6 Common Hiring Challenges in Kenya

By Gebeya

September 14, 2022

For many years, socio-economic developments impacting hiring in Kenya have been in competition. This can be attributed to many factors, including: scarcity of skilled labor, developing infrastructure, competition for capital to finance public goods and services, and the political landscape.

These challenges, along with a massive youth population of job-seekers and recent graduates in the workforce, has made hiring in Kenya  a challenging task for employers. 

The demand for work far exceeds employment opportunities in the region. According to the British Council’s Universities Employability and Inclusive Development report, in 2015, Kenyan Judiciary posted 1,000 jobs and  received close to 80,000 applications. Hiring the right candidates from a robust applicant pool can be challenging in any region when resources and opportunities are at odds.

We’ll take a look at additional barriers that impact hiring in Kenya, and critical solutions to address them.

  1. Massive youth population

As mentioned, countries in Africa, such as Kenya have a large youth population. According to the country’s 2019 census, 75% of the population was 35 years or younger. The area continues to see a substantial number of recent graduates and newcomers in the workforce. There are few opportunities to cater to such an immense pool of talent. Hence, youth job seekers are not afforded much relevant job exposure  compared to experienced candidates. This often gives rise to the country’s youth unemployment rate, which the 2019 census estimated at 39%

  1. Strict government policies

A major problem that employers face while recruiting in Africa is regulations. The government has set strict mandates, which make hiring and terminating an employee expensive. Kenya mandates that companies offer an employee severance pay if they are terminated from a role. This, in turn, makes hiring and access to formal jobs more limited.

  1. Gender restrictions

Additionally, there are regulations and barriers enforced by the government for working women. For example, there are certain jobs that women cannot access or restrictions on the hours they can work. This makes it difficult for recruiters as it reduces the applicant pool and limits employment opportunities.

  1. Lack of formal job sector

Most of the region’s population works in the informal job market, such as agriculture and trade. Due to the lack of a formal job market, candidates are going full-time into informal jobs. This is one of the reasons why people in Kenya are opting for freelancing. Not only does freelancing provide a more adequate pay, but it also prevents people from being taken advantage of in the informal job market.

  1. Competition for quality labor

Although Kenya and Africa have one of the world’s youngest populations, many lack in-demand job skills or enough advanced experience to meet the needs desired by employers. More senior talents are quickly snatched up by multinational corporates, especially in the tech sector. Identifying  skilled talent that suits the local opportunities available is one of the main challenges faced by recruiters in the country.

  1. Lengthy hiring process

It is a fact that hiring in Kenya is a tedious process. Hiring managers spend an excessive amount of time reviewing and interviewing candidates On average, a recruiter spends 18 hours just screening CVs. After that, 19 additional hours are spent conducting interviews. This totals to approximately 30 hours dedicated to filling one role. While manual hiring processes are a large contributor,  an immense number of applications plays a significant part as well. Ultimately, the time it takes to fill a role is overwhelming and costly to companies. 

The Bottom Line

Above, we have outlined some of the pain points that  hiring managers face while hiring in Kenya. To fix these issues, infrastructure needs to improve as well as government policies that support hiring innovation. Africa is home to one of the biggest youth populations.

To make the hiring process much easier, Gebeya has created a talent marketplace that meets the needs of job seekers and employers.  The platform provides decision-makers access to skilled and qualified candidates within seconds, thanks to its simple search feature. Gone are the hours of reviewing CVs and conducting countless interviews. 

Investing in a marketplace that addresses staffing challenges and amplifies the eagerness in Kenya’s youth talent is essential to a growing the country’s workforce and ecosystem for years to come.