

It hinted that a number of new hirees within the regions the companies are based lack requisite skills or demand a high salary range.

"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 per cent), followed by high salary expectations by candidates (26 per cent)," read the report in part.

Federation of Kenya Employers office.
Federation of Kenya Employers office.

The companies, as a result, had made some slots within the companies hard to fill, inhibiting their expansion.

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

To curb the haemorrhage of their workforce, enterprises are largely turning to training, among other programmes, in an attempt to improve the skills of their employees.

Some of the measures by enterprises in bridging the skills gap include training employees to increase their competence (48 per cent) and employing new staff who are already in the Kenyan job market (27 per cent).

According to FKE, the manufacturing sector accounted for the highest number of hard-to-fill positions, followed by the accommodation and food service activities, professional, scientific and technical activities, as well as mining and quarrying sectors.

Statista forecasts that the rate of unemployment in Kenya is expected to swell to 5.41 per cent, with the total number of employed individuals estimated to hit 27.71 million by the close of 2023.

Research has also shown that between 500,000 to 800,000, fresh graduates enter the job market every year and compete for limited opportunities.

The competition is further impacted by 43.8 per cent of the employers who demand an undergraduate degree, according to the FKE report.

Only 34.9 per cent of employers require at least a certificate from Technical and Vocational colleges, while 23.4 per cent ask for a certificate from secondary school.

12.1 per cent of employers require a Masters Degree, while 3.3 are keen on post-doctoral achievers.

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