Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Joseph Kinyua is among long-serving government employees.

Up to 1,707 government employees in managerial and technical positions are past the retirement age of 60 but have been retained due to a skills shortage that has hampered their replacement.

A public service report released last week indicates that the retained workers who are aged above 61 accounts for 0.57% of the government workforce, excluding the Teachers Service Commission workers and those in State agencies.

The ageing workforce comes to about 1,707 employees based on the total 299,500 workers in county governments and those in ministries.

The old b***d retention has been blamed on a lack of a mentoring programme in public service for junior staff to succeed their seniors in executive roles.

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“The challenge of the ageing workforce has partly been addressed through retention in service beyond the mandatory retirement age to provide more time to mentor successors or recruit a replacement, employment on contract term and recruitment in critical areas among others,” the report says.

The report further says 35% of civil servants are set to retire in the next decade, most of whom are in senior management and technical cadres with critical skills and competencies.

This has cast fears of a skills shortage c****s in top positions alongside a pension headache to private sector workers who pay for the upkeep of retired civil servants.

The skills gap has now prompted the government to move towards introducing management trainee plan next year to fast-track graduates into executive roles, trigger promotions and review blanket ban of fresh hiring to ease effects of the ageing workforce.

“The majority of employees in management positions (Job Group P and above) are over 46 years,” states the report.

Only 19% of the civil servants are aged 19-35. Another 13.9% are aged 36-40 while 14% of them are aged between 41 and 45.

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The huge number of civil servants nearing retirement age means the Treasury will have to set aside billions of shillings as pension costs for exiting workers who do not contribute for their pensions.

Private sector workers pay towards civil servants’ pension bill, with economists punching holes in the arrangement, citing the need for civil servants to start contributing monthly to a fund that will pay for their retirement as earlier planned.

Estimates from the Treasury show that the annual pension bill will hit Sh55.6 billion in the current financial year ending June and will rise to Sh71.8 billion in the year ended June 2018, making it one the largest budget items. The bill has risen from Sh15 billion in 2002.

Civil servants were meant to start contributing for their upkeep in retirement in what was expected to reduce taxpayers’ exposure to the burden but the contributory pension scheme has been suspended more than thrice since 2009 when the plan was first mooted.

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(Copyright: Business Daily)

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