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Education, Training and Youth Unemployment in Kenya

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Name of the Asset | Education, Training and Youth Unemployment in Kenya
Type of Asset | Working Paper
Date | October 2009


Youth unemployment is a big policy issue in Kenya and in other developing countries. Even though governments have increased their expenditures in areas relating to human capital development, many educated youths are finding it difficult to secure employment. The main objective of this study was to empirically analyze the factors explaining why some youths are unemployed, or underemployed, while others are able to secure full employment, as well as to determine the role of education and training in explaining youth unemployment.

The study uses a multivariate analysis to analyze the factors that influence the youth to be either employed, unemployed or underemployed. The main data source is the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS) 2005 / 2006.

The study finds a ‘diploma disease’, meaning that university-level education and training have become important amongst candidates to secure jobs that are not traditionally associated with high levels of education, due to the abundance of highly educated unemployed candidates. Other important findings include the gendered nature of youth unemployment and that open unemployment – or unemployment that can be seen and counted – is more of an urban phenomenon than rural. The study recommends innovations in the education system to make learning relevant for the job market, mainstream gender in employment policies and pursuing policies that stimulate economic growth and job creation.


  • Joy Kiiru, KIPPRA
  • Eldah Onsomu, KIPPRA
  • Fredrick Wamalwa, KIPPRA

Country and/or Region | Kenya
Name of the Program | GDN's Global Research Project, ‘Institutional Capacity Strengthening of African Public Policy Institutes to Support Inclusive Growth and the MDGs’
Funder(s) | United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) and Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA)

Download the Full Study here

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