Pay for Kenyans working with international agencies increased by 3.8 per cent or Sh9,137 per month in 2016, widening the gap between what they get and salaries of counterparts at local groups.
Multi-state organisations stationed in Kenya – like United Nations, World Bank, foreign missions and African Union bodies – paid workers an average of Sh249,396 per month compared to Sh240,258 monthly in 2015.
On average, a person employed by international agency earned at least Sh104,163 more every month than a colleague in the best paying public sector job and Sh109,603 more than top private sector earner.
Bankers and accountants topped the list best earners in Kenya, with those in the public sector taking home an average of Sh145,233 per month while their colleagues in the private sector got Sh139,793 last year.
Workers of waste management firms, the least paid lot in the private sector, at an average rate of Sh17,530 per month, were paid e 14 times less than colleagues handling similar responsibilities at the international agencies.
Similarly, the least in the public sector — workers of mines and quarries — who pocketed Sh33,116 as their average monthly salary, had to contend with seven times less earnings than those of multinational employees handling similar duties.
Apart from disparity in basic pay, workers of international agencies tend to enjoy a wide range of benefits not available to colleagues working for national institutions.
While the huge gap is partly because national employers have exploited weak labour laws and outwitted trade unions to keep annual pay flat, the international agencies apply standardised job grades with clear growth path.
Despite the wide disparity in their earnings, both set of workers have comparable skills. The international agencies largely hire their employees from national public and private entities and assign them duties that are more or less the same as those they handled in their previous organisations.
Last year, private sector workers received an increase of Sh2,843 in their monthly pay, while their counterparts in the public sector received a raise of Sh4,422, both of which was wiped out by inflation that soared to 6.3 per cent over the 12 months.
“The average annual earnings in the private sector increased by 5.7 per cent compared to 6.3 per cent in the public sector in the review period,” the survey reported.
Pay increment in the local job market has been left to how strong workers unions in the various sectors are and their ability to pressurize employers. For the public sector workers however any increase has to be approved by Salaries and Remuneration Commission.