What are the causes of youth unemployment in Kenya?

Are you wondering what the causes of youth unemployment in Kenya are? Youth unemployment is a worrying trend in Kenya. Kenyan youths are the most affected with the 2020 census report indicating that 38.9% of youths are jobless. 

So who is to blame for the youth unemployment crisis in Kenya? Here are some causes of youth unemployment in Kenya:


Corruption is a major cause of youth unemployment. Corruption cases include; nepotism, bribery, and favoritism during employment. Of all corruption cases in Kenyan courts, 70% are related to procurement, while 20% are related to bribery. 

The elites embezzle funds they should use to develop marginalized areas. Such funds could create facilities like the industrial sectors to create job opportunities. The leaders also squander the Youth Funds meant for boosting young innovators. Young innovators remain unable to create new opportunities.

Skills mismatch

Skills mismatch keeps many youths out of jobs in most parts of Kenya. Most youth school leavers are ready to begin working. But, their skills do not match what employers want. So, there is a difficult transition from school to work. Also, employers fail to find suitable employees due to low skill levels. Firms are unwilling to risk their dynamism by employing less skilled workers. 

Another challenge is  that graduates are not willing to undergo career coaching. Career coaching prepares candidates for work. Seeking employment without prior skills leaves them unacceptable in job openings.

When firms get ready and appropriate skills from candidates, they grow. Some Kenyan firms remain at the same level for years due to skill mismatch. If the firms could grow, there could be more job opportunities for the unemployed youths.

Lack of capital

Most Kenyans can’t access affordable loans due to a lack of collateral. The few institutions that offer loans have high-interest rates. So the youths aren’t able to repay the loans on time.. According to the World Bank, less than 1% of the people who take loans are under 30 years old.

Poverty makes it difficult for most youths to start and run businesses. So, most of them, even those who have graduated from institutions, depend on employment. Thus the job market today is full of young people seeking work. It’s only a few who manage to start and run their businesses.

Poor industrial sector

Kenya is one of the most industrialized countries  in Africa. Yet, it isn’t good enough to create enough jobs for citizens. Many Kenyans have services to offer, but there is no market for those services. 

Most firms produce below the required capacity due to low product demand. Low productivity reduces the possibility of employing new staff. 

Kenyan industries face some operational challenges, yet Kenyan youths count on them. A favorable industrial sector can enable the industry to grow and hire more workers. 

High population growth rate

The Kenyan population is growing, with 500,000 to 800,000 youths joining the job market annually. Still, the Kenyan economy has not been able to occupy all the job demands for both formal and informal jobs. The older generation has benefited more from economic progress than the youthful generation.

The high population growth rate has made many Kenyans move to urban centers to search for jobs. Such movement aggravates job opportunities in towns. Some youths have an excellent chance of practicing farming in rural areas. They, yet, end up in cities and suffer while attempting to secure jobs.

Wrapping up 

Unemployment in Kenya is affecting the youths more than the older generation. The government has a lot to change to save the youths from unemployment. Corruption in both public and private institutions contributes highly to youth unemployment. 

Skill mismatch is another contributor. Institutions aren’t equipping candidates with appropriate job skills.Other causes are; inadequate capital, high population growth rate, and poor industrial sector. These factors need attention to prevent youths from engaging in criminal activities

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