Nairobi’s Underrated Jobs With Hefty Earnings

  • Life in Nairobi can be daunting especially for millions of young people looking to earn a decent living after completing their education.

    Although Nairobi was recently listed as one of the best investment cities in Africa, landing a job – a decent job – is not a cakewalk.

    Thousands of Kenyans have moved to the city with hope of securing well-paying jobs, at least for those who have an education. Many others toil on the streets of the city in search of daily menial jobs just to earn a living – any kind of living.

    Sadly, hopes and dreams of these young Kenyans is often met with the hard hitting reality of the city life. That Nairobi city life is quite expensive, and that every penny counts.

    Buyers and sellers pictured at Gikomba second-hand clothes market in Nairobi County on January 20, 2019.

    Buyers and sellers pictured at Gikomba second-hand clothes market in Nairobi County on January 20, 2019.

    Daily Nation sort to find out how some Kenyans have managed to manipulate the Nairobi’s unrelenting reality with the hope of encouraging more youths to change their perception about joblessness.

    Hawking is one of the highly paying jobs in Nairobi, yet often neglected by many residents. A lady who is currently at the university, said that her mother has been a hawker in Nairobi the whole of her life.

    Her father on the other hand sells metal scraps in Ngara. According to her, their family owns a two bedroom house built on a prime plot in Nairobi.

    “My father pays for my university school fees, and those of my two younger sisters. One take away lesson from this is that cheap sells,” she shared.

    While she acknowledges that dealing with county officers can be tiring for any hawker, and the negative impression that people have on them is always discouraging, she says one needs to take each day at a time.

    That is not the only success story in Nairobi’s streets.

    A lawyer recently admitted to helping a lady hawker who sells second hand clothes in Nairobi’s Gikomba market to buy a Ksh12 million property. She said she had saved the money in a period of three years. 

    It’s the same story in the transport industry where some touts make as much as Ksh4,000 per day.

    The transport industry can be lucrative especially because city residents are always moving to and from their work places.

    Then there are boda boda riders who make over Ksh2,000 daily, which translates to approximately Ksh60,000 a month. The only advice is that one needs to ride their own motorcycle if they are to make any profits.

    Street vendors who sell eggs and smokies are also a happy lot in Nairobi. That is because its income ranges between Ksh3,000 to Ksh5,000 per day – but again depends on the choice of location.

    Another highly disregarded job is that of operating kibandas (food booths).

    On average, a kibanda business can earn over Ksh40,000 on a daily basis, but this also depends on the location. Many operators target town centers and spots frequented places by workers who cannot afford meals in high end hotels.

    The other business that is doing well is butchery. has learnt that people working in slaughter houses are paid Ksh 1,500 for every cow they slaughter, and Ksh 500 for every goat slaughtered. On a good day, an individual can take home Ksh 8,000.

    Then there is the rental business – specifically bamati houses that dot most slums. Some of these landlords collect us much as Ksh 500,000 per month as Nairobians rush to occupy low-rent houses.

    The other lucrative business is in garbage collection – although it is not for the feeble as it is infested with hard-headed cartels. It has money though – and with the right connection.

    Other well- paying jobs, but which many will most likely ignore include, salons, hardware, car washes, and retail shops.

    An aerial view Nairobi, Kenya's capital city

    An aerial view Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city


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