More youths are taking up online work as an alternative to mainstream employment in Kenya. According to a report from the National Study on Digital and Digitally Enabled Work in Kenya released by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) yesterday, at least 1.2 million Kenyans are working online.
Digital marketers make up the majority of online workers at 461,523, followed by academic writers at 266,402, and website article writers at 168,022. Transcribers are about 141,021. Software developers account for 76,921 and data scientists 64,100 of the advanced skilled set working online in the country.
The survey which was commissioned by the Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology show that online workers earn an average of Sh20,773 per month. A survey conducted by Tifa Research on 1,526 respondents revealed that the average hourly pay for online work was Sh2,001. Per project, the respondents were earning an average of Sh7,110.
The survey follows an expose by international media showing how unemployed youth in Kenya are aiding in academic theft for students based in Western countries.
ICT cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru, who spoke at the event said the Ajira Digital Programme has created opportunities for unemployed skilled youth.
“A key component in doing this work was the provision of the necessary tools such as training, and mentorship needed for the youth to work and earn an income with dignity,” Mucheru said.
Mucheru said the survey findings demonstrate the impact that the Ajira digital program had created in helping the youth get jobs.
An example of the opportunities created by the program includes the partnership between the Ministry of ICT and the Judiciary that has seen 61 courts, 183 court stations, and 7 tribunals digitized.
As a result, the youth now have access to job opportunities in data entry, scanning, and transcription of documents in 183 court stations and 7 tribunals.
“69,407 legal transcripts have been submitted to the judiciary in addition to over 10,596.46 transcribed audio hours and 169,844 case files input in the CaseTracking System.
The Ajira Digital program has 50 official partners and 35 partners through linkage, allowing 37,851 youth access to online work on more than 56 digital platforms.
“At least 79 percent of adult Kenyans nationally said they highly approve of the Ajira Digital Programme, which shows that we are well on the way towards achieving the country’s objective of creating a globally competitive knowledge-based middle-income economy”, Kepsa chief Carole Kariuki said.
The study showed that 31 percent of people who had taken up online jobs prefer it largely because of the lack of formal job opportunities. Flexibility, convenience, and ability to work part-time also play a role in the high uptake of the jobs.
Among the challenges cited in the survey include lack of internet access, cyberbullying, high costs of internet, family and cultural barriers, low internet usage skills and competition with international, more experienced workers.
Other online jobs in the report include virtual assistants, coding, online research and surveys, coding, and data science activities.