Women outnumber men in KCB workforce

Kenya Commercial Bank Branch along Mama Ngina Street in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The number of women employees at KCB Group has surpassed that of men for the first time on the back of new hiring, pointing to the increased participation of women in the labour force.

KCB's latest disclosures show the number of women employees hit 6,233 at the end of December 2023, marking a 1,017 increase from 5,216 the previous year.

At 6,233, women now account for 51 percent of KCB Group’s workforce of 12,221, compared with 47 percent at the end of 2022. The record share of women in the KCB workforce came in a year the number of male employees rose by 106 to 5,988. This means that for every one additional man hired at KCB last year, about 10 female employees were recruited. The share of women in the Group workforce has been rising over time, coming from 43 percent or about 2,674 in 2018 when the group’s staff size was 6,217.

“For the first time, the group now has more female than male employees. I am pleased to note that, as a result of our deliberate efforts to entrench diversity and inclusion at the workplace, the proportion of female employees in the organisation rose to 51 percent in 2023,” said Paul Russo, chief executive at KCB Group.

KCB becomes the latest lender to see women employees outnumber men. NCBA Group had 51 percent of its 3,022 staff as women at the end of December 2022. Women are increasingly catching up with men in the labour force participation as more employers embrace gender parity policies in line with the global push for equality.

Many companies in Kenya are rolling out programmes such as paid maternity leave for women and flexible working hours for new mothers. Others are coming up with policies that promote a level playing ground in promotions.

The trend is driven by shareholders and financiers nudging firms to have a positive impact on people and society even as they seek to generate returns for their investors.

KCB says it also posted an increased representation of women in senior positions last year, with 44 percent of management level jobs being occupied by women, compared with 41 percent a year earlier. The lender last year promoted 759 employees, with 40 percent or about 304 being women.

The lender did not however disclose the pay gap between male and female workers. Equity Group last year disclosed in its inaugural sustainability report that female workers in Kenya and Tanzania businesses earned 52 percent less than their counterparts in the same position did.

KCB Group said it runs a diversity and inclusion policy that guides the organisation to create and sustain an environment that attracts and retains a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“Through this policy, we ensure that we sustain an environment where each employee can develop their full potential irrespective of their race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, age, disability, and religious beliefs,” said KCB.

The trend in KCB hiring ties with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics finding that female workers in the financial and insurance sector had grown at 24 percent in the past 10 years to 2022, being a faster pace when compared with 18.8 percent rise in male workers in the same period.

In Kenya’s modern sector, women took up 48.45 percent of all the 1.1 million jobs created over the past decade to the end of 2022. In 2020 alone, when Covid-19 economic disruptions triggered 738,000 job cuts, about five men lost jobs for every one woman who did.

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