What did you want to become while growing up?
This is a common conversation that adults often have as they reminisce about their childhood dreams. Some people eventually become professionals in the same careers they desired as kids, while others find joy in other careers that may not have been featured while they were young.
The salary is likely to be a reason for desiring a certain job - and it is rather human to want to get good compensation. However, certain jobs will hardly feature in the list of dream jobs - even though some offer highly competitive compensation.
Here are five jobs that are often shunned in Kenya despite offering decent compensation.
Sewage exhauster operators play an important role in our lives. If you have a blocked sewerage system or a full septic tank, you need their services to maintain a clean environment around you. Exhauster operators are a necessity, especially in urban areas where nearly everyone who goes to a restroom will, at some point, need the septic to be cleared.
Despite its necessity, it is not the easiest of jobs. Exhauster operators will constantly touch sewage, sludge, grease traps, and sewer lines. In other words, the daily work experiences for these professionals would probably not be ideal for a dinner conversation.
For their bold work, they are compensated rather well. A quotation seen by Money254 indicated that an hour’s work costs an average of Ksh13,000 to drain a 10,000-litre tank. Some of the factors that lead to the handsome compensation include the low supply for this kind of labour - for obvious reasons, the low-level entry levels and the necessity of the service - by the time you need them you have little time to negotiate a discount.
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Garbage collection is another critical service that affects the hygiene of our environment. According to the World Bank, Nairobi alone produces 2400 tonnes of waste daily. Like all other major towns in Kenya, the public garbage collection system has not successfully managed this waste. The proper management of waste by the state has created room for private companies that collect garbage on behalf of residents or business premises.
Most estates and apartments charge a monthly fee of between Ksh200 and Ksh400 per household. The figures add up to substantial amounts given that one company could be in charge of a whole ward - some serving over 10,000 households.
The waste industry, however, does not stop at the collection. In Nairobi, for instance, out of the 2400 tonnes of waste collected everyday - 45 percent of it is recycled. The recycling and reuse sector largely operates informally - but international stakeholders have put in resources to mainstream waste management. In July this year, a Kariobangi-based start-up, Chemolex Limited, won a Ksh10 million award in the Afri-Plastics Challenge held in London. The company uses a community-based and innovative approach to waste management.
Another Community Based Organisation based in Watamu received Ksh7.2 million boost from a multinational for collecting and managing waste in the Indian Ocean. Multiple other firms have received generous funding from environmental stakeholders who seek to support organisations that use innovation to manage waste and make the world cleaner.
Garbage collection jobs range from no-technical skills needed - to advanced education levels and specialised training for such tasks as recycling.
The global economy is still struggling from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic and various civil wars around the world. Kenyans have not been spared from the biting economic effects - even as experts predict a global recession in the coming months.
The tough economic times have resulted in more Kenyans struggling with paying their bills and loans. However, asking for money from someone who is already struggling is not an easy task. Thus, third parties are often contracted by real estate agents, hospitals, banks, landlords, and other institutions to pursue debtors.
It is not a surprise that many of the debt-collection firms are primarily in the security business. Apart from the security risks they face in the line of duty, debt collectors often have to balance their emotions as they face sad stories of struggling debtors - knowing full well they still have to do their job. Debt collection requires no formal training - although specific firms will have some form of induction on how to go about it. Many of them will also insist on a diploma or degree in any field.
A spot check by Money254 found that most formal debt collectors in Nairobi have a starting salary of Ksh40,000 - with commissions based on the amount you recover.
Exterminators offer a niche service in dealing with some of the critters that make us uncomfortable. Whether at home or in the office, there is the likelihood of a stubborn pest invading your space - even when you try to keep the best hygiene standards.
For instance, an office will have numerous visitors, and some critters like bedbugs, roaches, and rodents can become a nuisance. At home, the creatures may come from a nearby bush or from a not-so-keen neighbour. Public transport companies, hotels and rental homes will also have to constantly get fumigation to have the critters removed. The people who confront these not-so-friendly pests are the exterminators. Whether it's a rat-infested building or a bat stuck in your ceiling or bedbugs after using some public transport vehicle - these people are always at hand to make our lives easier. Numerous diseases have been linked to pests, such as mosquitoes which demonstrated the important value this profession plays in our lives.
The job often involves using specific chemicals - some of which cost a fortune. For their sacrifice, pest control experts are handsomely compensated. According to Lab & Lice CEO Mwiti Murithi, most jobs in the industry are paid on a contract basis. A simple fumigation job in a residential house can fetch Ksh3,000 in just a few hours. The more complex services - such as cleaning an entire hotel, pay as high as Ksh20,000 for a day’s work.
Murithi notes that exterminators require some advanced training in the use of chemicals - preferably a diploma in a Biochemistry or public-health-related course.
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Losing a loved one is one of the greatest fears that we face as human beings. Although we are mortal, such occurrences can be devastating. This is particularly due to the nature of arrangements that the deceased's family and friends have to make - while at their lowest point. The funeral services industry has emerged as a dependable sector where many of these difficult tasks are made at a fee.
Among the professionals in this industry include hearse operators, morticians, casket providers, embalmers, and cosmetologists, among others. Some of these professions require low-level training while others - such as embalmers require advanced training and specialisation.
However, these jobs pay well - partly because there is a limited supply for the position. A hearse operator will fetch upto Ksh3,000 a day - with the compensation increasing depending on the amount of skill required up the ladder.
The Kenyan job market is dynamic. There are numerous job opportunities you can pursue in pursuit of financial freedom. Like every market, the job market is affected by forces of supply and demand. One man’s difficult job is another man’s easy job. If you are able and passionate about providing a critical service, there may be some good compensation for you - not just in a fat paycheck - but also with the satisfaction that comes with serving fellow mankind.