Nakuru County headed for crisis over an ageing workforce

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui (right) receives staff Audit report from Simon Mutinda and Robert Ng'ang'a also from Price WaterHouse Coopers on Thursday. (Kipsang Joseph, Standard)

An audit has warned Nakuru County government of a looming staff crisis due to an ageing workforce.

According to the staff audit report, close to 50 per cent of the 4,830 employees will retire in the next five years.

The audit done by Price Waterhouse Coopers revealed that the aging workforce poses a challenge of skills and a manpower gap. It calls for a robust succession plan, especially for critical roles.

The report was handed to Governor Lee Kinyanjui on Thursday after two months of a rigorous audit exercise that involved biometric headcount of the staff at their work places.

When he took office last year, Kinyanjui ordered the staff audit to establish the number of employees, whether they had been rightfully deployed in regards to their expertise and their work stations and whether there were illegal workers.

“We had to do this audit for us to deliver our pre-election pledges to voters. The right workforce with required qualifications is core to the delivery of services to voters,” he said.

The PWC report further showed that the department of agriculture was the worst hit by ageing employees. 

In the department, 42 per cent of workers are aged over 56, while 32 per cent are between 50 and 55.

Succession plan

“This means that about 75 per cent of staff in this department will be retiring in the next 10 years,” reads the report.

However, it was established that 96 per cent of staff in this department are qualified for the roles they currently occupied.

Kinyanjui said the County Public Service Board would start working on a succession plan and policy to manage the replacement of older staff once they retire, especially in the critical role areas.

“Agriculture is at the core of my transformation agenda. We need to immediately start thinking of how to replace the ageing staff with young professionals who can help us achieve the revival of agriculture in the county,” said the governor.

The age bracket with the highest number of employees is 36-49 years at 38 per cent, says the report.

Partially qualified

In the Health department, 45 per cent of staff are aged between 36 and 49 and 99 per cent are qualified. The remaining one per cent who are partially qualified and work as support staff.

Besides the ageing workforce, the audit revealed that 47.3 per cent of the staff were stationed in urban areas.

The report recommended that they be redeployed to sub-counties with active agriculture needs.

In the Roads department, 64 per cent of employees are aged over 50 and 94 per cent are qualified for their roles. 

Another key issue the audit pointed out was that the disaster management unit does not have enough staff.

A curious finding in the Finance and Economic Planning department was that 50 per cent of staff members hold low cadre positions and the department needs a fair distribution of staff across all levels to be able to deliver on its mandate.

The governor’s office has 22 staff members, with 59 per cent of them aged between 21 and 49 while 41 per cent are aged 50 and above.

About 95 per cent of the staff are qualified for their roles while five per cent are partially qualified.

The audit report failed to account for 23 workers who earn a total of Sh26 million annually from the county.