Even in the lurking face of high unemployment, those lucky enough to secure jobs look for better salaries and working conditions.
After all, we all have bills to pay and no one wants to break their backs five or six days in a week and still struggle to make ends meet.
Getting a well-paying job is no easy task and debates have always ensued on the jobs that pay well and the ones people should avoid or take as side-kicks.
Several factors determine employee salaries, including supply and demand, rates prevailing in the industry, labour unions and, most importantly, employers.
Having a bachelor’s or master’s degree might give you a slight edge over your competitors in terms of earning huge sums. However, anyone in the job market will tell you that this is not true.
Your level of education has nothing to do with how much you earn in some cases, especially for entry levels.
Africa has a well-grounded culture that regards politics as one of the fastest avenues to riches.
County members of parliament, governors, senators and members of the county assembly lie in this list.
Other beneficiaries are political activists, analysts, scholars, commentators, advisors and writers are some of the latest class of workers to make a career out of politics.
When it comes to marketable courses in Kenya, mechanical engineering is at the very top.
Diploma graduates in this course find themselves earning a starting salary of more than 100K when they land jobs in the government and blue-chip companies.
Some of the companies that pay mechanical engineering graduates really well are Geothermal, Bamburi Cement, Kenya Power, Kenya Pipeline, Davis and Shirtliff and Kengen among others.
Another career that pays well is quantity surveying.
Since land transactions take place daily, the work of quantity surveyors is highly needed. There is no single land transaction that will be complete without the involvement of a quantity surveyor.
More than 50 per cent of quantity surveyors are self-employed and their monthly income is in excess of Ksh300,000.
Quantity surveying complements architecture and it’s offered at the University of Nairobi, Moi University or JKUAT.
This is one of the most marketable and best paying in Kenya.
The course is not saturated and there is still a high demand for architects in this country.
For self-employed architects, the income is arrived at based on the type of clients you handle.
You might design a structure that costs Ksh5 billion and your take-home becomes Ksh 50 million.
Another client will come with work that pays you Ksh50,000. But at the end of the day, you’ll make not less than Ksh 300,000 per month.
Architecture is offered at JKUAT and The University of Nairobi
Software Engineering reportedly has few graduates, less than 200 in Kenya.
For one to get enrolled for software engineering, they must score B+ and above in high school with A or A- in Physics and Mathematics. The course is offered at Kenyatta University, Nairobi University and JKUAT.
The available job opportunities for these graduates are enormous but the bottom line is, one must be extremely talented and innovative to earn a decent pay.
Companies like Google prefer talent over excellent papers. If you prove beyond doubts that you are innovative, you will earn up to Ksh5 million per month as a Software Engineer.
Tech companies to consider include Google, Facebook, Safaricom, Airtel, Oracle, IBM etc.
Such institutions pay software engineers in excess of Ksh 200,000 per month regardless of one’s job experience.
The flexibility of their jobs makes the career path enviable and some can shuttle between some of the increasing numbers of universities with ease.
However, you need to have the patience of studying long and hard beyond the graduate, masters to PhD level in order to command a higher salary.
Though teaching has traditionally been viewed as barren grounds for money, some top dons in universities earn close to Ksh 500,000 per month.
The field of study will also determine the demand and remuneration for your services.
They are some of the most important players in many companies.
They literary watch over company funds. This also makes them part of the top management of all serious companies.
Since the field is quite large, those who rise up to the position of Chief Finance Officer take not less than a million Kenyan shillings.
Internal auditors do take in almost half a million while their counterparts in private practice make millions when the times are ripe.
Medicine is rigorous, demanding and it pays.
Interns can earn more than Ksh90,000 in the newly negotiated pay rise and the highest-paid doctors earn salaries worth millions each month.
One can also start his/her private hospital too and double the income.
Law is one of the best careers in Kenya and so far it’s among the best-paying professions.
To become a lawyer, you have to score good grades in high school, at least B plain, then select a registered training institution like The Nairobi University, Mount Kenya University or the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.
After college, you will be required to join Kenya School of Law for a diploma in law then you qualify as an advocate of the high court.
The amount you earn depends on the type of clients you attract, some of the best clients to represent are politicians and business persons.
The monthly income of an established lawyer is Ksh 250,000 but there are lawyers who make upwards of Ksh 2 million monthly.
As a lawyer, the only way you can succeed is by winning cases, by doing so you’ll attract rich clients who you can charge any amount you wish.
Piloting is another field where people are going home with full pockets, not only in Kenya but the world over.
Though it takes a bit of sometime before you become a pilot, the final result of patience is amazing.
Piloting is a lucrative course, it pays well and job security is high. A senior captain is known to earn not less than Ksh1.1 million per month.
All that is needed is good grades in school, good health, money and able to take risks as a pilot.
The cost of training a pilot is not so friendly.
This is one of the most underrated careers in Kenya since word on the street is that it is saturated and you can never find a job in this field.
However, journalism pays way better than most professions in Kenya if you have the right experience.
Personalities with the ability to draw viewership or mass audiences have found a home in the media.
These range from comedians, talk shows hosts and star presenters. The earnings here are dictated by individual clout and some practitioners easily attract salaries similar to those of MPs.
Media presenters including reporters, cameramen, news anchors or writers earn well with salaries of up to Ksh500,000.
Graphic and web design
You don’t need a degree to become a web designer or graphic design guru.
Nowadays you can almost learn anything from Youtube and the internet without wasting money in a classroom set up.
Most people in this field are self-employed and are outsourced by companies.
With the advent of technology, more and more businesses are being conducted online hence the demand for web and graphic designers.
The high demand for these professionals coupled with the few numbers of experts makes it one of the best paying courses to pursue.
Sales and marketing
The field can be pretty unpredictable but established marketers make a fortune out of their careers.
As the men and women entrusted with a company’s brand, sales and market share, the growth of the company image can translate to high incomes and commissions for these professionals.
Marketers can earn as much as their sales can stretch with some in the leading banks and insurance companies enjoying millionaire status.
NGO and Civil Societies
Non-governmental organizations offer some of the most competitive salaries in the job market.
Depending on the budgets, often from donor funding, salaries can traverse in the range of six figures. Graduates of Law and Social Sciences are the most likely ones to land in this field.
The average monthly pay for an employee in both the private and public sector NGO’s is reportedly Ksh194000.
The most sought organizations include the United Nations and its affiliate bodies such as UNEP and UNHCR. Other known NGOs include USAID and Oxfam.
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