Online jobs, an opportunity or a trap for the youth?

Friday, January 19th, 2024 10:00 | By
Online jobs, an opportunity or a trap for the youth?

Recently, a young ICT student wowed Kenyans with his earnings from Internet employment.

In a field that many had not explored, these disclosures cast a great deal of light. In today’s digital era, there has been a significant shift towards utilising the Internet for job searching and recruitment. Online job boards have become the preferred tools for job seekers and employers.

What was once an absolute need in the Covid times, has evolved into a preferred mode of operation for a wide range of workers in a variety of businesses. The benefits became increasingly apparent as the world adapted to remote setups reshaping how we perceive traditional on-site jobs.

According to an Owl Labs survey, 16 per cent of organisations worldwide are remote. The same poll also indicates that over 62 per cent of employees aged 22 to 65 reports working remotely, at least periodically. In Kenya, many work online to supplement their income and advance their career prospects. Online employment prospects in Kenya have expanded because of factors such as high-speed Internet availability, digital literacy development, and the rising desire for remote work.

The appeal of remote work extends beyond mere convenience; it represents a paradigm shift in achieving work-life balance, flexibility, freedom for one to shape their work environment and to avoid office distractions leading to enhanced productivity. Remote work embodies adaptability, efficiency and a holistic approach to work life integration, it empowers individuals to thrive professionally while nurturing their personal well-being.

The office once a symbol of professional life now competes with the comforts of home the traditional 9 to 5 model is challenged by a dynamic approach that values output over hours logged in an office chair. According to the National Study on Digital and Digitally Enabled Work, a staggering 1.2 million Kenyans are engaged in online work, earning an average monthly income of Sh20,773.

Findings of this study underscore the remarkable impact of the digital revolution on the Kenyan workforce. With a substantial portion of the population now participating in online work, it is evident that the digital economy has become a vital contributor to the country’s  economic growth and development. Majority of these online workers are digital marketers, website articles writers and academic writers.

Policymakers should take note of the importance of the digital economy and its effects on the labour market, as shown by the National Study on Digital and Digitally Enabled Work. To foster and promote this expanding industry, the government and all stakeholders must act swiftly to create an enabling environment for the sector to grow.

Kenya can secure sustained economic growth for its people and fully use the promise of the digital economy by making investments in digital infrastructure, encouraging digital literacy, and establishing a supportive atmosphere for remote work.

Although legitimate Internet jobs do exist, it is crucial to remain vigilant due to the presence of scammers. Countless individuals have unfortunately fallen victim to these fraudulent schemes. Therefore, it is imperative for job seekers to exercise caution, thoroughly verify the authenticity of employment offers, and refrain from sharing sensitive information without adequate confirmation. By adopting these proactive measures, individuals can safeguard themselves against potential scams.

As the world continues to evolve, the landscape of online jobs will likely undergo further changes, creating new opportunities and challenges for remote workers. Remote work is a growing trend that offers several benefits and challenges. It is important for businesses to adapt to remote work and create strategies to handle remote-first teams.

— The writer is an innovations evangelist and PhD candidate.

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