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Where to get the best paying jobs in Kenya

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The lucrative jobs are in contrast with those where monthly pay is below Sh50,000, including those in water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation.

Multilateral bodies and non-governmental organisations such as the World Bank and the United Nations offer the best-paying jobs with dominant sectors like real estate and agriculture among the least rewarding.

Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data released Monday showed extraterritorial organisations and bodies such as the UN were last year paying workers an average of Sh339,274 per month, making them the highest payers despite seeing one of the slowest jumps (1.6 percent) in pay rise during the period under review.

In the private sector, jobs in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector, were fetching workers an average of Sh202,680 per month, becoming the second highest paying, followed by financial and insurance activities (Sh190,151).

Top three highest paying jobs in the public sector were in accommodation and food service activities (Sh234,698), transport and storage (Sh202,680) and financial and insurance services where workers averaged Sh176,275 a month.

The lucrative jobs are in contrast with those where monthly pay is below Sh50,000, including those in water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation (Sh27,635), real estate activities (Sh29,339), agriculture, forestry and fishing (Sh33,790), accommodation and food services (Sh40,028) and mining and quarrying (Sh45,350).

Job-rich sectors

This means that many of the job-rich sectors such as agriculture, which accounted for 344,300 jobs or 10.97 per cent of the total 3.13 million people in wage employment, were fetching less pay.

Kenya’s economy relies on farming, which contributes more than a fifth of annual economic output, and abundant rains after years of drought helped the sector to recover from contractions in the previous two years.

The sector is also the largest employer and its low wages relative to extraterritorial organisations, which hires a measly 1, 500 workers, has egged on Kenya’s widening income inequality.

About 83,200 people work in financial and insurance services.

The economy last year grew by 5.6 per cent compared with 4.9 per cent in the previous year, powered by a recovery in the agricultural sector, creating 848,100 new jobs even as the economy struggled to create quality formal jobs.

The informal sector, which accounts for more than three quarters of all employment in the country, accounted for 720,900 new openings, helping take the country’s total employment to 19.99 million from 19.14 million previously.

New formal sector jobs

New formal sector jobs stood at 122, 900 up from 109, 300 recorded in 2022, a blow to the more than one million young people who graduate from colleges and secondary schools.

Workers’ search for high paying jobs has become more pressing, given that public and private sector employees collectively, for the past four years, failed to cushion workers from inflation.

Latest data shows real wages—earnings adjusted for inflation, fell 4.1 per cent last year, continuing the trend that started in 2020.

KNBS data also puts jobs in the financial sector, administration, information technology, transport and storage electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning and human health as among those where workers take home at least Sh100,000 a month —an earning that was by end of 2022 enjoyed by just under 372,000 workers or 12.3 per cent of those in wage employment.

Storage activities

Jobs in the public sector’s transport and storage activities and those in private firms in the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector were fetching workers an average of Sh202,680 and 193,834 respectively last year, according to KNBS.

Financial and insurance activities in the private sector, including banking, insurance and fund management were paying workers an average of Sh190,151, a 4.6 per cent rise from the previous year.

Workers engaged in the same activities in the public sector were taking home about Sh176,275 a month, making them the fifth highest earners.

The average pay of workers in administrative and support service activities saw a 4.4 per cent jump in average monthly pay to Sh157,456, making it the sixth highest paying category of jobs.

Public sector workers involved in human health and social work activities, including doctors and nurses, were earning about Sh153,759 a month, compared with those serving in similar roles in the private sector where the pay averaged Sh101,470 in the same period.

Private sector professional, scientific and technical activities such as management consultancy, architecture, law and accounting ranked as the eighth highest with a monthly pay averaging Sh139,718, marking a 6.6 percent growth from the previous year.

Other workers earning monthly pay of at least Sh100,000 include those working in corporations controlled by the government, including parastatals (Sh116,485) and those in private firms in the ICT sector (Sh107,491).