According to the survey, all interviewed employees were moreinclined towards working for Google, Oracle, Microsoft, Andela and IBM.

The World Bank, Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya CommercialBank, Equity Bank and Barclays Bank also found their way among top financialinstitutions that employees preferred.

<p><b>A total of 2,060 employees in different established companies participated in the research that sought to provide insights for job seekers.</b></p><p ><b>Some 60 per cent of those interviewed were found to be earning below Sh50,000, which is the amount paid in entry-level jobs.</b></p>

On the list of manufacturing companies, most employees saidthey were more comfortable working for Unilever, Coca-Cola, British AmericanTobacco and Bidco. The others were Google, Kenya Revenue Authority, Centum,Kenya Power, and Unilever.

A total of 2,060 employees in different establishedcompanies participated in the research that sought to provide insights for jobseekers.

Young employees aged between 25 and 34 years, mostly recentgraduates, participated in the research where they accounted for 60 per cent ofall those who were interviewed.

Some 60 per cent of those interviewed were found to beearning below Sh50,000, which is the amount paid in entry-level jobs.

Fifty per cent of interviewed employees were unwilling torecommend their friends and relatives to the companies they were working for, areflection of the level of job dissatisfaction. Only about 23 per cent saidthey would recommend their company to job-seekers.

According to the survey, job security, pay and welfarebenefits were the most important factors for employees. Other preferencesincluded good opportunities to learn and career advancement prospects.

JAMES MWORIA, Centum CEO

“We pay closer attention to the simplest of things at theworkplace that can influence the attitude of employees. Things like provisionof meals. We serve both breakfast and a nice meal for lunch. Most of thecompany’s important issues are discussed over meals in a cafeteria where we allshare work experiences.

“We strive to strengthen our graduate trainee programme eachyear. Last year, we had an 80 per cent retention. Out of the 81 graduates wetook in, only 20 left and we hired the rest. We are putting instructures to take in even a bigger number in the coming years. I believe thisis good for recent graduates and those still in school.

“Our development training is open for on-job as well asthrough sabbaticals for those seeking career progression. We have goodstructures in place that facilitate training.

“Part of what we do to enrich each other in thejob is assigning complex tasks and achieving them through team work.

“This means that to get someone on board, they must provetheir ability to work in a team. One must also have self-drive and such softskills as communication, leadership and critical thinking.

“It is just unfortunate that learning institutions miss theopportunity to inculcate soft skills like self-management and critical thinkingin learners. It is also evident that some learners don’t equip themselves withIT skills, which happen to be a requirement by the industry these days.

“And in line with the new competency-based curriculum,assuming that institutions of higher learning have started testing it, eventhough they are not required to practically teach it, it is important forgraduates to note that we in the industry have also started to test oncompetency.

“Importantly, we are keen on knowing if the graduates canlearn and have the adaptability that comes with it. We will be thrilled to haveengineering graduates who can work at the customer service desk and inaccounting, just by observing other do it.”

SALOME NDERITU – HR Director, Unilever East Africa

“Key to what we do to make the workers lifecomfortable is encouraging open plan offices for better collaboration andcommunication that isn’t hindered by hierarchical requirements. We also allowemployees to work from different locations and take up flexible working hours.We provide special rooms for nursing mothers and allow people we report to workin non-official dress code.

“It is hard to ignore the missing links between academicqualifications and what we are looking for in recentgraduates at Unilever.

“Theoretical outlook of graduates into the practical workingenvironment is always evident when they show up for interviews. Theseare young people who come prepped for the interviews in a manner similar to what theylearn in class, and find it difficult to bend to the particular companyrequirements.

“And there is an obvious need for stronger partnershipsbetween learning institutions and the wider industry to better understand theever-changing skillset requirements. I don’t know who should make the firstmove but the need is hard to ignore.

“It is interesting to note that freshgraduates look out for opportunities for quick vertical growth intheir careers. They want to spend short periods in the various roles beforethey seek career advancements. That is why they arealways looking for such opportunities as career progression,especially outside the country. It is a very admirable trait, especially amongrecent graduates.”

NELSON MUKURIAH, Deputy Commissioner, Human ResourceDepartment, KRA

“KRA has systems in place for staff training and staffwelfare. For wellness and fitness, we have a gym where employees have a perfectunwinding opportunity. This also helps keep them in shape and healthy.

“But much as employees say they are satisfied, they arealways looking for another level of challenge. This is the challengethat most companies grapple with while trying to meet the needs of employees.This is a normal human trait, even explained in the Maslow’s hierarchy ofneeds. But we always try and there is accomplishment in employees seeing themanagement try to achieve their next level of satisfaction.

“And these are the people we like working with. People withthe right attitude above everything else. Apart from the relevantqualifications, a candidate needs to demonstrate a positive attitude andwillingness to learn as well as possess high integrity. KRA upholds high valuesof trust, ethics, competence and usefulness and imprints them in employees. Acandidate should be able to identify with these values as an aspiring employeeof KRA.

“It is unfortunate that graduates these days suffer thenegative outcomes of poor teaching methodologies in school that do not equipthem with the right attitudes and skills. If students are taken throughprogrammes to pass exams, they are sometimes unable to translate the booktheory into practice. It is important for educational institutions to connecttheory to practice to adequately prepare students for the work environment.

“Most companies solve this problem through managementtrainee programmes where a candidate is equipped with knowledge throughtraining. I urge graduates to hunger for these programmes more thanthey look for jobs. It is the only place you can be taken in withyour inefficiencies and curved into something that the industryis looking for.

“And as a recruiter, I must point out one habit portrayed byjob-seekers that really annoys recruiters and dims their chances of gettingconsidered for employment. This is sending out generic CVs and a failureto do some homework on such basic things as the company profile before theyshow up for the interviews.

“However, I must point out their aggressivenessin looking for opportunities and their braveness in standing up for what theybelieve they are worthwhile.”