Kenya: More young people now creating jobs, "Management Magazine"

Nairobi, Kenya – Kenya’s burgeoning economy is creating new and untapped opportunities across many sectors.  American President's Barack Obama’s recent visit to the East African country may have attracted the world’s attention to the opportunities in the region. However, a dramatic transformation has long been taking place in what is the one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Local start-ups are becoming major players; international firms and investors are moving into the country’s tech-hubs, setting Kenya on the way to becoming an economic powerhouse. With this new growth come new job opportunities and career paths.

This unprecedented rate of urbanisation continues to lure young job seekers away from semi-skilled and casual labour, into the cities and towns in search of work in the region’s nascent formal sectors. Outside the region, more and more members of the global East African diaspora are ready to come back home and contribute to their homeland’s development.

Young entrepreneurs
It is a very encouraging sign that more and younger people are launching entrepreneurial ventures after graduating from college, nurtured by a slew of new start-up incubators and investments across multiple sectors, and supported by both local and foreign investment.

Although the exodus from East Africa and the “start-up” business phenomenon may both have initially been created by job scarcity, it is clear that the paradigm has now shifted. There are increasingly  more opportunities for people who are driven by innovation and the desire to create jobs and pursue their passions, while soaring high and making an impact.

The emerging sectors and industries are seeking specialised and unique talent who will thrive on the rapidly changing business scene. These booming industries demand fresh ideas from young professionals to consolidate their market share. Among Kenya’s emerging professions, the following industries stand out in particular:

Information and Communications Technology
The thriving ICT and Telecommunications sector continues to expand as the Kenyan government positions the country as East Africa’s ICT hub. ICT entrepreneurs are creating employment opportunities in electronic Banking and other value added services across multiple electronic platforms. Kenya’s rapidly growing mobile penetration rate continues to open up opportunities across many sectors.

Financial Services
The push for retail banking is creating a broad range of new positions at different levels, and investment banking is also picking up rapidly. We are seeing the launch of more private equity and fund management entities. The setup of these organizations requires skills and experience from more proficient markets, and this has been a strong factor in enticing East African expatriate talent back home.

“There are increasingly more opportunities for people who are driven by innovation and the desire to create jobs and pursue their passions, while soaring high and making an impact.”

Increased investment in the Renewable Energy and in Oil and Gas Exploration sectors is fuelling job growth, including specialized roles such as project management. It is encouraging to note that talented women are showing interest in joining what was once considered an off-limits sector.

Increased expenditure on Infrastructure has stimulated interest from local and foreign investors. Development partners often incorporate talent requirements into their project plans.

In recent years, we’ve noticed that the Executive Search industry has changed dramatically. We are shifting the focus away from finding very specialist industry talent and functional skills to finding future leaders, regardless of sector or industry. Companies are starting to realise that they must hire based on their future business aspirations as well as their current vacancies. This is certainly the case in Kenya, and to an increasing degree across the wider East Africa region. These vacancies will create a wide array of opportunities for individuals who will make a real difference in the future.

Sheila Mwihia is the Country Manager for Kenya and is responsible for East Africa for Pedersen & Partners. She brings over fifteen years of experience in human resource management and high level Executive Search; close to eight of those years were gained at PricewaterhouseCoopers where she was involved in diverse assignments with senior level responsibilities across the public as well as the private sector and prior was a practicing human resource management expert within the service industry.

Pedersen & Partners is a leading international Executive Search firm. We operate 55 wholly owned offices in 51 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia & the Americas. Our values Trust, Relationship and Professionalism apply to our interaction with clients as well as executives. More information about Pedersen & Partners is available at

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