What is Considered a "Good" Salary in Urban Kenya?

This question was asked sometime back on Wazua. Don’t think there was much of a consensus. Also, most said 500K-600K per month and let’s be real… Jobs that pay such in Kenya are very few and far between and are very senior positions which usually require many many years of experience and there is no guarantee you’ll get to that salo even after toiling for all those years.

So I wanted to pose the same to Talkers. I know this is subjective and what might be comfortable for one might be peanuts for another. Also, pay varies across the various industries. It’s also a well known fact that the cost of living in the big city is way higher compared to living upcountry, which unfortunately is also not for everyone.

So, assuming you’re in Nairobi or the other major towns/ cities, what could be considered a well-to-do pay package:

  • For a fresh graduate?

  • For a graduate with 5-10 years experience?

  • For an experienced professional with over 10 years’ experience?

  • For a corporate executive?

I will give my scenario here: Let’s assume you are the typical university graduate, Masters & professional courses done, 5 - 10 years solid experience. I would consider your salary good if:

  • You live in a house/ neighborhood you consider “comfortable” (as in you chose a place coz you actually like it, its location and amenities and not because it was within budget) and your rent is no more than 30% of your net.

  • You’re also able to afford to drive at least a basic but decent set of wheels.

  • Your wardrobe isn’t made up of knockoffs but quality original wear, both official and casual.

  • Despite starting off with paying the above rent, you can afford to consistently put something aside monthly for buying or building your own home.

  • Apart from your own home, you’re also working on other investments to bring you solid future income streams (see disclaimer below).

  • You can afford at least one quality outing per month with your loved one or your family and December holiday plans (when well thought out) don’t break the bank. Outings outside Nairobi are a plus and eateries where you don’t go to eat “chips” but an actual meal are what I have in mind.

  • You have insurance and a pension plan.

  • Even though your kid(s) are toddlers, you have already started contributing consistently to an education plan.

  • You can maintain emergency savings equivalent to six months’ your pay. Speaking of which:

  • You hardly ever ask for payroll advances and you actually know what disposable income means.

Would love to hear what people consider good for the different stages of one’s career and the justifications.


DISCLAIMER: This article is written for those in employment. For the self employed/ entrepreneurs, please remember that not everyone is built for biashara and I have seen many burn themselves badly by chasing what wasn’t for them and they left behind very solid and promising employment.

Following …

i think working with a salo of between 150k -200k will do fine, ikienda chini sana 100k. if one is to have the lifestyle you’ve stated above. But what i appreciate most is when you find people with low salary having financial discipline hadi guys with six figure salary wanakuja kuchukua ka soaft loan.

It’s not an ideal world and market forces are not obeyed in this job market

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nafuata sana

btw what always takes place here>>>>>ama ni ile methali ya more money more problems:(:(:frowning:

Depends on the organization you work for especially private sector . Some hire fresh graduates with starting salos of 250k,
But I would say that in urban Kenya(Nairobi) it should be at least 70k if you are single and living in a one bedroom in a decent neighborhood. And at least 100k if you are married with one kid.

iyo methali ni kweli… way back there was a time my salo was adjusted upwards , let me just say i got into more financial mess than before. you start with changing brand ya pombe, your circle of friends, your hangout joints, your clothing trends, your phone upgrades, the number of lanyes increase…basically it was a whole lifestyle change and i was always in debt in trying to catch up… Something had to give

Of course it’s not an ideal world but the power still lies with you when it comes to chasing or pushing for what you truly deserve. Knowledge is power!

Am an entrepreneur so let me chill apo kwa corner nikisoma ua comments.

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This i think would be the ideal average figures even when negotiating for salary during interviews:
Fresh graduate - 50k - 100k
5 - 10 years expreience - 100k - 150k
professional over 10 yrs experience - 150k - 200k
Corporate - 200k and above

Dude, I agree with your ranges above. I can confirm that my scenario above also had 150-200k (GROSS). 200k if possible coz that leaves you with a net of 144k assuming no other deductions…

and actually the above ranges are actual findings from my circle of friends(me included) working in various fields… this should not demoralise anybody who finds he’s lower than the range he’s supposed to be in but act as a pointer towards the potential he/she holds and if you are above the range, then you are one blessed maafaka

144k is a good salary by all means, but it cannot afford the lifestyle you listed in your original post. Personally I think one would need 800k and upwards (net) especially if you have 2+ school-going kids. The world has changed; we now live in a global village, so the cost of living across many cities around the world is not that different. Yet most salaries haven’t caught up with this reality, leaving many professionals in Kenya in a position where they are not adequately compensated for the value they bring to a company.

Work in a place where least paid earns 150k and average salos is 350 k, but ile msoto huwa, wacha salo ichelewe hata na siku moja. Good thing is most guys have taken loans and are either staying in their houses or constructing

200k and below is peasantry, you will always worry about cash.

800k is way on the higher side, lets say 144k would atleast afford 75% of the lifestyle listed. consider there are monthly expenses like rent, food, fuel and others like clothing and medical insurance are not monthly

Exactly, the whole point of this thread!

My scenario above was for most youth in their late 20s or early 30s, usually with a toddler or two at most, not school going kids…