A recent report dubbed the “National Study on Digital and Digitally Enabled Work in Kenya” found that about 1,209,506 people (5) percent of the adult population in Kenya are digital workers, a significant jump from 638,400 or (3%) in 2019.
Female workers accounted for 402,284 while workers between the ages of 18 to 35 made up 1,007,277 of the individuals doing digital and digitally enabled jobs.
In terms of basic or intermediate skills, the study estimates that there are 461,523 digital marketers, 141,021 transcribers and about 250,000 article writers working online in Kenya.
In terms of advanced skills, Kenya has 76,921 software developers and 64,100 data scientists working online. Other opportunity areas captured in the study under various skills categories include academic and scientific writing, transcription, virtual assistants, online research and surveys, coding, and data science activities.
The study notes that (31%) of workers who have adopted digital and digitally enabled work prefer it because of lack of formal employment opportunities. About (21%) said they prefer to work online due to flexibility and convenience of digital work and another (18%) said it was because of the ability to work part time.
Barriers to Participating in Digital Work
This is against the top 3 barriers to participating in digital and digitally enabled work, which were captured as expensive internet costs at (53%), lack of skills to participate in some digital platforms at (52%) and lack of access to WiFi or internet connectivity at (21%).
Access to internet, prohibitive cost of internet, family barriers as primary caregivers, cultural barriers, cyberbullying, lower internet usage skills and competition with experienced local and international gig workers stood out as barriers specific to women.