We remain committed to being a world-class employer and take our responsibility to maintain a productive, supportive and safe working environment seriously. Our vision of transforming lives begins with transforming the lives of our employees and a key aspect of this vision is to create a supportive working environment that allows us to attract, develop and retain the best staff. We continue to measure staff morale using an annual SEMA Survey, staff turnover rates, the Staff Council and the Sema na CEO chat room.


We classify our employees by the following attributes: age; gender; job grade; location; and contract status (permanent or contractor). The size of our workforce increased by 466 people during the year, which was largely the staffing of the new contact centre in Eldoret and new recruits joining the Alpha innovation hub.


The clear majority of our employees remain Kenyans in their 30s, based in Nairobi, with this age cohort still accounting for over 60 per cent of the workforce. There were marginal gains made in the 40s and 20s age groups, and slight decreases in the numbers of employees in the 50s and 60s age groups.

Employees by Age Bracket & Type


While we remain satisfied with our overall gender parity and our 50-50 per cent ratio between men and women, the number of women in more senior positions remains low. We are not satisfied with only 32 per cent of our senior management and 25 per cent of our executive leadership being female. Our target is to achieve gender parity — a 50-50 per cent ratio between men and women — in senior management by 2020.

This is a multi-dimensional issue and one that affects technology companies like Safaricom disproportionately. We recognise that the lack of women in senior positions is an issue that starts at tertiary-level educational institutions, which find fewer women applying to study technology-related subjects, and even earlier, at school. We are addressing this aspect of the issue through our Women in Technology programme, building partnerships with tertiary institutions and visiting schools to raise awareness of potential career options among young female students.

We recognise that women are often required to play many roles outside of the workplace, in their families and in society, which inevitably impacts upon their careers.

In terms of supporting and fast-tracking the careers of the women that join us, we have started a series of interrelated initiatives, including the annual Women in Leadership (WIL) programme, through which a group of female members of staff acquire leadership and career management skills at Strathmore Business School. More than 57 women have attended the WIL programme to date.

The WIL programme is supported by several internal mentoring and support programmes, such as PAA DADA, through which women managers support and coach each other. We are currently planning to expand the PAA DADA initiative and relaunch the She for She programme to ensure that all women receive support and mentoring throughout the organisation. We are also introducing ‘top talent mentoring and coaching’ for women in middle and senior management by members of the Executive Committee in the near future.

The table describes the movement of members of staff during the year by career level and gender. The percentages in the table represent the proportion of the staff population at that career level and gender (not the proportion of the total staff population). As the table describes, a higher percentage of female staff in senior management joined the company during the year, as well as moved laterally within the company, and exited voluntarily. In middle management, an equal percentage of the male and female members of staff exited the company voluntarily.

Diversity and inclusion

We have set ourselves an aggressive target of increasing the number of our colleagues who are differently-abled to 5 per cent by March 2021. We have made some progress during the year, but it was a year of preparation and researching best practices overall.

As well as providing each division with specific targets for the next three years, we began an outreach programme at institutions of higher learning to meet and explore career options with differently-abled people during the year. The purpose of the programme is to learn more about the needs of differently-abled people and to ensure that they are aware of the opportunities we offer.

We have also started working with several organisations, such as the Kenya Union for the Blind (KUB) and the Kenyan Paraplegic Organisation (KPO), to form a network through which we can identify suitable candidates. We are also liaising closely with our existing colleagues who are differently-abled to better understand their needs and challenges, providing them with talent mapping and job shadowing opportunities and interview skills training.

Eighty-five per cent of employees – 4,658 people – participated in the SEMA Survey and five out of the seven categories showed significant improvement.

Staff Morale

We continue to measure employee morale using the Employee Engagement and Manager Index, which is part of our ‘SEMA Survey’, and staff turnover rates. Overall, staff morale appears to have improved again this year, with the latest Index results suggesting that 90 per cent of employees are happy with employment conditions at the company, in general, and are reasonably motivated or engaged with their work. This overall perception of high morale is again supported by a staff turnover of only 5.4 per cent.

The results of the SEMA Survey suggested strong improvement in many areas and continued good performance against benchmarks. Responses to several questions were more than 10 per cent higher than the previous survey, which is evidence of real change. Interestingly, the Kaa Chonjo (SMS) channel appears to be considered the most effective, with a 96 per cent positive rating. The number of employees describing themselves as ‘engaged’ increased from 88 per cent in FY17 to 91 per cent this year and an impressive 97 per cent of employees reported that they are ‘proud’ to work at Safaricom. Belief in both our purpose as a company and the SDG strategy remained at over 90 per cent and 80 per cent of employees believe that the Thrive programme has contributed to their wellbeing.
Members of staff remain able to voice their needs and expectations through a variety of channels besides the SEMA Survey, including the Staff Council and the Sema na CEO (“speak with the CEO”) chat room.

Staff Health and Safety

We take our responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for staff and contractors very seriously and are delighted to report no fatalities this year. One of the Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) sustained during the year was an employee and the other four were sustained by contractors. This satisfying performance is attributed to the tangible commitment of the Safaricom leadership to the importance of employee health and safety, in general, and our focus on road safety over the last few years, specifically, including the recent introduction of the “Tea with Bob” initiative, which has helped drive behavioural change and reduce speed and other traffic-related incidents.