Kenya Power Resumes Mass Hiring After six year freeze
Kenya Power hired 363 new workers in the year to June 2023, the first time the company has increased its workforce in six years.
The utility has been shedding its workforce since 2017, but in the financial year 2022/23, the company increased its staff count by 3.8 percent.
The increase saw the utility’s staff numbers increase to 10,018 in June 2023, up from 9,655 in the previous year.
“We on-boarded an additional 389 technicians and craftsmen to reinforce our field operations,” says the utility in its annual report.
The utility last raised its workforce in June 2017, increasing it by 1.5 percent to 11,295.
Kenya Power had been making year-on-year additions to its employee numbers before hitting the peak in 2017.
After that, the utility started shedding off workers over the next six years totalling 1,640 or 14.5 percent to hit a low of 9,655 in June 2022.
This includes workers who left through retirement as well as natural attrition such as death, termination, expiry of contracts, and resignations.
The company’s board has also endorsed the translation of terms of 1,373 employees from short-term contracts to renewable five-year contracts. The programme will be implemented in two phases.
“The terms of these new contracts are tailored to align closely with those of our permanent and pensionable staff members,” said the company.
Despite the significant increase in staff numbers, Kenya Power’s salaries and wages went down marginally to Sh15.85 billion from Sh16.04 billion, indicating that the pay for the recruits is overall lower than those of workers who exited during the period.
Salaries and wages make up 8.2 percent of the record Sh190.97 billion revenues that the utility earned during the year, underscoring the company’s race in recent years to trim its workforce.
Kenya Power has been under pressure in recent years to rationalise its huge staff numbers to cut costs and introduce a shift system to maximise performance.
The task force on the review of power purchase agreements appointed by then President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2021 recommended the firm undertake a suitability vetting of staff to check their qualifications, competencies, and integrity.
The utility has been struggling with its huge wage bill, and in February last year announced plans to let go 1,962 of its workers in a voluntary employee separation exercise.
The three-phase exercise, which covers the period to June 2023, is estimated to have cost the company a one-off cost of Sh5.3 billion.