The highest paying job in Kenya’s private sector in 2021 were in the extraterritorial organisations and bodies industry, where employees raked in an average of Ksh3,757,013 per year, translating to about Ksh313,084 per month.
This is according to the 2022 Economic Survey published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
This industry includes organisations such as the United Nations and the specialised agencies of the United Nations system, regional bodies, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Customs Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the European Communities and the European Free Trade Association.
Employees in financial and insurance activities came in second, earning an average of Ksh2,082,067 per year (Ksh173,505 per month).
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply workers were third on the list with their annual earnings averaging at Ksh2,077,242 (Ksh173,103 per month).
Workers involved in water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities made the least amount of money by the end of 2021, raking in an average of Ksh294,889 annually (or Ksh24,575 per month).
Notably, workers engaged in the education sector (private), made an average of Ksh1,010,686 in 2021, equating to Ksh84,223 per month.
In the public sector, the survey revealed that workers involved in accommodation and food service activities made the most money in 2021, raking in Ksh2,476,497 (Ksh 206,374 per month).
Second were employees involved in Transportation and Storage, with their annual earnings averaging at Ksh2,111,985 (Ksh175,998 per month).
Workers in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry made the least amount of money in the period in question, bringing in an average of Ksh515,093 at the end of the year (Ksh42,924).
This was still Ksh18,349 more than the lowest income earner in Kenya’s private sector.
For comparison, employees in Kenya’s public education sector made an average of Ksh706,234 by the end of 2021 (Ksh58,852 per month). This was Ksh25,371 less than their counterparts in the private sector.
The 2022 Economic Survey traced the growth in incomes across industries over the last five years revealing the industries that experienced the most growth. How much more or less did employees earn on average in absolute terms between the five years leading to 2021?
Under the private sector, employees in extraterritorial organisations and bodies such as the UN and World Bank came first, earning Ksh593,681 more annually in 2021 as compared to their annual income in 2017.
Other significant increases in annual income over the past five years include;
Employees engaged in real estate activities experienced the least growth in annual earnings over the five-year period. A real estate employee earned just Ksh45,936 more in 2021 that what they made in 2017.
As for the public sector, the industries that recorded the biggest growth in earnings over the last 5 years include:
Notably, the wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry registered a negative growth rate with workers making Ksh1,260,480 on average in 2017, as compared to Ksh1,060,093 in 2021 – a difference of Ksh200,387.
The informal sector covers all small-scale activities that are usually semi organised, unregulated, use low and simple technologies and employ few persons. Majority of the small businesses such as retailers, hawkers and other service providers are in this sector.
The ease of entry and exit into this sector coupled with the use of low level or no technology makes it an easy avenue for employment creation.
The monthly minimum wages in respect of the agricultural industry in 2021 are detailed below. Kindly note that there has been no review of minimum wages since 2018 and therefore no new minimum wages were gazetted in 2021.
The report also revealed the average gazetted monthly basic minimum wages in urban areas. The wages remained the same as in 2020 since there have been no reviews since 2018.
Notably the average monthly basic minimum wages for Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu cities were higher than in all other towns.
The highest earners in the major cities are Cashiers, drivers (heavy commercial vehicle)
salesmen, and driver (commercial vehicle), bringing an average of Ksh30,627 per month. A Grade 1 Artisan also rakes in a similar amount in the cities.
However, in all other towns, the aforementioned positions earned an average of Ksh27,023 per month in 2021.
The lowest paying informal jobs both in the major cities (Ksh13,572 per month) and all other towns (Ksh7,240 per month) were highlighted as General labourer including cleaner, sweeper, gardener, children’s ayah (nanny), house servant, day watchman and messenger.
According to the Economic Survey, the total employment outside small scale agriculture and pastoralist activities stood at 18.3 million persons.
The public sector average earnings rose by 22.0% compared to 33.7% for the private sector.
Wage employment in the modern sector recorded a growth of 6.0% to 2.9 million in 2021. In the year under review (2021), the modern sector created a total of 172,300 jobs.
The number of self-employed and unpaid family workers engaged in the modern sector increased by 4.9% in 2021, compared to a decline of 4.1% recorded in 2020.
The informal sector created 753,800 jobs accounting for 81.4% of the total jobs created outside of small-scale agriculture and pastoralist activities.
The share of private sector employment was 68.3% in 2021, which was slightly higher than the previous year which stood at 67.8%.
In 2021, the private sector recorded a growth of 6.8% in employment levels compared to a decline of 10.0% registered in 2020.
During the review period, the top three industries providing wage employment in the private sector were Manufacturing, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and Wholesale and Retail trade: repair of motor vehicles accounting for 15.8, 14.9 and 12.9% of the total private sector employment, respectively.
There was a turnaround in Accommodation and Food Services which recorded a significant growth of 23.9% compared to a decline of 38.7% registered in 2020.
This was followed by Administrative and Support Service Activities, Education and Arts and Entertainment at 20.8, 16.3 and 15.9%, respectively. Employment in the Accommodation and Food Activities industry has been on a recovery mode from the drastic decline at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The easing of the pandemic restrictions impacted positively on the employment in the industry as well as the bed occupancy rate, hence increasing employment in the sector.
Employment in the public sector increased by 4.3% to 923,100 persons in 2021.
The increase was mainly attributed to recruitment in the civil service for essential services. Public administration and defence; compulsory social security registered the highest growth of 5.9% in 2021.
Other economic activities in the public sector that realised growth in employment were Human health and social work activities, Education and Transportation and Storage which registered growths of 4.9, 4.4 and 4.2%, respectively.