Looming Job Losses as 200+ CEOs Plan to Lay Off 370,000 Employees

CEOs from over 200 private sector companies are preparing to lay off hundreds of thousands of employees in 2024 as part of cost-cutting measures.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) May 2024 survey reveals that 215 companies plan to terminate 18 percent of their 2023 staff.

According to the 2024 Economic Survey, non-bank private firms employed 2,073,600 individuals in 2023. The termination of 18 percent of this workforce equates to 373,248 job losses in 2024.

Furthermore, the report highlighted that only 8 percent of the CEOs believed that hiring or talent retention could alleviate some of the factors constraining their growth.

Additionally, many respondents reported that the anticipation of subdued business activity in the next quarter of 2024 was mainly attributed to the expected fiscal measures outlined in the Finance Bill 2024.

“The respondents were from the following sectors: financial services (17 percent), manufacturing (12 percent), professional services (11 percent), agriculture (10 percent), healthcare and pharmaceuticals (9 per cent).

“Tourism, hotels, and restaurants (8 percent), ICT and telecommunications (7 percent), transport and storage (4 percent), real estate (3 percent), and education (3 percent). Other sectors such as wholesale and retail trade, building and construction, mining and energy, and media accounted for two percent each or less,” the report read in part.

Survey respondents expressed concern over the measures outlined in the Finance Bill 2024, noting that they would further escalate the cost of doing business and inevitably result in job losses.

However, despite these challenges, executives maintained optimism regarding global and local business growth across various sectors in the second quarter of 2024.

The May 2024 CEOs Survey revealed sustained global and local growth across different sectors, attributed to macroeconomic stability, which is expected to ease inflation and reduce the prices of goods.

According to the CBK survey, “Global growth prospects remained largely unchanged relative to the March Survey, supported by easing inflation and expectations of interest rate declines, despite concerns over geopolitical risks.”

Simultaneously, companies reported increased business activity in the second quarter of 2024 compared to the first.

The report noted, “Respondents in sectors such as finance, agriculture, education, and ICT recorded improved activity, while firms in sectors such as health, real sector, wholesale and retail trade, tourism, transport, and storage recorded decelerated activity.”

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