Employers are still struggling to find qualified talent despite the limited job opportunities and huge talent pool in the country, a new survey by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) reveals.
“With technological changes, labor market dynamics are evolving faster than ever and the mismatch between workers skills and those required by available jobs has become a top priority policy concern,” said Federation of Kenya Employers CEO, Jacqueline Mugo.
The survey, which was designed to capture the changing demands for skills, included insights from FKE members in 521 enterprises across diverse sectors. 20% of enterprises surveyed reported having hard-to-fill vacancies, leading some to employ applicants with qualifications below their initial requirements (9.6%). Industries like manufacturing reported the highest difficulty in filling positions.
73.1% of the enterprises use training to bridge the skills gap, often in collaboration with other organizations in the capacity-building space.
- There is a demand for skills in various career fields – Information Technology (28.4%), Finance & Business Management (27.4%), Engineering (19.2%), Transportation, Distribution & Logistics (18.6%), and Legal (18.2%).
- The predominant educational qualifications were undergraduate (Bachelor’s) degrees (43.8%) followed by Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) (34.9%).
- The top TVET skills in demand were in transport and logistics (21.3%), electrical (21.1%), and building and construction (18.2%). The demand for workers with up to TVET education is mainly in transport, distribution & logistics (26.5%), social service & community development (13.2%), and hospitality & tourism career fields (11.1%).
Within the engineering sector, computer and software engineering (30.7%) led the list, followed by electrical and electronics engineering (27.4%) and mechanical and production engineering (25%).
An undergraduate degree is mostly sought after in information technology (50.5%), finance business management (48.4%), and legal professions (36.5%). A high school certificate is mainly sought in public safety, corrections & and security (4.8%) and arts and recreational services (3.1%).
“As we navigate the evolving demands of the workforce, it is imperative for educational institutions, businesses, and policymakers to collaborate in shaping an agile and skilled workforce that can drive innovation and sustainable economic growth,” said Dr Laila Macharia, the CEO and co-founder of ADMI.
Social skills such as effective communication (49.1%), critical thinking (41.7%), teamwork (25.7%), and time management (23.4%) were identified as crucial by the surveyed enterprises. Some of the reasons for non-employment or staff retention challenges included a lack of qualified candidates in the local region (29%) and high salary expectations from candidates (26%).
These challenges inhibit business expansion (25%), lead to loss of revenue (24%) and market share (21%), among other consequences.
The survey also shows that 39.3% of enterprises had plans to make their products/services more climate/environmentally friendly. Concrete changes were implemented due to standards/requirements or expectations related to a green shift (26.1%), and 25.7% anticipated an increase in enterprise services/products as a consequence of the green shift. Leadership competence (34.2%) and skilled worker competence (33.4%) were identified as essential for the green shift.