Letters

Treasury snub of Generation Z in Budget glaring

generation-z

Strathmore University students and business partners Ryan Kithinji, Joan Nyambura, Ian Chomba and Wambui Kinyanjui. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • With more than 50 percent of Kenya’s population below the age of 24, it begs the question of whether the budget is reflective of the career aspirations of the youth.
  • Over the years, human resource professionals have stated that they are unable to get qualified candidates for job positions.

In the recent budget reading, the Treasury allocated Sh10.1 billion to support manufacturing in a bid to create jobs. But what exactly does this mean?

With more than 50 percent of Kenya’s population below the age of 24, it begs the question of whether the budget is reflective of the career aspirations of the youth.

In a 2021 study by Deloitte, Gen Zs, those born after 1995, ranked flexibility and adaptability as the top critical workforce trait. This was followed closely by creativity and the use of technology.

Therefore, how does the government align these findings to their work in manufacturing? Over the years, human resource professionals have stated that they are unable to get qualified candidates for job positions. And when they do, the candidates expect to rise the career ladder at a speed that defies corporate culture and how previous generations rose to the top.

That gap between what Gen Zs have demonstrated they want (entrepreneurship and flexible working conditions) and the government allocating growth-related spending points to a mismatch between policymakers and the expectation of this generation.

Manufacturing is all about processes, efficiency and the use of technology to attain optimal output. Every part of the cog works towards this daily. Think back to the industrial revolution and add technology, safer working conditions and a higher cost of living.

This entire process sums up the advice we all got from our parents — work hard, be patient and keep learning.

A Gen Z defies all this and wants to break the imposed cultural rules of work and success. They believe that success is right around the corner. For this generation, delayed gratification and toiling to earn ‘a seat at the table’ are not tenets that they can relate with.

They look at social media and see others flaunting and speaking of success and they want it. They aspire to be like those they follow on social media and have the same “overnight” success.

Several innovative companies are aligned with the career aspirations of Gen Zs.

In our case at Dijitali, we are providing pathways for youth to participate in a localised version of the gig economy. And there’s a data-backed reason for this.

The gig economy is the answer for those below the age of 22. It applies to any individual who has the same idea of success.

According to the Business Daily (November 2020), the gig economy in Kenya had more than 35,000 workers and was valued at Sh12 billion, which reiterates how aligned this sector is to the career aspirations of Gen Zs.

The government could have allocated more funds to grow this economic sector and tackle youth unemployment.