Is little really better than nothing when it comes to employment in Kenya? By Sharon Laura O.

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Getting a job in Kenya is hard. One goes through a lot of monkey business, it ends up as a job in itself, a job for looking for jobs.

I am shocked at just the sheer volumes of young people struggling to get employment. For the record, I am not unemployed. Sometimes though, I wonder what is the point of saying you are employed if your struggles are just the same as those unemployed?

I mean, this country in the beginning of this year introduced new taxes. Talk of turnover taxes for small business. This is over and above the taxes this government levies on businesses and Kenyans. The net effect is it leaves you with little monies that actually being employed sometimes, does feel like being unemployed.

I know of a single parent who takes home 4000 thousand Kenya shillings per month net salary. With it she is expected to feed, clothe and protect her 2 year old. The current state of economy forces Kenyans to do and be everything so as to make ends meet.

I always wonder, what if this single parent taking home Ksh. 4000 monthly quits her job, how will she survive?

Come to think of it, this is the mentality that we are forced to have. We have been conditioned to think that ‘little is better than nothing’. We are encouraged to stick with it because uncertainty of unemployment is too great.

Employers, meanwhile have learned to take advantage of this dire state of affairs. They know Kenyans will take what is being offered. Economy is bad, they tell us and something is better than nothing. So for those people who think are lucky being employed, including myself, news flash, we actually are not. I am not saying that you should quit your jobs. No. I’m only saying we live in a selfish society where the state and our laws have utterly failed to protect its citizens. We the people, have found ways of going round the problem, we have several sources of income to sustain our families

The frustrations for young people don’t end here, welcome to the home of contradictions where you study for field A but get work in field Z. I mean, each year Kenya produces thousands of graduates whose majority end up tarmacking for years and years. By the time they get a job that they studied for its seems too late as companies want higher degree or more skills. If you decide to go back to school and get this higher degree, you again seem to be too overqualified. Now this is a monkey business that needs to stop.

Recently, I went to a government building to run some errands. To my surprise, all the desks that I went to for assistance were being manned by old folks. May the good Lord forgive me but these are our grandparents who are meant to be enjoying their retirement. I enjoyed the slow service, a process that could have taken 30 minutes took 3hrs.

Most of our institutions are run by people who maybe had a certificate and as time went by, they did not see the need to go back to school. So if one goes to seek employment with the hope that their degree will be a plus, they will get a rude shock because, people at these places feel threatened by ones qualifications. They think their jobs will be taken away from them. That is why old people keep dominating while the youth keep tarmacking.

So let us face it, the economy is bad. The government is worsening the situation by taking more loans. I do not know about you but at this rate, where we are heading as this current state scares me.

Written by Sharon Laura O. 

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Siasa Place is an NGO formed 2015 that aims to create an enabling environment for women and youth mainstreaming into our body politics.

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