Nairobi - Post Report Question and Answers

What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Many family members work at the embassy. Others work in the international schools or remotely. There aren't a lot of part-time jobs available at the embassy but I do think this is something post is working on changing. Working on the local economy is allowed, but people typically don't as pay isn't good. Many have their own small businesses though. - Mar 2024

Most spouses either work remotely or at the Embassy. I don’t think local salaries would be competitive for US workers. - Aug 2023

Some telecommuting, most work at the embassy. - Mar 2022

This is important: YOU MUST HAVE WORK AUTHORIZATION FOR VOLUNTEERING. A lot of people have been skirting the employment rules and the government has been cracking down on it. This goes for volunteering and for paid employment. What do spouses do? I worked in the private sector in tech. I was able to find work easily enough, both in Kenya and remotely. However, it all depends on your industry and specialty. Not a lot of people do what I do. Most of the spouses I met had a hard time finding work. I can't comment on salary scales. It varies. - Aug 2021

Most are at the embassy for us; things seem to be slow to ramp up after the hiring freeze. - Dec 2018

Most spouses who want to work, do so at the embassy. There was that hiring freeze when we first arrived, so spouses weren't working for the first year or so of our tour. It's been really tough on a lot of the EFMs. There is a bilateral work agreement with Kenya, which is great. Unfortunately the rate of pay here is incredibly low, so any job you find won't be worth the trouble, as you'll be making literal pennies on the dollar. - Dec 2018

This is a major problem and probably one of the only things I do not like about living here. Many spouses seem to have great difficulty finding work and it is getting harder as it seems to get more difficult to get a work visa. I have heard of many expats who have moved here for work and have not been able to get their visas renewed. I have not been able to find work here and not for want of trying. Most expats spouses who are working either find work at the embassy or own their own business. - Jun 2018

Many expat spouses stay home, as locally available jobs are somewhat scarce and pay is low. - Jul 2016

No - Sep 2015

Yes, at the embassy and some NGOs. Many people find jobs by word of mouth and by networking. - Aug 2015

YES. And the American Embassy is very aggressive in hiring EFMs. - Jul 2015

Yes, although is it hard to get a permit for work outside the Embassy. - May 2015

I believe so. - Jun 2014

There are some opportunities. A lot of spouses have jobs outside the embassy, working for NGOs, schools, charities and other stuff. - Jun 2014

Maybe, but the local economy pays poorly so most spouses work at the Embassy or do not work. - Mar 2014

If you don't mind being paid peanuts. - Jun 2013

Not really, at least not at the salary levels that you had at home. The Kenyan workforce is generally well-educated and unemployment is very high, so jobs go to well-qualified Kenyans before they go to expats. - Dec 2012

There are some in expat organizations and some in the local community. Most people who are really looking find something. - Aug 2012

Yes, with NGOs. Just don't let them send you off to Somalia. - Dec 2011

Even volunteering (except very casual volunteering) requires a work visa, and finding anything on the economy is challenging. That said, there are quite a lot of spouses working in the embassy in good positions. This is a great post for those who wish to be a stay-at-home-mom/dad or homemaker. Household help is easily available and well worth having. Those with a passion for certain causes can become involved in the community, be active in their children’s schools, Bible studies, volunteers, hosting social events, etc. - Dec 2011

Not that I know of, but the embassy hires quite a few people. - Dec 2010

No. - Dec 2009

I doubt it, when you have college-educated Kenyans willing to work for peanuts. - Jul 2009

It's hard to get a visa to work but if you get with a good NGO, the UN or the Embassy they can get you a visa. You want to do it on your own? Then be ready to pay bribes, large ones. - Jun 2008

Yes, if you have specialized skills that local NGOs are looking for, but in general professionals will be competing with highly educated Kenyans and are often a bit frustrated. - Feb 2008

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