JOBLESSNESS

Ticking bomb that is youth unemployment

Youths must eschew ignoble wealth acquired by dishonest means

In Summary

• Close to three-quarters of our population is under 35.

• Economists say the rate at which young people find jobs depends on how prepared the labour market is to receive them, and how ready they are for the labour market.

 

Unemployed youth hold placards advertising their skills
Unemployed youth hold placards advertising their skills
Image: REUTERS

One of the many difficult-to-appreciate realities in the country is that jobs are shrinking at a time when the Kenya Bureau of Statistics shows that the economy is growing.

Close to three-quarters of our population is under 35. Economists say the rate at which young people find jobs depends on how prepared the labour market is to receive them, and how ready they are for the labour market.

A recent Aga Khan University study quotes the employers complaining that most of the youth hired at entry-level lack relevant skills and competencies such as communication, numeracy and entrepreneurship.

 

The same study cites youths complaining of being denied jobs due to barriers like corruption, inexperience and nepotism.

Employers blame our educational institutions for not graduating people with relevant skills. There is, therefore, a need to fundamentally address the skills gap, as well as skills mismatch.

Vision 2030 sets an ambitious target to become a middle-income country by 2030. This goal requires an uninterrupted growth of 10% annually. It also demands citizens with globally-competitive skills.

Policymakers must come up with specific ways of expanding economic opportunities. Agenda 4 is a good starting point, but determined efforts must be in place to punish impunity and sanction misuse of office.

Youths too must eschew ignoble wealth acquired by dishonest means.