Increasing local opportunities for Indonesians who studied abroad

Jakarta. Recruitment consultancy Michael Page Internasional Indonesia sees increasing local opportunities for Indonesians who have studied abroad.

Michael Page Internasional Indonesia president director Olly Riches said multinational companies are adjusting to the administrative complications of hiring foreign workers by opting for Indonesians with similar skill sets, such as bilingualism, sensitivity to local culture and exposure to an international workplace.

“If you’re in Indonesia now with a strong education and good communication skill, this is a fantastic time to be here for the great opportunities,” Riches told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday (08/02).

There is no publicly available official data on the number of Indonesians studying abroad, but some local media reports say there are currently about 60,000 in colleges all over the world.

However, there is an official number of Indonesians currently studying under the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) program, which is administrated by the Ministry of Finance. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani previously said there are 10,406 Indonesians studying at the world’s top universities.

Riches’s comment is based on his company’s first Indonesia-focused report titled “2017 Indonesia Salary and Employment Outlook” released on Tuesday, which is based on a survey involving 335 employers in different industries across the archipelago.

According to the report, 53 percent of employers surveyed expect to recruit new staff this year.

The report also said 58 percent of respondents have employed at least one returning Indonesian over the past year, a trend that is most likely to continue this year.

“It was supply and demand, basically, because there are not enough qualified candidates in the market here,” he said.

The Indonesian government’s plan to increase foreign investment in the country as part of efforts to propel the economy will bring another hiring challenge as talent is thinly spread in Indonesia, Riches said.

Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data shows that Indonesia had 125.4 million working-age people as of August last year, with 7.03 million of them being unemployed.

Nearly 50 million people who are currently employed only have a primary school qualification, while 11 million have university degrees.

To retain top talent, the survey says 82 percent of companies are expected to increase their employee’s income by 5 percent within the next 12 months. That compares with 22 percent in Singapore, 41 percent in Malaysia and 42 percent in the rest of Asia.

Sixty-three percent of Indonesian companies said they will pay their employees a 10 percent bonus this year, compared with 43 percent in Singapore, 39 percent in Malaysia and 37 percent in the rest of Asia.

However, Riches said paying more money is only a short-term solution and not sustainable to retain employees.

“The market is telling us that they are more interested in joining companies that offer a work-life balance,” he said. “When we work with clients, a lot of what we talk about is what is your training, succession plan. […] It’s up to an employer to work out how to communicate that message to all staff, not only to senior management.”

The survey revealed that there are three main reasons employees look for new jobs. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they need a better work-life balance, while 54 percent want a higher income. Forty-four percent said they wanted to improve their skills.

The report also used findings by the Michael Page 2017 Asia Salary and Employment Outlook report that covers market insights and recruitment trends based on the views of more than 3,400 employees in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.