Job seekers suffered the most during the protracted electioneering period as companies sharply cut back on hiring.
Kenyan-based online search website BrighterMonday recorded a 17 per cent drop in new job advertisements in August and another 29 per cent dip in October.
During the March 2013 General Election, the site recorded 7.2 per cent drop in job postings.
The site recorded 1,531 job postings in August from the 1,857 in July. The repeat presidential elections in October saw postings decline further to 1,190.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) does not publish unemployment figures, making it difficult to track the extent of joblessness in the country.
BrighterMonday chief executive Emmanuel Mutuma on Monday said data from the portal showed that the period had been the toughest for job seekers in the country.
“There was a drastic 17 per cent drop in job opportunities during the August polls as compared to an average of the three previous months. There was an immediate recovery in September where a 10 per cent increase in opportunities followed by another sharp 29 per cent drop in October when Kenya was conducting its repeat polls,” he said.
BrighterMonday’s main competitors in the industry include Linkedin, Best Jobs Kenya and New Jobs Kenya.
According to a job market survey report by BrighterMonday and research firm Trends & Insights for Africa (Tifa) Research, the past one year has been difficult for job seekers and employers in Kenya.
The survey showed that those actively looking for jobs fall into three categories including unemployed (53 per cent), employed but looking to exit current job (41 per cent) and the self-employed (six per cent).
The report shows 80 per cent of employed job seekers intend to leave their current jobs within the next one year either due to personal or professional reasons.
This was blamed for the 27 per cent employee engagement index meaning that though employed, the lot are not absorbed by or enthusiastic about their work.
Tifa chief executive Maggie Ireri noted that the challenge with the Kenyan job seekers is that they are highly educated but not multi-skilled.
“It is becoming critical for Kenyan job seekers to become trained and competent in multiple skill-sets which may or may not be part of their actual job description,” she said.
The online survey conducted in September sampled 1,078 respondents that fall within the 18 to 34 years age bracket.
Mr Mutuma said end of political campaigns has signified a more stable environment in the job market as evidenced by a 52 per cent increase in job postings in November.
The country’s unemployment crisis has been worsened in the year by layoffs in the banking, manufacturing, insurance, IT and media industries.
Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) noted that several factors ganged up to make it very hard for companies to retain the people they have or even review their terms.
Interestingly, the survey revealed that less than 50 per cent of the respondents have received a pay rise in the last one year.
Salary reviews are used by employers to enable employees adjust to the cost of living and which in Kenya are usually linked to inflation.
Although the 12-month average inflation in the country currently stands at 8.04 per cent, the salary increase for a majority of those employed is below five per cent. Less than a third of the respondents received a pay rise between 6-10 per cent.
The poll established that the last one year has been challenging for job seekers with a large proportion of qualified Kenyans having actively been seeking for jobs.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in nation