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2013 looks promising with opportunities for job seekers

WORK LIFE
By Frankline Sunday | January 11th 2013

By Frankline Sunday

Nairobi,Kenya-If you are looking for employment, 2013 could very well be the year that you finally land that dream job.As the country prepares to usher in a new year, the country marks the end of one of the most tumultuous years in the past decade in the labour market.

The country registered a record number of strikes and labour litigations as workers from a variety of industries in both the formal and informal sectors demanded better pay.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates that average wages for workers have been shrinking from Sh393,989 per annum in 2008 to Sh341,584 per annum in 2011.

Negative Energy

While the economy has been said to be resilient in 2012, its ability to create employment has been disappointingly weak.

The labour market creates only 50,000 modern sector jobs per annum against 800,000 people who break into the job market annually.

Workers are thus doing more work for less money while at the same time unemployment keeps on rising, hence the rise in cases of industrial action this year.

However, players in the labour market are optimistic that the negative energy is slowly turning for the better and if the trend in the last quarter of 2012 is anything to go by, 2013 promises to be a good year for the country’s unemployed.

According to Mr David Kimani, the manager of PeopleLink Consultants Ltd, a firm that provides staffing services for Kenyan firms, the last quarter of 2012 has remained robust despite pre-election jitters.

Fill vacancies

“Normally, as we approach the close of the year, companies put a freeze on hiring and there is not much activity in terms of recruitment,” he explains.

This year, however, Mr Kimani was getting calls and listing orders from companies looking to fill vacancies as late as two days before Christmas.

“This was an interesting surprise because not only were we moving to the holidays, which is a slow time for the labour market, but it was expected that pre-election jitters would dampen investment as well as hiring,” Kimani tells JobsCentre.

Some of the common orders from his clients came from the retail and distribution sector where supermarkets and distribution outlets looked to staff their expanding branch networks.

This saw an increase in the demand for sales agents, distributors, and check-out counter sales workers.

 Innovative personnel

The growing ICT sector has also witnessed a healthy buzz as new start-ups as well as multinational companies look for young and innovative personnel to grow their respective businesses.

“Several companies are looking for programmers to develop mobile apps and enterprise management programmes and this week alone we have a request for three programmers,” explains Kimani.

Another industry to watch out for in the coming year is the hospitality sector where the need to staff new hotel chains in major towns has fuelled a demand for trained and qualified personnel.

New business

Kimani says requests for chefs, accountants and mid-level managers are coming in everyday and moving into the new year, the demand is only set to rise.

“The first quarter of the year is always good for the labour market because firms have planned the year before to conduct their recruitment whether it is for an established firm or for a new business,” he says.

With schools opening for the first term in the school year, more opportunities abound for different specialists with different skill sets.

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