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Youth and the Job Market

As has been witnessed in recent news clips and articles, unemployment is currently one of the major challenges for the youth in the country. This has been further compounded by a lack of formal jobs and social safety nets.

Various research data shows that youth unemployment is higher in urban than in rural areas. This runs counter to the perception of many young Kenyans that migrating to urban areas will offer more job opportunities.

Further research also shows that there is a lack of preparation for the transition from education to employment. For majority of unemployed youth, the requirements for jobs were either too high or they did not have enough work experience, and a significant number of unemployed youth do not know how and where to look for a job.

Since the informal sector is an important part of the economy, unemployment rates often do not reflect the realities of the labour market. Due to a lack of formal jobs and social safety nets, many young Kenyans have to find an alternative in the informal sector in order to get by, getting trapped in a precarious employment status which contributes to a delayed transition to adulthood.

One hope is that the current crop of youth will push for more changes to job policies; creating a more vibrant, open, and competitive private sector. It’s this kind of change from within that holds the most promise for Kenya’s unemployed youth.