Human Capital and Labour Report Kenya

Kenya lies on the equator with the Indian Ocean to its south-east, and bordered by Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The capital and largest city is Nairobi. The country comprises a total area of 581,309 km2 (224,445 sq. miles). According to the IMF, Kenya’s economic gains over the last few years have been “nothing short of remarkable”. Kenya has also become increasingly attractive for investors, as evidenced by the strong increase in the number of registered companies. Kenya is increasingly recognized as the biggest and most modern economy in East Africa. Kenya has a young, growing population which is expected to rise to 52.5 million in 2020. This is not only attractive to investors in consumer markets, but translates into a growing pool of potential employees that in turn can help stimulate further growth and development in the country. Capitalising on the country’s population dividend is of utmost importance and Kenya is making significant progress in terms of skills development which will advance the skills levels of the emerging labour force. The number of students enrolled in higher education institutions increased by 64% from 2007 to 2012 and tertiary enrolments increased by 44.3%, with notable increases in enrolments to fields of medicine, information science and other science degrees. This is of particular importance given the country’s aspiration to move upwards on the knowledge-economy curve. Kenya is also becoming increasingly recognized for its innovative capacity and potential. Kenya does, however, face certain challenges like creating sufficient jobs for the growing number of new entrants to the labour market; as well as a shortage of skills that are necessary for socio-economic development, poverty reduction and an overall improvement of living standards in the country.

This country analysis focuses on broad human capital indicators including:

  • Country profile, including a brief overview of the country; corruption and governance indicators; and the business culture.
  • Economic indicators, including an overview of the economy; largest companies; foreign aid and foreign investment.
  • Socio-demographic indicators, including population parameters, standard of living and poverty measures.
  • Healthcare and wellness: The focus here is on the impact of Tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS and malaria on the workforce and workplace; the availability of specialist healthcare and also primary and secondary healthcare.
  • Education trends, including the education level of the population and workforce; education standards and output; as well as the training and skills development framework.
  • Labour force, including the economically active population; job creation; employment sectors; skills shortages; employment of expatriates; brain drain; industrial relations; professional human resource management; economic empowerment and more.

Throughout the research, implications, challenges and recommendations are offered to employers, policy makers, donors, investors and the human resource management fraternity. This is all done within the context of Kenyan socio-economic realities.

Where appropriate, comparisons were made with Nigeria, South Africa and sub–Saharan Africa. Nigeria was selected because of being the largest economy in Africa; South Africa for being the second largest and most modern economy in Africa. The data of these two countries are used to provide context and perspective.

The country analysis refers only briefly to the Kenyan economy, political situation or general risk factors. There are dozens of platforms, reports, research and publications available in that regard for those who wish to apprise themselves of information relating to those areas.

The research is unique by its predominant focus on the Kenyan labour force.


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