A national study on Digital and Digitally enabled work in Kenya has revealed that Kenyans working online earn an average of Ksh. 20,774 every month.

The study report was launched by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), commissioned by the Ajira Digital Program and conducted by Tifa Research.

The research further found that the average hourly pay was Ksh. 2,001. On work basis this was Ksh. 2,579.00 and in a week the pay stood at Ksh. 7,549 compared to earnings per project which was Ksh. 7,110.

Speaking at the event, Joe Mucheru, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth said, the Ajira Digital Program has successfully introduced unemployed but skilled youth to the gig economy. The CS added that with skills, they are able to create work for themselves and compete globally through multiple online work platforms.

“A key component in doing this work was the provision of the necessary tools such as training, and mentorship needed for the youth to work and earn an income with dignity. This study is a clear testament of the hard work that has gone into nurturing, growing, and positioning the Ajira Digital program as a change maker in how our young people access work and job opportunities,” said CS Mucheru.

CS Mucheru explained that the Ajira Digital Program had partnered with the Judiciary through the Ministry of ICT, Innovation, and youth to create work opportunities for youth. This is where 61 courts have been digitized through data entry, scanning and transcription of documents in 183 court stations and 7 tribunals.

“69,407 legal transcripts have been submitted to the judiciary in addition to over 10,596.46 transcribed audio hours and 169,844 case files input in the Case Tracking System. A total of 19,212,514 pages in 148,182 active case files have been scanned. Phase two of data entry and scanning is set to continue, targeting 194 courts in 34 counties and the creation of additional 1,400 jobs over a 6-month period,” explained Mucheru.

The program has also engaged over 50 official partners in addition to 35 linkage partners and who have enabled the project to link 37,851 youths to digital and digitally enabled jobs on more than 56 digital work platforms.

Carole Kariuki, KEPSA CEO said that 63% of adult Kenyans nationally were aware of the digital gig economy. She added that awareness of the Ajira Digital Program had increased from 5.5 million people (14%) in 2019 to 7.3 million people (29%) in 2021.

Among other findings, the report notes that currently 1,209,506 people (5%) of the adult population in Kenya are digital workers, rising from 638,400 (3%) in 2019. Female workers accounted for 402,284 while workers between the ages of 18 to 35 made up 1,007,277 of the individuals doing digital and digitally enabled jobs.

In terms of basic or intermediate skills, the study estimates that there are 461,523 digital marketers, 141,021 transcribers and about 250,000 article writers working online in Kenya. In terms of advanced skills, the country has 76,921 software developers and 64,100 data scientists working online.

The study further revealed that 31% of workers who have adopted digital and digitally enabled work prefer it because of lack of formal employment opportunities. 21% prefer to work online due to flexibility and convenience of digital work and another (18%) said it was because of the ability to work part time.

This is against the top 3 barriers to participating in digital and digitally enabled work, which were captured as expensive internet costs at (53%), lack of skills to participate in some digital platforms at (52%) and lack of access to WiFi or internet connectivity at (21%).