The effect that Covid-19 has had on jobs

A lot of industries have faced a tremendous amount of job losses due to the coronavirus. Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that there were 1.7million jobs lost in the first three months of the virus.

The tourism and hospitality sector was worst hit, with the travel restrictions introduced globally. With the lock down, hotels were forced to shut and release their staff.

Airlines on the other end were operating at less than 10% with only cargo operating. Pilots, air hostesses, ground handlers lost their jobs as many airlines could not sustain their payroll.

Waiters, housekeeping staff, cooks, bar tenders were among the first people to lose their jobs. When you look at the people who are employed to do these kind of works, they are young people between the ages of 18 – 35 years. According to the report, young workers between the ages of 20 and 29 years accounted for 63 % of the lost jobs.

Education was also another sector that was worst hit. Private schools had to shut down and release all their workers. Teachers, cleaners, caterers were all let go, with no clear way forward.

Other sectors that were hit hard were the transport business. With reduced travel due to lockdowns, a lot of jobs were lost. Some drivers and conductors were let go, as many car owners chose to park their cars and wait for the restrictions to easen.

It is also important to note that most of the jobs that were lost were not pensionable jobs. Most were casual jobs or contract jobs. Many corporate companies reduced salaries and tried to retain as many people as possible on the payroll.

There was also a job hire freeze both from the Government and corporate sector, as there was no clear solution in sight.

Quality of life

The quality of life for a lot of people drastically reduced. Many Kenyans went upcountry as others moved to more affordable neighbourhoods. More Kenyans had to downgrade their lifestyles to afford basic needs.


The great lesson that can be learned here is as a country, a lot of young people hold jobs that are easily affected by a pandemic or an economic recession. What can a country do to ensure it protects its young people?

A lot of innovations also came out of this pandemic. E-commerce shops came up and so did a lot of home delivery companies. Young people discovered jobs that could be done from the comfort of their homes which they could make money from.

It is also good to note that technologically challenged people were at a loss. Access to a computer and internet would make a difference in the lives of many Kenyans as the opportunities online are huge, and there is great potential. It would be a great buffer to most people, in case of a recession of another strain of the pandemic that would force us to go into a lock down.