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Title:A Profile of the Kenyan Labor Force: Race, Occupation and Industry; Ethnicity and Sex Differentials in the Postcolonial Period
Author(s):Yambo, Mauri Onyalo
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Abstract:The motivation for this study is the ongoing debate on the impact of economic dependency on the occupational distribution of different racial groups in the Kenyan economy. The debate has yielded two conflicting generalizations. The first argues that despite the dominance of foreign private capital in the Kenyan economy, Africans already hold a large proportion of middle and high-level jobs in the country. The second states that Europeans still hold most of the high-level jobs, and Asians most of the middle-level ones. The study reexamines the two generalizations using data which focus on a unit of analysis--industry--which is more detailed than the usual public-private sector duality.
But testing the two generalizations is only part of the wider, three-pronged objective, namely: (a) to a large extent using the ECTA program, to draw a profile of Kenya's "modern sector" labor force based on the effects of industrial differentiation on the relationship between race and occupation during the period for which we have adequate data--i.e., 1968-1974; (b) to assess the labor absorption capacities of respective occupations and industries in the light of a rapidly expanding total labor force, and, on the basis of that assessment, to forecast what profile of the employed labor force as a whole is likely to prevail in Kenya in 1986; and, (c) to examine the role of ethnic and sex cleavages in the occupational structure. The forecasting exercise is based on observed and estimated trends in the period 1968-1976.
The study finds that while Europeans and Asians continue to be heavily concentrated in white-collar jobs, Europeans no longer monopolize high-level jobs. In fact, Africans already are an outright majority in high-level jobs--having risen from a 31.9 percent share in 1968 to 55 percent (or 10,345 out of 18,823 jobs) in 1974. The "modern sector" labor force as a whole continues to be predominantly African, and predominantly in blue-collar jobs.
Given current trends in employment generation and population growth (now 3.4 percent per year) in Kenya, it is predicted that unemployment and underemployment will become increasingly acute; and social strata based on broad income brackets even more pronounced. On the other hand, ethnic and sex discrimination in the labor market will probably decline.
Using ECTA and rank-order correlations, it is found, inter alia, that as the level of economic dependency diminishes across industrial categories, the recruitment advantage of Africans over Europeans or Asians in high-level jobs rises slightly. So does the recruitment advantage of Asians over Europeans. There is also a positive correlation between the recruitment advantage and human capital advantage of Africans over Europeans or Asians, and vice-versa, in high-level jobs.
On the basis of these and other findings, it is concluded that as the relative human capital investment of Africans accumulates qualitatively and quantitatively, and as state involvement in the economy escalates--accompanied by size/structural changes in state and parastatal bureaucracies--the number of Europeans in high-level jobs in Kenya will progressively decline. And yet, to the extent that foreign investors remain welcome, and new ones continue to arrive, non-citizen Europeans and Asians are likely to remain a feature of Kenya's labor markets, augmenting the numbers of those who have become Kenyan citizens.
Issue Date:1980
Description:232 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8026623
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-14
Date Deposited:1980

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