Top 10 earners list unveils remuneration inequality in Kenya

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 8 Aug, 2023 07:00 | 3 mins read
Pay inequality

In the 2023 economic survey, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) points out sectors that pay the highest salaries in the country, highlighting massive inequality in remuneration. While the top sector paid professionals an average of Sh325,000, the lowest in the list took home Sh25,000 per month. 

Experts advice that if Kenya wants to create an inclusive and prosperous economy, addressing this imbalance must become the main agenda for government policymakers and all business leaders going forward.

NGO sector

At the summit of the list is the non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Renowned for their impactful work especially in humanitarian issues, NGOs are also recognised for their generous compensation packages. The average monthly salary in this sector soared to an impressive Sh325,000, outshining all other industries in the country.

Foreign-backed NGOs, in particular, had long been known for their ability to attract top talent and offer competitive remuneration. Their well-funded operations enabled them to rely on highly skilled professionals, making them dominant players in the top-paying sector.


The energy sector secured the second position, dethroning the financial services sector from its former reign. With an average monthly salary of Sh182,000. The sector became an increasingly attractive domain for job seekers and seasoned professionals alike.

The rise of the energy industry as a high-paying sector was fuelled by increased foreign investments. Foreign entities recognised the immense potential of Kenya’s energy sector, leading to a surge in job opportunities within the electricity and gas business. Employees in this sector saw their monthly salary increase from Sh173,103 in 2021 to Sh182,346 in 2022.

Financial services

Financial services, despite being displaced from the top spot, retained its status as a sector with high remunerations. Bankers and insurers, in particular, continued to be the top earners within the finance sector, drawing average monthly salaries of Sh181,000. The resilience of the financial services industry, even amid tough economic circumstances, underscored its significance in supporting Kenya’s economic growth and stability.


The entry of foreign companies in the space helped lift pay in the sector as local companies were forced to match the rising pay to an average of Sh150,000 per month. The sector continues to expand offering varying opportunities including cybersecurity, networking and telecoms among others.

Wholesale and retail sector

In fourth place was the Wholesale and Retail sector which offer an average monthly salary of Sh78,000. As a dynamic sector marked by entrepreneurial spirit and commercial activity, the retail sector provided employment opportunities for a vast number of Kenyans. From bustling markets to modern shopping complexes, this sector played a crucial role in driving consumerism and economic activity.


Manufacturing claimed the sixth position on the list, rewarding its employees with an average monthly salary of Sh51,000. With its roots deeply entrenched in the nation’s industrial development, the manufacturing sector remained a significant contributor to Kenya’s economy. Despite facing stiff competition from global markets, Kenya’s manufacturers continued to persevere, providing livelihoods for thousands.


Agriculture, the backbone of the nation, took the seventh spot on the list, offering an average monthly salary of Sh33,000. The agriculture sector was not only the primary source of livelihood for millions of Kenyans but also the key to ensuring food security and sustenance. However, the discrepancy between its average salary and those of other sectors raised concerns about income inequality within the formal economy.

Real estate

Real Estate followed closely, with an average monthly salary of Sh28,000. The sector embodied dreams of home ownership and property development. While both sectors contributed significantly to Kenya’s social fabric, their comparatively lower salaries highlighted the need for fair wages and better labour practices.

Household sector

The household sector paid an average of Sh26,000 per month. This sector represented domestic workers, cleaners, security and gardeners who toiled behind closed doors.

Water supply and waste

The water supply and waste sector offered an average monthly salary of Sh25,000 per month. This is the sector where men and women worked tirelessly to ensure clean water flowed through taps and waste was disposed of responsibly. Their essential services were critical to maintaining public health and environmental sustainability.

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