Improved opportunities for graduates

Two years ago I placed small advertisement in the newspaper to fill a secretarial vacancy. Twice after that, the job holders found better jobs, so I had to do it again – a year ago, and also this February. Within a week of each advert, almost twenty applications were received.

Two years ago, almost all applicants were university graduates; for the second ad, about 2/3 who responded were graduates and this time – of the 20 applicants received in the first week, only half were university graduates. Does this mean that there are better opportunities for graduates? Or they feel better about their prospects that they won’t accept an entry-level job these days. Good times and more opportunities I hope for them

The results of this were a quick experiment. But a caution here; if you apply to a job at high profile company, it may take up to two months (or never) to be called in for an interview or sent a regret e-mail.

from the daily papers

African development bank (ADB) (Nairobi): Macroeconomist, agriculture expert, infrastructure specialist, procurement assistant, disbursement assistant, IT & telecommunications assistant, administrative & financial assistant. Apply to the resident representative, Kenya country office 4861-00200 Nairobi

Alliance for a green revolution in Africa (AGRA) [ supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates and Rockefeller foundations]: – which will be headquartered in Nairobi, and program operations will be implemented by a supporting organization – program for a green revolution Africa (ProGRA) – also to be based in Nairobi
Executive director, evaluation & learning officer, program officer(for education & training for crop improvement), director for strategy & learning, program officer (for crop genetic improvement & farmer variety adoption), program officer for (agro-dealer development) [2 positions], policy officer, communications officer, program officer (financing seed production systems) apply through KPMG Kenya at by 23/3

Software developers at credit reference bureau Africa (CRB Africa) . Apply online by 31/3

Senior program officer Kenya at DFID. Apply through adept systems by 14/3

Kenya Anti Corruption Commission: Accountant, forensic investigator III (tax expert), forensic investigator III (audit expert). Apply to the director 61130-00200 by 16/3
Related – the Kenya Revenue Authority is hiring detector dog instructors and detector dog handlers. D/L is 23/3

Nairobi Java House limited: general manager, coffee division manager, and HR manager. Apply to by 14/3

Safaricom: Simu Ya Jamii Area Manager, Simu Ya Jamii Administrator, Network Monitoring Centre (Nmc) Shift Technician, Senior Tax Accountant, Principal ERP Developer, Principal Business Analyst, Data Services Planning Technician, NMC SSS Senior Engineer-OM Senior CRM System Developer. Apply online

Serena hotels: marketing manager, e-Commerce Manager, sales executive, IS Manager (Kigali) and sous chefs. Apply though Hawkins associates – by 14/3

other bits of news

advertising Capital FM (98.4) are for the second year running their Image plus promotion that offers medium size companies 120 30 second radio advertisements over the course of one year for about 1.4 million shillings – inclusive of production costs.

affirmative action: In public procurement & disposal, preference will be given to local contractors & suppliers exclusively for goods/supply contracts of less than 50 million shillings ($710,000)shillings and Kshs. 200 million ($2.85 million) for works procurement.
– Bidders will also enjoy a margin of preference of 15% if supplies used are sourced in Kenya
– Bidders will also enjoy a margin of preference of 6% where local shareholding is less than 20% and 5% for shareholding between 20% and 50%

aviation tourism revival continues with airline licenses renewed for air Italy, Neos, Livingston, (Italy – Mombasa / Zanzibar), Fischer (Poland – Mombasa), Malav (Hungary – Mombasa), and Edelweiss (Switzerland – Mombasa)

coffee: An expo will be held on March 8th at Serena – facilitated by the export promotion council

housing: the government will put up 400 mixed housing units in Mlolongo – Athi river Kenya slum upgrading network in conjunction with UN Habitat (Mavoko for middle and low income housing)

investor seminar: Strathmore University – SIFE Team will hold an investment conference dubbed Smart NSE Investments 2007 on Saturday, 3rd March 2007 from 8:30am – 4pm at the university auditorium. Charges are KSh.100 (Exclusive of Lunch)

media training: The 5th Eastern Africa Media Training conducted the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) will take place in Nairobi between March 14 – 16

security: serious stuff on the Somalia Coast where another ship (MV Rozen) was hijacked by pirates this week
– Kenya to buy patrol boats to secure the waters of Kenya and the port of Mombasa
– (kizingiti, siyu, mokowe, kiwayu) patrol bases in Lamu have been upgraded to be police stations

16 thoughts on “Improved opportunities for graduates

  1. Jakarumba

    Banks, the labour market is flooded with graduates and most blue chip employers have made it clear that they employ graduates only e.g Safaricom.

    I remember sometime last year Steadman did research on remuneration vs qualifications and it was forund that non-graduates (professional certificate holders-CPA, ACCA, CIPS etc) are better paid than graduates. Question; does that mean that most Kenyan Blue Chips are under paying their staff?

    Former CBK Governor Micah Cheserem (himself a nongraduate) has on several occassions stated that any highschool candidate who scores a mean grade of C+ and above should qualify for university admission (now its raised from B+ to A-).

  2. propaganda

    Non-graduates have a four- to five- year career headstart over (public university) graduates because they enter the job market earlier.

    In most companies, for most jobs, qualifications become less important as the years go by. If a guy has street smarts or people smarts, there is no reason why he can’t stay ahead of his agemates throughout his career.

    Private university graduates also have similar advantages: A classmate who ‘plugged’ high school can pay for a shorter course abroad and get into a career in time to be your boss. Our education system (8-4-‘4’) is all about keeping people out of the workforce for as long as possible, making this a significant anomaly.

  3. pesa tu

    people/street smarts trump over ‘papers ‘ anytime.Its ironic that it took me a bachelors degree+post Grad to realise that.
    However, i wouldn’t have gotten here without the papers

  4. toiyoi

    High education helps, but at the end of the day, drive and wits and “who you are are what matters”

    Most success biz guys, esp in new field of information, are not/or abandoned their higher education pursuits.

    I wish more parents told their kids that while schooling is great, one WILL still be able to make it if they have enough drive and desire to.

  5. toiyoi

    Banks, Once more
    After the false Musyoka website saga (which some poop head the standard though was a case of hacking) i did a search and found these sites that, to say, the least, interesting.

    Who knows something?

  6. Mitzy

    Kenya Revenue Authority – its about time they hired more people for their K-9/sniffer dog unit. The drug smuggling issue at JKIA was getting out of hand.

    I know a lot of people that have sent their CVs after seeing job ads in the paper, out of those, only 2 said they got a call back, and that was about 3 months later. Probably more graduates have wised up and have faith in finding out where jobs are through friends/associates rather than from the papers. Many companies/organizations hiring do not advertise publicly.

  7. bankelele

    Jakarumba: As you say there are too many graduates. I think blue chip’s use that to knock off 1/2 hundreds of people (non-grads) who apply for each job they advertise
    – the Uni cut off is about lack of available space

    propaganda: The lucky kids who got their great KCSE results this week will not enter university till mid-2008. If one has the money they can go overeas of enrol in a parallel program this year and get a headstart

    toiyoi & pesa tu: True, but it is harder to get a chance to show your street smarts to a potential employer.
    – election year brings out fake website and new tabloids to sling mud

    Mitzy: You can imagine how many applications safaricom or KQ receive if they advertise for a marketing job! Much easier not to advertise. cheaper and you can fill a job faster – but it’s not transparent or fair

  8. Odegle

    i have had this argument before with a friend of mine. and we concluded that education in itself is an end not a means. training is a means. to perform well in job you need training and coaching not realy education. thats why once you graduate with an MBA you are still taken to seminars which cost upwards of 40K a day. for an MBA you probably pay 13K per semester for a course.

    i normally ask myself whether i needed to study geography, cre,social ethics, history,french etc to be able to handle the job i do today. and i tell myself no did not!

  9. Joshua

    jakarumba et. al. by the way what are the salary scales in kenya, say for a consultant in ICT or a job such as the one advitised by Safaricom (Manager). I think I have been out there too long and do not even know how much I’m worth if I were to find a job in Kenya. All I know is how much MPs earn for the lousy representation they offer their constituents in parliament

  10. Ig-know-rant

    This reminds of a conversation/altercation I had once with a former boss that was ocassioned by my resignation. To follow the story, the guy was not a graduate. So when I told him that his enterprise was stiffling scholarship(post graduate studies) among other things, the guy retorted that no one required a post graduate degree to work for him. In return, I told him that in fact no one required a degree to work there. He literary turned red.

  11. ke

    I was having this discussion about education with someone the other day and we concluded that what a country needs to emphasize is science education — it’s the reason countries like India and China are succeeding today (they’ve really focused on producing highly skilled scientists and engineers)

    Kenya has to do this at some point if it hopes to develop: provide free tuition to promising high school students going into the sciences, pay professors in fields like engineering more money than you would an English professor (so they don’t run away to Botswana in search of more money)

    What a liberal arts education does is turn you into a more refined and sophisticated person by exposing you to books and thought and reason. This is good for democracy because you want an informed and rational electorate that can think for themselves (remember the genocide in Rwanda? — that country has very high rates of illiteracy. I think 80% of the population is illiterate) The reason kenya has not descended into chaos is because of it’s high literacy rates.

    In fact, before Moi screwed everything up, Kenya had one of the highest literacy rates in Africa and one of the best education systems on the continent. One could argue that education is what saved Kenya from going the way of Rwanda or Somalia. So, in a broad sense, education is good for society as a whole, but it’s not going to necessarily turn everyone who has it into a billionaire.

  12. Jakarumba

    Joshua, I’m not conversant with salary scales as such, though PWC Kenya and one other headhunting firm have the information for sale. Talking of one’s worth, sometimes its good to check with a consultant it helps one know if the employer is underpaying. Incase you use MPs scales as a benchmark then am sure you are underpaid wherever you are.

  13. Emerging Africa Capital

    haven’t been an avid reader of the monthly mag (Business Post)until they did me an interview for the next issue.And after going thro a previous issue, I must say, You have a nice outlook on the Kenyan economy in the year of elections… and indeed true to every prediction.

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