We’re the Cause of Unemployment in Kenya

***To stay updated on such stories, news and issues concerning comrades throughout the country, subscribe to our email list and get a notification every time we make a new post. Click here to subscribe. Also, if you are a writer in campus or with content aimed at campus students, WhatsApp 0703154483 to get your articles featured here***

I’ll start with some advice – if you’re almost graduating, don’t watch You Again. It may make you depressed and finalists have enough on their minds already. You Again, for those of you who don’t know, is a Kenyan movie that premiered on December 2nd on YouTube. The main characters, Kingsley (Nick Mutuma) and Sophia (Nini Mars) are jobless at the start of the movie. In the end, after an unfortunate turn of events, they’re still jobless. The message is loud and clear: there are no jobs in Kenya.

And one thing about movies is that they always reflect vitu kwa ground to a certain degree. But if you don’t believe the movies, just go Google ‘retrenchment in Kenya.’ You’ll get dozens of articles with titles such as, “Alarm as 2000 people lose jobs in three months.”

Let’s zoom in on the real state of things on the ground. I have dozens of friends who graduated early this year. According to them, you soon find out that a single degree is almost useless in a job interview because you’re competing with guys who have masters degrees, on top of other certifications.

A good number of these graduates are no longer looking for jobs – there seems to be no hope down that road. Instead, they’ve taken refuge in the “Academic Writing” industry – which is really just a bunch of Kenyans doing homework for students abroad and getting paid for it. On asking one of these writers whether she plans to look for a job, she replied with a very emphatic NO. Not unless the job she was offered had a salary of more than sh.50,000 per month for an entry level position – which is practically impossible.

On asking her what progress she had made in paying her HELB loan, she just shrugged. She hadn’t paid back a dime. She would only pay the money if she ever got a government job – which we have already established she’s not interested in.

As a student who will graduate sooner or later, is there anything you can do to better your situation?

The way I see it, you have two options, Number One: Be the best in your field. If not the best, be incredibly good and start doing it as early as possible. Being incredibly good is not good enough, you’ll need to network – get connected to the right people. Without proper connections, you won’t be aware of opportunities in your field and you’ll end up like that poor UON graduate who was homeless and living on Nairobi streets. This was despite having graduated with a first class honors in Actuarial Science.

The above option is for people who are passionate about whatever course they’re studying.

Option Number Two: Admit that jobs in Kenya are as scarce as hen’s milk and find a way to employ yourself. The funny thing is that most graduates who are looking for employment desire jobs in the formal non-agricultural sector. Yet according to a recent report by the World Bank, only 6% of total employment is in the formal non agricultural sector, with 49% of total employment being in the informal and non-agricultural sector and the remaining 45% being in agriculture. This means that out of 100 jobs, only 6 will be the white collar jobs that we young graduates are in search of. Obviously, the odds are against you, which is why the number of interviews you will attend without success approaches infinity – especially if you’re not at the top of your field. Numbers don’t lie.

As depressing as the situation seems, there is something we can collectively do to make things better. Consider the below scenario:

We are watching You Again (instead of some Nigerian or American movie) on YouTube. Tyler Mbaya, formerly Baha of Machachari, had a role in the You Again film. Assume he gets paid and spends the money on an African print shirt made by a Kenyan designer (instead of a shirt imported from Dubai) Let’s call the designer Achieng’. Achieng’ uses the money to buy a ticket to an Ethic Concert (instead of a JoeBoy concert which doesn’t even have the cartoons from YouTube) SWAT of Ethic, using money from his music, decides to start a club in Umoja, even though they once called him a thief and assaulted him on video. SWAT then decides to employ you, a graduate of Tourism and Hospitality, as the club manager.

By watching You Again and getting Tyler Mbaya to be paid, we employed him, Achieng’ the designer, Ethic the Entertainers and you the club manager. It may not work exactly like that on the ground but the point is, every time you choose Kenyan content, you – as a Kenyan – benefit. In fact, by choosing Kenyan content, you could be creating an employment opportunity for yourself.

And if you feel that you shouldn’t force Kenyan content on yourself because it is mediocre, I have only this to tell you: The grass is greener where you water it. So as you watch the English Premier League because the KPL is crap, remember the implication: Talented Kenyan footballers can’t make money from their talent. Accordingly, people who should be footballers will flood into your field and take the job that should be yours because they have to survive.

We should focus on making the KPL watchable.

But of course we don’t want to do that. And it’s the same as MPs rejecting Kenyan doctors and nurses and going for Indian ones. This is after the same MPs have pocketed the money that should be used to empower Kenyan doctors and nurses to give high quality services.

I’m not saying that we should stop watching Messi. Oh No. That would be ridiculous. I’m just saying that if we do things differently, the future Messi could be from our country.

Every time you choose against Kenyan content, you choose against yourself. Also, grass is only green where it has been watered.

Let’s water Kenyan content.

***To stay updated on such stories, news and issues concerning comrades throughout the country, subscribe to our email list and get a notification every time we make a new post. Click here to subscribe. Also, if you are a writer in campus or with content aimed at campus students, WhatsApp 0703154483 to get your articles featured here***

Silicon

Author Silicon

More posts by Silicon

Leave a Reply