The rate of unemployment in Kenya today is high due to the limited job opportunities. Kenyan youth are forced to grapple with this reality and left to languish in poverty. The Government of Kenya (GoK) through various ministries has tried to increase job opportunities by creating short-, medium- and long-term employment opportunities but this has been futile due to the large labour force. Despite the presence of a large labour force, there are some notable deficits that prove challenging including a lack of relevant skills, work experience and job search abilities.
National Employment Authority (NEA) through the Ministry of Labour launched the NEA Job Fair in June at the Sarova White Sands Hotel, Mombasa. The Job Fair was held under the theme ‘Moving towards Self-Reliant Generation with Decent Job opportunities’. This Job Fair gave an opportunity for job seekers and potential employers to engage and have dialogue serving as an incentive to promote decent work for all. Representing employers was Ms Jacqueline Mugo, Executive Director and CEO, Federation of Kenya Employers, who doubles up as a NEA Board Member.
“Getting the employers and job seekers to connect goes a long way in helping reduce the job search period for jobseekers. It also gives the employers the opportunity to know the quality of skills and talents available to them, thus I truly commend NEA for organizing this landmark event” said Ms. Mugo while addressing the delegates.
Ms Mugo stated that FKE as an employer’s membership body, stands for fair labour practice and supports employers in this regard. She emphasized that the Federation acknowledges the significant role of Private Employment Agencies (PEAs) in job and wealth creation, there are challenges in improving recruitment and placement of Kenyans both locally and as migrant workers.
From a research FKE carried out on PEA’s, the following challenges were noted:
- Open markets due to lack of Bilateral Labour Agreements (BLAs). And where there are Bilateral Labour Agreements, Employers including Private Employment Agencies are not involved in their negotiations and formulation.
- Low salaries negotiated by Kenyan governments for the workers. The Government needs to negotiate the best terms( most competitive) for her citizens. We need to learn from the Philippines and other regions which have managed their migrant workers very well. The government need to renegotiate salaries that are comparable already agreed upon with other governments.
- Inadequate capacity in concerned public offices. Too much Reshuffling of government staff leading to poor implementation of agreements. Few labour attachés, for example, (just one) in Saudi Arabia, therefore issues are not solved.
- Short license validity periods which are accompanied by hectic and long accreditation and license renewal processes. We need to improve the Licensing and accreditation process for the agencies.
- Training Institutes carry out bare-minimum trainings that do not prepare workers for the reality of living and working in the migrant countries
The Federation will continue to collaborate with NEA, the Ministry of Labour and COTU(K) to address the identified challenges so as to create decent work for Kenyans. In addition, FKE with the support of ILO Fairway Project will be carrying out capacity-building sessions for Private Employment Agencies. The Kenya Association of Private Employment Agencies (KAPEA) and the Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK) ought to tap in and ensure that all Private Employment Agencies benefit from this initiative.
FKE encourages Private Recruitment Agencies, and their associations, which may not be members of FKE to join FKE so that we can speak in one voice as employers to ensure we change the quality of life for the Kenya Youth.
Click here to Join FKE https://membership.fke-kenya.org/register