The Kenyan job market is undergoing major changes amid the automation and digitization of various sectors of the economy that have resulted in redundancies in various sectors.
According to the World Bank, 5.7% of the Kenyan population is unemployed, while millions more are underemployed. As leading economies stare at a recession, and international markets have been grossly disrupted by the shocks of the pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine - it is an important point to reflect on the most lucrative jobs and careers in Kenya.
Doctors and healthcare professionals play a critical role in society - investing years of knowledge searching to understand the human body and make life-saving interventions when needed.
Apart from the intensive training required to become a medical doctor, these professionals require regular training and studying the latest medical trends to become effective in their work.
In Kenya, a medical doctor requires a bachelor’s degree in medicine, which takes six academic years. They are then required to take a residency (medical internship) for a year which qualifies them to become junior doctors. Specialization may take up to ten years, depending on the field of specialization.
In the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between doctors and the county governors, junior doctors working for county hospitals are entitled to a monthly salary of Ksh189,910 while in their medical internship. Senior doctors earn up to Ksh460,660.
Consultant specialist doctors who run their own practices earn up to Ksh40,000 an hour, depending on the complexity of the cases.
As the economy continues to embrace the perks of digitization Artificial Intelligence and other developments in technology, developers have become highly sought after and are paid highly for their rare skills.
Developers are professionals of various backgrounds who can feed instructions that are understood and acted upon by machines such as robots, computers, or phones.
They also build software synch as computer games, mobile apps, web browsers or any other computer-based system. Most developers have a degree in computer science or computer engineering, with additional certification in popular programming languages like Java and Python.
Law is one of the oldest professions in the world. One of the humorous descriptions of the place of lawyers is captured in the play Henry VI written by Shakespeare in 1591. The author remarks that one of the first things a dictator or tyrant ruler must do is to kill all the lawyers.
Lawyers have a critical role to play in society - upholding justice and the rule of law - for which they are paid handsomely.
However, the legal profession is highly competitive and salaries are largely based on the value you deliver to the client or to the law firm. For instance, a review by Money254 found some junior lawyers who start at Ksh20,000 monthly salary while others start at Ksh100,000. A senior lawyer, Donald Kipkoriri, recently made headlines after a court awarded him Ksh1.3 billion in legal fees - the highest legal fees awarded in the country's litigation history.
Engineering is a broad career that involves inventing, designing, analyzing, building, and testing machines, gadgets, structures, and complex systems to fulfill functional objectives.
Some of the subcategories include civil engineers who mainly deal with building structures; road engineers; mechanical engineers; aeronautical engineers; network engineers; petroleum engineers; among others.
The bottom line is that as the world is advancing - nearly every field is in need of professionals who can design and build complex systems such as roads, buildings, dams, computer networks, data management infrastructure, and military equipment, among others.
Thus, engineers are highly sought after in Kenya - and are paid handsomely given the limited supply of such professionals. As of 2019, Kenya had 13,178 registered graduate engineers in Kenya and 2,046 professionally registered engineers under the Engineers Board of Kenya.
The starting salary for a graduate engineer is about Ksh50,000 per month - although the figure varies depending on the specialization.
A quantity surveyor is a professional with expert knowledge of construction requirements including cost and regulations involved in construction, the costs of each item, projections on time needed to complete projects, etc.
The real estate boom has increased demand for quantity surveyors, which has been complemented by major infrastructure developments in the building of roads, dams, electricity connections, etc.
Although a bachelor’s degree in quantity surveying takes four years to complete, there is a relatively low number of graduates in Kenya - which contributes to their lucrative salaries.
According to the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors (BORAQS), there are currently 663 accredited quantity surveyors. A total of 820 such professionals have been accredited in the entire history of the board.
The starting salaries average Ksh80,000 per month - with numerous allowances for the delivery of services.
A financial analyst is a professional who analyses business data to identify opportunities, evaluate outcomes for business decisions, and use it to make investment recommendations.
Financial analysts are highly sought after in the business world - including in leading companies in Kenya.
To become a financial analyst, a bachelor’s degree is a typical requirement - usually in Finance, Maths, and actuarial science. Post-graduate certifications from the US-based CFA institute are also important professional qualifications for FAs.
Due to the sensitive and critical nature of their work, and the amount of dedication needed to perform effectively, they are handsomely compensated. The monthly salary for a junior FA averages Ksh100,000.
Architects play a critical role n the construction industry, which as indicated - has witnessed a decade-long boom in Kenya. Architects develop designs for new construction projects, alterations, and redevelopments. They are trained to have thorough construction knowledge and high-level drawing skills to design buildings that have a great aesthetic appearance, are functional, safe, and environmentally sustainable.
To qualify as an Architect, the minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree in Architecture which takes six years. According to the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors (BORAQS), there are currently 1,042 accredited architects.
The critical role played by architects, coupled with the short supply of these skills, makes it one of the most lucrative jobs in Kenya and globally. A starting salary for an Architect averages Ksh120,000 per month.
Auditors are trained accountants who specialise in the field of financial auditing. Auditors are professionals who inspect accounting books, financial statements, tax, and legal compliance, and assess financial risk or fraud. They may also make professional recommendations on changes needed in an organization’s internal performance structures.
Auditors typically train as accountants and are Certified Public Accountants through the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (KASNEB) or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
The nature of an auditor’s work is that it is often sensitive and in some cases risky. For this trouble, they are remunerated handsomely both in the public and the private sectors. In Kenya, the average starting salary for an auditor is Ksh50,000 per month.
An actuary is a professional who uses mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk of potential events or phenomena. They also use these analyses to calculate the financial cost of certain risks.
This service is typically needed in the insurance company - but other sectors of the economy include banks, investment firms, hospitals, etc.
The profession requires a high level of specialization including a bachelor’s degree in actual science and a certification from the U.K. Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFOA). As of 2017, there were only 46 certified actuaries in East Africa - all being Kenyans.
This acute shortage of supply amid high demand for these skills pushes their salaries significantly - many running consultant firms rather working as permanent employees in one organisation.
Construction management is a relatively new career that combines technical knowledge of the requirements of construction - and the business and management aspects involved.
Construction managers serve as a bridge between the various professionals involved in the project - the client, the civil engineer, the architect, the construction workers, and the quantity surveyors.
The construction manager also keeps track of daily progress on the construction site, the budgets needed and utilised in every step, as well as compliance with the laws and regulations (licenses, permits, etc).
Construction managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in Building and Construction Management - and additional specialisation courses in project management. The demand for these professionals is high in Kenya - with starting salaries of up to Ksh50,000 per month - for junior professionals. Senior professionals typically earn a commission on the whole project cost.