Document Type



East African Institute


The aim of this study was to generate evidence to support reliable assessment of the skills and competences possessed by youth in entry-level jobs (the supply), and the skills and competences needed by employers (the demand).

The study was conducted in 24 counties, which are home to over 85 % of Kenya’s formal sector business establishments1. Fifteen sectors, comprising agriculture, wholesale & retail, construction, health and ICT, which account for 90 % of jobs in both formal and informal sector, were included in the survey. A total of 9,355 interviews were conducted; 6,362 employed youth and 693 self-employed youth aged between 18 and 30 years both in the formal and informal sector, and 2,300 employers from formal and informal sectors.

The study revealed that Kenya’s labour markets are shaped by the dominance of sectors such as wholesale and retail, food and accommodation services and transport, which account for most jobs created in the economy. Consequently, it appears that there is less demand for hard, technical skills compared to skills such as marketing and sales and entrepreneurship.

The study finds that there is very little collaboration or coordination between employers and training/skills development institutions. Hence, according to employers, most of the youth hired at entry-level lack relevant skills and competences needed for the work place.

Underlying trends in retail and wholesale, transportation, food and accommodation will continue to shape skills requirements into the future. Hence, rapid expansion of technical and vocational training must respond accordingly, with programs in sales, customer service, purchasing, marketing/branding. Moreover, there is need to strengthen training and capacity in key professional areas that are critical to enhancing the productivity and efficiency of these sectors. These include: accountancy; finance; human resources; supply chain management and data analytics.

However, the conundrum is that we must build the human capital, for what we project will be the future economy; one fueled by vision 2030 – newly industrializing middle-income country and what will define the future of work – the 4th Industrial Revolution, where robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are transforming businesses, leisure and work.


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