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Paper vs. Practice: Why Kenyan Graduates Struggle in the Job Market – FKE Report

Dealing with tough economic times and rising unemployment in Kenya, the Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) has revealed why many graduates are finding it hard to land and keep jobs. Their recent Skills Needs Survey report points out some major problems, especially in the country’s manufacturing sector.

Paper vs. Practice: Why Kenyan Graduates Struggle in the Job Market - FKE Report

The Big Issue: Incompetence

According to the FKE report, a key problem in holding onto employees is incompetence, hitting the manufacturing industry the hardest. Often, new hires lack essential skills or ask for more money than the job pays. The report also talks about the difficulty in filling job openings due to jobseeker incompetence, a lack of qualified candidates in certain areas (29%), and candidates expecting high salaries (26%).

 In-Depth Analysis of Incompetence Challenges

The incompetence challenge, as highlighted by the FKE report, is multifaceted. It not only affects the retention of employees but also creates a domino effect in the hiring process. The lack of essential skills among new hires, coupled with unrealistic salary expectations, paints a complex picture of the hurdles faced by both employers and jobseekers.

What It Means for Businesses

Beyond making hiring a headache, this shortage of skilled candidates is holding back business growth. The report highlights the fallout of skills shortages, including stunted business growth (25%), lost revenue (24%), and a shrinking customer base (21%).

Implications on Business Growth and Revenue

The adverse effects of the skills shortage extend far beyond the initial hiring process. The stunted business growth, revenue loss, and diminishing customer base underscore the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address the root causes of these challenges.

Employers’ Plan of Action

To tackle these challenges, employers are turning to various strategies, with a big emphasis on training. They’re focusing on improving the skills of existing staff (48%) and helping new job market entrants (27%).

Strategic Initiatives: A Closer Look

The emphasis on training initiatives reveals a proactive approach by employers. The report suggests that investing in upskilling existing staff and supporting new entrants reflects a commitment to creating a workforce equipped with the necessary skills to navigate the evolving job market.

Diving into Specifics

Breaking it down by industry, the report points out that the manufacturing sector is struggling the most to fill positions. Following closely are accommodation & food services, professional & scientific jobs, and mining & quarrying.

Industry-Specific Challenges: A Comprehensive Overview

Understanding the industry-specific challenges provides a nuanced perspective. The manufacturing sector’s struggles serve as a focal point for devising targeted solutions, while insights into other sectors offer a comprehensive view of the diverse challenges faced by employers.

What the Future Holds

Looking ahead, Statista predicts a significant jump in Kenya’s unemployment rate to 5.41%. By the end of 2023, an estimated 27.71 million Kenyans could be out of work, highlighting the urgency to address these employment challenges.

Forecasting Future Unemployment Trends

The statistics presented by Statista set the stage for anticipating and preparing for future unemployment challenges. The staggering numbers underscore the critical need for proactive measures to mitigate the impact on the workforce and the economy.

Graduates in the Mix

The stats paint a tough picture for graduates, with 500,000 to 800,000 entering the job market each year, all vying for limited jobs. Employers seem to prefer candidates with undergraduate degrees (43.8%), while others are open to TVET certificates (34.9%) and KCSE certificates (23.4%).

The Graduates’ Dilemma: A Closer Examination

The sheer volume of graduates entering the job market amplifies the competition for limited opportunities. Analyzing the preferences of employers sheds light on the evolving landscape of qualifications and the challenges faced by graduates with varying educational backgrounds.

Degrees in Demand

The demand for higher qualifications is noticeable, with 12.2% of employers wanting a Master’s degree. On the flip side, only a tiny 3.3% consider candidates with PhDs, showing a shift in what employers are looking for.

Shifting Trends in Qualification Preferences

The evolving demands for higher qualifications signify a dynamic shift in the expectations of employers. Understanding these trends is crucial for graduates and educational institutions to align their offerings with the current needs of the job market.

Finding Solutions for a Better Tomorrow

This challenging job landscape calls for practical solutions. FKE’s report signals the need for cooperation between educational institutions, policymakers, and businesses to create lasting solutions for Kenya’s job market.

Collaborative Solutions: A Call to Action

The report’s call for cooperation emphasizes the interconnectedness of stakeholders in shaping a sustainable employment landscape. Collaborative efforts are essential for devising solutions that address the root causes and foster a more resilient, responsive, and fair job market in Kenya.

In a Nutshell

In a nutshell, navigating Kenya’s job scene requires addressing skill gaps and aligning education with what the job market needs. FKE’s report is a call to action for everyone involved to work together and shape a more resilient, responsive, and fair job market in Kenya.

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