The Issue of Educated Unemployment in Kenya

In the paper "Kenya's Educated Unemployment Essay" we will research of situation with an educated population and the reasons for the lack of work for them in Kenya.


Educated unemployment is a situation of not getting the work and wages with eligible conditions after pursuing education. Unemployment is a problem in both the developing and the developed countries. Ndegwa (1975) defined unemployment as a person who has no opportunity to perform the tasks he is culturally adopted Here in Kenya, different studies has identified unemployment as one of the major challenges we are facing and that which is still on the rise. Economic growth has been identified by various economists and policy makers to be the solution to the unemployment and poverty. This was seen as complementary to other policy objectives such as high level of employment, reduction of poverty and equality. Ghai (1970), argues that despite the substantial growth enjoyed in most sector of the economy, Kenya faces one of the serious problems of unemployment in the continent. Many scholars today argue that unemployment in developing countries is mostly concentrated in the youths. Makau (1985), argues that the rising unemployment of school leavers has been a major feature characterizing Kenyan economy since 1960s.

Causes of unemployment

Economic Condition

Economic conditions are the main factor in unemployment. Once a company fails to pay its employees then there is no choice for the employees, they have to leave job. With no reason to continue paying them, they lose their jobs as the job simply disappears. Due to weak economic conditions company become unable to pay its employees. This was the status at times of the great Economic recession in developed countries too.

In Kenya and most of the developing countries the economic condition plays a significant role in employment. Educated youth need employability and wage package that meets the skill they possess, but due to weak economic conditions there is no such opportunities or packages. Here the Government policies have great effect, it is to be polished in a way to utilize the full manpower the country has.

Employers are struggling hard to attract them with huge pay-packages that is increasing their production cost significantly. The employers are losing their competitive edge in global markets. Global slowdown only adds to the crisis. Corporations are now facing dual problem.


The growth of new technologies are also be considered for unemployment to certain extend. Today there are machines that can do 10 days of 100 employees work in 1 day with 1 operator, a computer can do documentation works which included 100s of persons work. In some areas technology inclusion is a must for the growth of the economy and at the same time it reduces chances of job opportunities. The technology growth points to job opportunities to certain sector of specially educated people but leaves behind a mass.

High Population Growth

The rapid increase in population of our country during the last decade has further worsened the unemployment problem in the country. Due to rapidly increasing population of the country, a dangerous situation has arisen in which the magnitude of unemployment goes.

Population and migration

Uncontrolled population growth and migration of foreign job seekers could also be counted as a cause of unemployment. Overpopulation is defined as a condition where a country’s human population exceeds the carrying capacity of its environment, as the population increases number job seekers increases but the available jobs not proportionally increased, resulting in unemployment. Unemployment is directly proportional to the population.

Inappropriate Education System

Education and training plays a crucial role in the production of skills and competencies necessary for employability. The effective creation of demand oriented capabilities has been hampered by a weak linkage between education and training institutions and industry in development of curricula, and the absence of integrated industrial training and attachment programs. There also exists a gap between the level of technology used by the industry and education and training service providers to undertake training. The labor market information system also remains largely inefficient, uncoordinated and where available the information is inconsistent, incomplete and outdated. The lack of policy on labor market information coupled with inadequate research on availability of skills in the market has made capacity building a challenge. This lack of relevant information concerning supply and demand has compounded the unemployment problem.

Lack of Access to Capital and Market

While a number of graduates and school leavers would like to start a business as a source of employment, they lack start-up capital as they cannot access loans from banks and other lending institutions. The banks and other lending institutions consider them high risk borrowers who lack collateral like title deed and log books. Moreover some of the funds set up to facilitate youth entrepreneurship are set up through banks with stringent requirements that lock out the neediest from accessing the funds. Little effort is also made to help youth entrepreneurs access market for their products, as such those who take loans to start a business find it difficult to repay the loans.


Some elected politicians in the counties give preferences particularly on employment to their relatives, supporters and those they believe share their political ideology. A number of youth leaders reported some politicians and appointed officials in the county ignore educated youth who are capable and qualified for employment on the basis of party affiliation. Discrimination on this basis has continued to slow development in the counties.


The 2018 Transparency International’s corruption index marked Kenya as the 21st most corrupt country in Africa. Corruption directly affects the employment of educated youths as it creates a barrier to job creation and employment of capable and qualified people. The police recruitments for example has been marred with cases of bribery, extortion and favoritism. Some institutions tasked with the fight against corruption have not been effective as they are not devolved. If proper measures are not put in place to address corruption then job creation will remain elusive.

11 February 2020
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