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Kenyan employers under pressure from the youth

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – Kenyan companies are registering increasing frustration over how to manage a growing number of youthful employees.

The just-released PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Generation Y 2010 report shows employers are concerned with the pressure of retaining those born after 1978 who are hungry for fast success and growth in their careers.

PwC Country Director Muchiru Kuria said the youthful workers are joining the workplace at a time when the global economy is on a slow pace towards recovery, and companies are trying to grow.

“When somebody says I have started the job but I am bored within three months then they are looking to go elsewhere, how do you keep them? The issue here is retention of talent,” Mr Kuria said.

The group seeks careers and job assignments that are challenging, stretching and intellectually stimulating and tend to be high achievers.

Mr Kuria said the challenge for organisations is how to change their current structure in an effort of actively engaging with them and respond to their needs.

“Attracting and retaining talent is becoming a business priority and is proving to be a challenge. The fact is, the generational mix within the workforce has made management and leadership today even more complex and has created a case for a review of the way in which we work and manage our employees,” he said.

The PwC report shows that 80 percent of ‘Generation Y’ participants said they would leave an employer whose corporate sustainability practices no longer met their own.

They view the organisation and the world without boundaries with the focus on interest and opportunity, not necessarily monetary rewards.

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Mr Muchiru said the challenge is that the education system is churning out more graduates than can be absorbed into the workplace.

This has resulted in an employers market, where companies are sometimes forced to pick overqualified people.

“Employers can recruit graduates for jobs they never used to before. Because of where the economy is, it has created an employers market where they can give you a job that does not satisfy your needs,” he said.

It is estimated that by 2012 Generation Y will form more than 50 percent of the labour force.

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