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Industries where State employees earn more than private sector staff

By Patrick Alushula | May 10th 2016

Government workers in water supply, sewerage, accommodation and food services earn three times more than their colleagues in private firms.

According to the latest economic data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Government workers in accommodation and food services take home an average of Sh105,253 per month.

For the same job in the private sector, a worker takes home an average of Sh32,312.

This means Government employees in State-owned lodges, school and hospital cafeterias, and restaurants earn three-and-a-quarter times more than those in private-owned enterprises.

Comparing 2014 to 2015, the survey shows earnings of public sector workers in accommodation and food services increased 12.1 per cent against a 7.3 per cent rise in the private sector.

However, Government employees in this sector are much fewer at 1,400 compared to those in the private sector, who are 74,700.

A similar earnings discrepancy exists in water supply, waste management and remediation activities. While those in the public sector take home an average of Sh51,267 a month, those in private companies earn Sh16,761.

The difference would have been even larger had the average annual earnings of Government employees in these sectors not been reduced by 6.6 per cent to Sh615,198 last year from Sh658,438 in 2014.

For those in the private sector, earnings improved by 14.1 per cent to Sh201,136 a year. In 2014, they used to earn Sh176,322, which was about a quarter what their fellow workers in the Government were pocketing at the time.

Manufacturing workers engaged by the Government are also twice better off in earnings than those in private firms. The former earns an average of Sh68,613 per month against private sector earnings of Sh32,533.


The survey shows the discrepancy persists in tasks such as the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, with a Government mechanic earning an average of Sh40,791 more a month than a private sector mechanic.

However, the average monthly earnings of such workers in the private sector have improved by 9.3 per cent to Sh47,299, while those in public service saw increments of 3.8 per cent to Sh88,090.

In the few cases where private sector employees earn more than public servants, the discrepancy is not as large as that in sectors where the Government pays more.

For instance, in education, a teacher at a private school earns an average of Sh885, 101 a year against a Government employee’s Sh558,580. This means, on average, a private school teacher earns Sh27,210 more a month.

In mining and quarrying, workers in private firms earn just Sh2,266 more than those in the Government’s employ.

Other private sector jobs that pay slightly higher than the public sector include those in information and communications, electricity, and scientific and technical activities.

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