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The best and worst employers in Kenya

As we near towards the close of the year and as you plan to make your New Year resolutions, we thought it wise to give you an insight of the top employers in Kenya so that when you make the resolutions, they should be aligned along those specs. As we have advised before in this very important resource, never pick an employer because of the name. Job seekers normally go for the multi – nationals and companies with stature in the country forgetting to do a good analysis of the work conditions and salaries. Never be proud that you work for a big bank and your salary is Kshs. 25,000 just take care that what goes into your pocket is what should make you proud of your employer.
Just as a general warning, most international companies think more of profit and not people issues. They are hard pressed with their parent companies to produce results and by doing that they either increase sales or reduce the costs, the latter being simpler they opt for it. Payroll costs in some organizations go above 12% which is not acceptable except for service and professional firms whose payroll costs should be at least 55% of the revenue. We are going to give you a careful analysis of entry level remuneration and middle management and the top without mentioning exact figures. We should not be seen to be against any employer (who are our clients and advertisers) but just even give them information so that they can match with industry figures to avoid employee high turnovers.

We will share the information in an industry focused manner.
1.   Manufacturing:  There is a lot of stereotype around this industry. People believe that EABL is the top employer in this sector but they are wrong. A graduate or management trainee starts with a figure slightly below 100,000 and middle management are also paid well but how many are these people? CEOs in this industry are not paid well either because those in the banking, insurance and service industry are better paid. The truth is that companies like GSK, Unilever, Bidco, EABL, PZ Cussons and many more that are in this industry don’t match their salaries and if you are looking for a big salary with good working conditions we will advise you to go to Nestle Foods. This is one employer that job seekers assume but has a workforce of over 500 people, with almost three quarters above six figure salaries. They don’t recruit directly but use a recruiting agency known as Adept Systems.
2.   Banking: This is a very controversial industry and figures here are very discouraging. I think these people require a very tough ‘Atwoli’ in there Bankers’ Association or Union. Some banks, both local and international are very notorious in paying very poor salaries. Most graduates normally approach this industry as their first option because they normally have jobs. Ask yourself why? Banks and audit firms have the highest employee turnover and if you enquire, they offer a whole lot of different packages but as you progress in the corporate ladder, you will realize that jobs are not all about salaries but we can’t assume that factor because it is among motivators. Equity Bank is the poorest remunerator followed by Barclays. In this industry we will advise you to go for the smaller banks like Chase Bank, Gulf African, Bank of Baroda, Consolidated Bank and the rest. The most appreciated bank is Corporative Bank because at entry level you will get something close to Kshs. 65,000.
3.   Insurance: Like the banks, insurance companies like using cheap labor. A claims processing clerk at CfC Life will start with Kshs. 25,000 which basically gets you a net amount of Kshs. 22,000. Seriously? This is not money in Nairobi and it will be more unfortunate if you join this industry as a sales person because you will be earning on commission. If there is an industry that has a wider gap among the low and top earners, it has to be the insurance industry. If you remember very well, in last year’s annual human resource survey, the insurance industry came out as first runners up in the highest paid CEOs. The information we have in our hands, state that a CEO in an insurance company takes home a cool seven figure, senior management take home extremely high six figures in the ranges of Kshs. 700,000 to Kshs. 900,000 while the immediate people they manage take home Kshs. 25,000 to Kshs. 65,000. The best employer in this field is Chartis (Formerly AIG) and we can mention that they have the best management trainee program in the industry.
4.   Audit: This is an industry that normally excites graduates from UoN’s Kabete Campus graduates; KU’s School of Business and others but is a fluke. It basically should provide you a good ground to launch your career. Auditing firms normally do very good graduate recruitment presentations with an intention to attract the top most talent. This is the only way they can stay afloat in the very competitive market they operate in. You will find them absorbing even doctors, actuarial students, engineers because they know bright students go to these areas of study and at the end of their courses, they are desperate for jobs. There are four serious auditing companies that you should consider when looking for an employer in this area; PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG and Ernst & Young in that order. PwC offers the highest salary at entry level to a tune of around Kshs. 80,000 for a fresh graduate while the rest follow. In this industry, PwC is leading in Kenya although globally they were beaten by Deloitte last year, they still offer the best salaries but I have to warn you that audit firms work with a lot of pressure and if you like life avoid them.
5.   Actuarial: This is the highest paying job not only in Kenya but in the world. We do not have many qualified actuaries in Kenya and thus not so many actuarial service providers. I personally did an actuarial degree and moved into an MBA in human resource and later a PhD in human psychology because my passion was not in numbers. In terms of salaries, actuaries don’t have a comparison, they are paid the highest but they don’t have life. They are worse than auditors but if you are looking for a job in this field, we recommend Alexander Forbes because it is a worldwide professional services firm and the most stable.
6.   Universities: These are very political institutions and here we will combine both private and public. Strathmore University is the best employer in this industry and if you are looking to lecture, be a manager or a casual worker of a university then Strathmore it is, followed by KEMU, Daystar, UoN, and the rest follow but if you are a senior lecture or professor then UoN will be your first option. Avoid politics now that universities have been drawn into them and that can make our universities better. KU, JKUAT and Egerton follow UoN in that order although KU’s senior management are paid better than any other university.
7.   Colleges: NIBS tops the list among good employers followed by VIP. I am assuming you know these abbreviations. In colleges, it is hard to tell which one is the best but their work conditions and salaries differ by a very small margin.
8.   State Corporations and NGOs: For those who may not be aware, the government is the best employer these days not only for job flexibility but also their remuneration has greatly improved and if you get a job in one of their many projects like, Nalep, APHIA, CDC, and other funds that the government runs then you are lucky. It is very hard to compare state corporations because most of their salaries are very structured but if you get a middle level or senior management job in a state corporation like NOCK, KPC, the central government, commissions and others please accept it. You will have the best work conditions and the best salary. The government is the most secure employer thus your job is very assured and if you are looking at long term employment then the government should be your number one choice. NGOs don’t have very common disparities in work conditions and salaries although their job security is dependent on funding, they are good employers.  
9.   Real Estate Companies: In this field, Hass Consult stands out followed by CBRE, Suraya properties is also a good option but only in the office jobs. This field generally does not normally have many openings but the few that are there pay well especially when the seasons are good because this industry depends more on the economy and politics. The mortgage industry in America was hard hit some two years ago and investment in real estate is capital intensive and thus slow business. Be careful when you choose this as a career because it requires a lot of aggressiveness in the market. There are so many players and be careful.
10.               Service Industry. (Advertising): This is a very competitive industry where players like Magnet, Adsite, Radio stations, TV stations, Dstv, Google, facebook, yahoo and other service providers of other services that we need. Competition in this area is increasing every day and the business is fluctuating every day. Google beats competitors in terms of office ethics, work conditions and salaries. In these other companies, it does not pay well to be at the casual or lower level workforce but I can tell you in Google it does.
We have tried very much to avoid specifics about a company but with the hope that we brought out an analysis that can help you in deciding you choice of employer.
From us at Human Capital Consulting (HCC) (K) Ltd. we wish you all the best in your job search.

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