Economic growth on its own does not always mean more and better jobs, especially for the poor, vulnerable and those at risk of being left behind. Economic growth is a prerequisite for increasing productive employment; it is the combined result of increases in employment and increases in labour productivity. This is to say, that despite the Coronavirus destroying any suitable environments for employment, the way in which it kickstarted the tech economy, urged the mobile service sub-sector to hire new talent.
Hence, the rate of economic growth sets the ultimate ceiling within which growth in employment and growth in labour productivity can take place. The pattern or nature of growth matters, too. According to the fourth quarter sector statistical report for the financial year released by Communication Authority of Kenya, it was noted that as of June 2020, the number of employees in the mobile sub-sector stood at 8,728 from 7,016. Additionally, there was a minuscule, but noticeable rise in employment of females, from 3,327 to 3,734.
The impact of economic growth on productive employment creation depends not only on the rate of growth, but also on the efficiency by which growth translates into productive jobs. Meaning, productive jobs are still well underway within the mobile sector, despite the pandemic hanging on the shoulder of the economy, like a parasitic leech.
High unemployment, shifting industry hiring patterns and fundamental changes to the way we work are some of the harsh realities some Kenyans are facing when looking for jobs amid the Covid-19 crisis.
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