ILostMyjob: Hue and cry as Kenyan companies lay off workers
Wednesday’s layoffs of all 400 employees at betting firm Sportpesa have opened a can of worms as Kenyans lament over university certificates gone to waste.
Some took to Twitter under the hashtag ILostMyJob decrying their current state of employee-turned-job-seeker.
“Companies aren’t sending employees home. The government is sending the employees home by creating hostile environment for the business to thrive. In 2days alone over 10companies are shutdown based on self interests from gvt officials,” one Kilonzo said.
“At our place, 414 staff will be sent home on October 31. The remaining ones will have their salaries/allowances reduced by 30per cent,” Tina Okore said.
“Being a Kenyan should be added in a 1000 ways to die,” Nina Opany added.
“Kenya is a country whereby you can be employed today and fired tomorrow, and the university qualifications are neither considered !! Someone is busy giving you motivational talks and lectures on self employment without even capital NKT,” Frank Mtetezi said.
On September 26, Sanlam announced that it has served its employees with a voluntary early retirement (VER) notice hinting at impending job cuts at the consolidating firm.
A month earlier, 88 Stanbic employees were let go under a rationalization plan said to be embedded on cost-cutting.
It is unclear on whether the lender will try to squeeze out more positions given earlier media reports of a targeted 255 job cut.
A poll released in June said 48 percent of Kenyans believed the country was headed in the wrong direction owing to high cost of living, corruption and high unemployment rates.
According to Infotrak, the top concern was unemployment at 29% followed by high cost of living (21%), corruption (16%), insecurity/crime (5%) as well as food security (4%).
Last year, National Bank announced plans to lay off 150 employees aged 35 and above who have worked at the lender for over five years.
It was the second time in three years that the lender had cut its staff numbers after letting go of 200 employees in 2014.
Analysts aver that legacy companies in Kenya have reached a plateau in adoption of innovation as they only focus on the first mover approach.
Speaking on the Daybreak show on Thursday, Victor Otieno, a policy advisor opined that such methods are outdated and stifle innovation.
“They stagnate or even lowers a company’s growth rate thus causing the lay offs yet data is the new gold,” he said.
According to him, for a company to survive, they should have systems that genuinely understand their customers’ needs.
Joyce Njogu, head of Kenya Association of Manufacturers, weighed in saying delayed payment especially when working with the government is a big issue for entrepreneurs.’
“The implication is that employers have to delay their employee salaries or let them go altogether,” she said during the interview on Citizen TV.
Experts suggest that the only option remaining for Kenyans is focusing on the informal sector.
Mr. Otieno noted that it is a growing sector that deserves the attention of the government in terms of support.
He also called for shunning of the ‘sheep mentality’ where many people start a business just because one person started it and succeeded.
For those with smaller business, online platforms were noted as the best avenue to market products.