Today we answer the question that we are often asked: “is economics marketable in Kenya?”
This article will be of help to you if you’re still undecided about taking an economics degree course in Kenya.
Let’s tackle the question without further ado.
Is economics marketable in Kenya?
Now, I cannot say that I have very good news in terms of the course prospects in Kenya.
That’s because there are tons of graduates who have pursued the course in Kenya who are yet to be employed.
It’s not that the course is bad. Far from that.
The problem is mainly caused by the dearth of economics jobs in Kenya- very few organizations hire economists in Kenya outside the government and a few international consultancies.
In fact, most of those hired with the course end up working in different areas- you’ll find them in banking as tellers, in sales positions in various companies, and in other diverse areas.
Let me ask you: how many economics companies in Kenya are you aware of? I personally know of none and that in itself gives you the sad picture.
The big question is: would it be wise to take the course when the situation looks kind of grim?
Keep reading to get the answers.
To take or not take an economics degree in Kenya?
We are evaluating if it’s feasible to enroll for an economics degree…
Well, we cannot say that the course is the worst because you can always adopt a different career path and become a roaring success with your bachelor of economics degree.
For instance, you could open a professional economics consultancy firm aiming to offer advisory services to county governments, insurance firms, private investors, etc. after graduating.
Another avenue taken by some economics degree holders is practicing as actuarial scientists (though again the jobs are not that many) or financial analysts for brokerages, investment funds, stock exchanges, etc.
But there’s a catch: your bachelor of economics degree might alone not be enough to land such positions or even succeed in consulting/transaction advisory businesses and you must register for additional courses/professional certifications.
In Kenya, you will need to enroll for certifications such as CPA (Certified Public accountant), CIFA (Certified Investment Financial Analyst), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), and the like to go with your degree.
What if I want to spend my working life in full-time employment?
For those solely focused on becoming employed, it’s important to understand that it may take you more time and effort to secure a meaningful job if the current glut of economics degrees persist in the country.
As mentioned previously, you work for international organizations, research firms, think-tanks, and such.
What else can I do with an economics degree in Kenya?
The final option is becoming a scholar in economics – you’ll be teaching at colleges and universities and participating in research work.
You can also take up finance columns in local newspapers –like the famous Kenya economist David Ndii- and be writing commentary on economics and finance matters.
I doubt that the latter would sustain you fully financially, now that the standard rates for newspaper columnists in Kenya are not that attractive.
That said, it’s easy to build a name as a reputable economist when writing for these publications and you may secure other income-generating engagements from your columns.
What does an economics degree involve?
Now that we have tackled the question that brought you here (is economics marketable in Kenya), it’s important to be aware of what an economics degree entails in case you feel that this is the course for you.
To start with, economists mainly deal with optimizing how goods and services are produced and distributed.
They, therefore, work towards establishing optimal production and distribution systems that help achieve maximum return on investment for businesses, governments, private investors, and more.
In short, they engage in the business of making things – in governments, businesses, and various markets- function effectively and efficiently.
Training is thus geared towards imparting skills that can help them meet this goal.
Functions of an economist
In general, an economist performs the following functions:
- Conducts research.
- Prepares reports on findings.
- Formulates plans addressing economic issues related to the production/distribution of goods/services or monetary & fiscal policy.
- Collects and processes economic and statistical data using sampling techniques and econometric methods.
- Studies and analyses economic issues such as consumer demand and sales to help a company maximize its profits.
Key skills and interests required to pursue a career in economics
- Ability to explain technical information clearly and simply.
- Research and analytical skills.
- Effective communication skills.
- Interpersonal skills active listening skills.
- A high level of competency in numeracy and logical skills.
- A target-driven mindset.
- Self-motivation and organization.
- Team spirit.
- Time management skills.
- A flexible approach to work.
- Ethical and professional approach to work.
- Determination and tenacity.
- Discretion and an understanding of the need for client confidentiality.
Where to take a bachelor of economics in Kenya
There are dozens of universities offering either a pure economics degree (this is more recognized out there) while others offer a bachelor of economics and statistics.
Check out institutions like Kenyatta University, Nairobi University, Technical University of Kenya, Machakos University, MKU, etc.
You can access the full list of universities teaching this course on the KUCCPS portal.
Entry requirements for a bachelor of economics degree in Kenya
For the most part, you must have scored a mean grade of C+ (and above) at the KCSE.
The cluster requirements differ from one university to the next and its best to confirm from the KUCCPS portal.
Other economics courses in Kenya
In some cases, you can start with a diploma in economics in Kenya then upgrade to a degree.
This applies to those who missed out on the minimum entry grade for the degree course.
You should, however, confirm if the university you have in mind is accredited to admit students with a diploma qualification to the degree before enrolling.
The best place to obtain this information is the commission of university education (CUE) in Kenya.
Again, is economics marketable in Kenya?
As explained, the course is not bad but it’s quite flooded and most fresh graduates seem to take longer to secure relevant jobs.
Having said that, those taking the course should consider enrolling for renowned certifications such as CPA, CFA, and CIFA even as they proceed with the degree.
This gives the degree certificate more weight and can boost their employability.