By Laila Macharia
Work is changing. Are we? All indicators show that employment is undergoing a seismic shift across the world. The impact is being felt severely in Africa as millions of young people reach working age. On one hand, companies lament that they can’t fill vacancies, with a study by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) reporting that employers struggle to find workers with the skills they need.
On the other hand, graduates lament about a dearth of jobs. The data are sobering. In Kenya alone, approximately 1 million young people join the work force each year, with only one in five likely to find a formal job, leaving the rest unemployed, under-employed or in the informal sector.
Meanwhile, statistics show that steady work offers more than just money. Unemployment triggers mental stress with both intrapersonal and interpersonal consequences, including higher rates of suicide.
This makes the skills mismatch between the jobs available and the skills of youth a crisis. With the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reporting that 7 million Kenyans are unemployed, and another 3.7 million under-employed, something must be done urgently. But how do we bridge the skills gap and get our young people to work? Read more…