Unemployed youth keen on working in the construction sector can now get jobs hustle free and earn upto Sh400 daily thanks to construction agents who source jobs for them while earning Sh50 commission.
The agents, who are mostly well connected especially in any construction site popularly known as ‘mjengo’ are well linked with construction companies and individual contractors who alert them of upcoming construction works. According to Benson Mwanje, a seasoned painter who gives job opportunities to at least 30 people daily, job sourcing business requires thorough marketing, integrity and good planning. He intimates that he earns at least Sh2000 everyday from commissions he gets for sourcing the jobs to the unemployed youth.
To qualify in the sourcing business, Mwanje explained that one needs to have a loyal human resource base, create networks with constructors and have knowledge in most construction works. “I live in Mathare slums where most people depend on informal jobs for survival. I have consolidated a large work force mostly through referrals,” said the man who has worked in the informal sector for more than three decades. Mwanje takes pride in his job experience that has earned him trust among companies and individual contractors. His house doubles up as an office where he has employed a relative who assists him in running the business.
Terry Kamidi, a secondary school leaver who has secured numerous jobs through this platform explained that you need to sign an agreement form with those agencies with specifics on how to conduct yourself while at the work, time and commission payment mode. He continues that most of the agencies collect wages on behalf of their clients hence deduct commissions after work.
James Ongere is running a bigger agency. With an office in the expansive Huruma Estate, he not only sources for job opportunities to his clients but also offer job equipment for those lacking. ” I own a mixer, spades, chisels, wheelbarrows, mattocks and other equipment which I hire to my clients for a small fee. A mason for ten years, Ongere offers job opportunities to at least 100 people in a day hence earning a commission of at least 5000. He explains that people seeking jobs come at his office in the evening where he records their contacts and collect copies of their national identification cards. He has three supervisors who accompany the group to construction sites to collect wages from contractors and also ensure workers complete their assignments. ” I have a lorry which carries my clients to sites hence helping them to cut on transport costs,” he said.
Another beneficiary of this platform Tom Kevogo said that he no longer worries about where to get a job. “I used to trek to numerous construction sites in Nairobi hoping to get a day job. In many occasions, I could go back home depressed, hungry and tired,” said the father of two who is an experienced mason. Kevogo, just like thousands of youth who have embraced this platform in Nairobi and other major towns in Kenya are almost assured of an income by the end of the day.
According to 2012 World Bank report, Kenya’s informal sector constitutes 98 percent of all businesses in the country, absorbs annually up to 50 per cent of new non formal job seekers, has an employment growth rate of 12-14 percent, contributes 30 percent of total employment and 3 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
And as unemployment hits unprecedented highs in the country, the construction agents are contributing to bridging the gap a construction stone at a time.