Ageing staff crisis hits NSSF as 62pc above 50 years

National Social Security Fund official attends to a client at a past exhibition in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

More than 61.8 percent of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) employees have hit 50 and above years without recruitment of workers below 30 years, posing a succession nightmare at the institution.

The latest data from NSSF shows 675, or 61.8 percent, of its 1,093 employees are aged 50, with 19 being over the retirement age of 60.

NSSF has no employees aged below 30, with those between 30 and 39 years being 111, or just 10.2 percent of the total workforce. Another 307 are aged between 40 and 49, meaning more employees will be transitioning to the over-50-year-old club.

“It [the analysis on the number of NSSF staff and distribution by age] illustrates an ageing workforce. There is, therefore, a need for succession planning and replacement,” said NSFF in the draft strategic plan that preceded the final document that was unveiled recently. The age distribution of workers at NSSF reflects the problem of an ageing workforce in many government entities in a country where the majority of the people are young and searching for jobs.

Many public sector institutions have a skill transfer policy, but most ministries, departments, and State-owned enterprises have struggled to implement it.

The minimum recruitment age for public service is 18 and the retirement age is 60, except for people with disabilities and university lecturers, whose retirement ages are 65 and 70, respectively.

In 2017, the Public Service Commission (PSC) developed a succession planning management strategy to address challenges such as an ageing workforce and skills flight and brain drain, particularly in professional and technical areas.

The main goal of the PSC strategy was to trigger a proactive planning process by developing a pool of potential successors and encouraging a culture of knowledge transfer and employee development.

The PSC data showed that of the 253,318 workers in the public service by the end of June 2023, 32.1 percent were aged between 36 and 45, while 26.1 percent were between 46 and 55. Some 12 percent were aged 56 and above, while those between 18 and 35 were 29.6 percent of the workforce.

The commission itself is grappling with an ageing workforce. The PSC had 109 employees aged 50 and above, accounting for 44 percent of its workforce at the end of June 2023. Staff aged between 40 and 49 made up a third of the workforce.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows 51 percent of the working population in the country is aged between 15 and 34, with those aged between 25 and 34 taking up about a third of the working population.

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