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Firms cut hiring as virus eats revenue

By Peter Theuri | July 28th 2020 at 18:02:20 GMT +0300

Young black female student looking in the newspaper for a job.

As companies continue to suffer damaging effects of Covid-19, jobs advertised have tanked by 58 per cent since the first case was announced in March, according to a recent report by recruitment firm BrighterMonday.

But while some sectors were almost completely decimated by the virus, others reaped off the misfortune, seeing their profits increase significantly.

Building and architecture were cited as the biggest losers, with the report putting the reduction of activity in the sector at an alarming 75 per cent.

Hospitality, leisure and travel, suffering due to the ban on travel, inside dining and mass gathering, saw a 47.75 per cent decline in activity.

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Job opportunities in project and product management reduced by 37.44 per cent while community and social services were also reported to have lost by 36.84 per cent.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the employment sector hard across the world with job losses being recorded in millions. The Kenyan job market has not been spared by the scourge," said BrighterMonday Kenya Chief Executive Emmanuel Mutuma.

"There has been a drop in the number of jobs advertised on BrighterMonday and other job aggregators as Covid-19 took hold and lockdown measures were implemented.”

Health and safety sectors were the biggest gainers, at 700 per cent of job growth in the period. This was as health concerns increased with the onset of the pandemic.

Trade and services (327.78 per cent), agriculture and farming (170 per cent), real estate and property management (125 per cent) and quality control and assurance (113.73 per cent) also saw a major hike in the number of jobs advertised.

Samuel Nyandemo, a University of Nairobi economics lecturer, says that firms are facing financial distress as a result of which it would be untenable to consider hiring. Instead, it is time to fire.

“These statistics are a reflection of what is happening in the business world. Covid-19 has disrupted workplaces, and white-collar jobs are suffering," he told The Standard.

"As a result of losses, companies are looking to do away with the workforce that could be deemed excess. They will be sticking to the bare minimum for the foreseeable future.”

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