As measured by the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), the national employment rate for youth aged 18 – 28 decreased to 51.8% this quarter, which is a 0.7 percentage point decline compared to last quarter. This is the lowest experienced in the past five years and tracks with the overall national employment rate for the quarter, which also dropped to 72.8%.
Employment numbers during the second quarter of 2018 also did not grow significantly and the growth rate was in fact lower than most quarters over the past two years. Coupled with a rise in discouraged work-seekers during this period, the unemployment numbers reflected in QLFS are the highest they have ever been: 27.2% nationally and 48.2% for youth.
Regarding gender, the QLFS data indicates that women experience a higher unemployment rate nationally at 29.5% compared to men (25.3%). Young women are also more vulnerable to becoming NEETS (Not in Employment, Education or Training) versus their male counterparts.
Harambee’s employment rate, calculated from real-time data, is lower than that of the quarterly labour force survey. This is because Harambee reaches excluded youth who tend to face higher structural barriers to employment. Compared to the decline in QLFS youth employment rate, the Harambee employment rate has remained largely static at 22.1% this quarter.
Whilst Harambee’s rate still largely trends with the broader labour market, this does provide a positive market signal for the work readiness, matching and placement interventions offered by Harambee.
Harambee has demonstrated that inclusive, scaleable solutions to tackle youth employment are possible. This edition of Breaking Barriers outlines the ‘gender penalties’ experienced by young women in their search for a first job, and how these can be solved to improve their likelihood of success in employment
** Youth includes all 18-28 years old
*** Note: Harambee employment rate is much lower than the national employment rate as Harambee does not include the informal sector and specifically targets low-income urban youth excluded from the formal economy.