Indonesians working abroad: Come home, urges Robert Walters
By Masyitha Baziad January 26, 2016
- Talent war fuelled by growing e-commerce and tech companies
- IT recruitment market most active and competitive in 2015
THE rise of e-commerce and the digital economy, as well as modern technology, healthcare and insurance companies, in the past year will mark Indonesia’s talent war in 2016.
Recruitment specialist firm Robert Walters Indonesia said it saw this trend in 2015, but stressed that all this will be heightened this year since Indonesian companies are looking to build a stronger foothold in the country as well as to expand beyond domestic shores.
“Key requirements in recruitment will be information technology (IT) skills – across the board, but especially in digital marketing, financial technology, and IT software development,” said its country director Rob Bryson (pic).
“The challenge however, is finding skillful workers who have a strong multinational background, commercial skillset, and multilingual ability – especially English.
“Businesses are in competition to assemble the best workforce – however, as the skill shortage hits a higher level of severity, the demand for specialist professionals will continue to outstrip the supply in Indonesia,” he said in a Global Salary Survey report released recently in Jakarta.
It is hard to find such skilled talents in Indonesia, so companies are now looking to convince Indonesians with international work experience to come back and work in the country, the Robert Walters report suggested.
This action comes with consequences, especially in terms of cost. According to the report, these internationally-experienced professionals will ask for premium packages, around 20% to 50% higher than domestic professionals.
And despite their need for such professionals, only 53% of companies covered in the report said they were willing to offer 15% or higher salaries to returning Indonesians.
“Hiring managers must be prepared to constantly assess their total salary packages to ensure they are offering attractive compensation,” said Bryson.
Robert Walters’ Global Salary Survey is an annual review of professional salaries and recruitment trends around the world, now in its 17th edition.
The report covers 24 countries across the world, and is a compiled analysis of permanent, interim and contract placements made across each of the countries where the firm operates.
Rising IT salaries
Disruption in the business landscape – fuelled by startups, as well as e-commerce and technology companies – made the IT recruitment market in Indonesia the most active and competitive in 2015, according to Robert Walters Indonesia.
Candidates are demanding at least 30% salary increments to switch roles, and even those remaining in their current roles are demanding 7-12% salary increases.
Speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) in Jakarta, Robert Walters Indonesia IT consultant Ershad Sonda (pic above) said the republic’s e-commerce players are really serious about grabbing market share locally as well as regionally.
This will create even more demand for software developers, IT infrastructure managers, as well as business intelligence and database professionals, he said.
“The e-commerce industry [in Indonesia] started in 2010 and reached a peak in 2015, and the recruitment growth for this industry will continue over the next two or three years.
“This growth will create greater demand for developers and chief technical officers (CTOs) specialising in mobile and web platforms,” he added.
Indonesia has enacted legislation to bring more IT infrastructure onshore (Peraturan Pemerintah Nomor 82 Tahun 2012), and this would create greater demand for IT project managers.
If that was not enough, the digital transformation wave cutting across industries is also creating demand for mid- to senior-level marketing and brand managers with digital and mobile platform knowledge.
Ershad said there was also consistent demand for bilingual professionals from the IT industry, adding that “this is what has been missing in the country.”
“I would say that looking at IT skilled workers, the country has them, and they are actually quite good, even comparable with their regional counterparts.
“But the problem is that it is very hard to find IT skilled workers with bilingual proficiency and a global mindset.
“Many international firms will come to the country wanting a combination of technical know-how as well as fluency in English, and people with strategic thinking skills,” he added.
This is a gap returning Indonesians can fill, and hopefully transfer their international knowledge to local workers.
Urgently needed: Innovation in education, training
Despite being quite a vibrant and dynamic market, Indonesia has always faced a talent shortage due to the lack of innovation in the education sector, Ershad argued.
“When the market is disrupted by technology and forced to change and innovate, the education system and curriculum in the country stay the same.
“Updating the educational curriculum in the country is easier said than done; it takes a lot of time and effort. By the time it is finally updated, the industry would have moved towards another trend.
“The priority to put graduates into the workforce is there, but it is the approach that needs to be updated, modernised, and disrupted,” he added.
Most of Indonesia’s fresh graduates would need to work at least two to three years in a reputable local company first, before they can land a job with a multinational, according to Ershad.
The good thing about current fresh graduates is that they are naturally active on social media, and this will be a plus point for a company with a digital outlook, he argued.
“Yet the challenge is to train them to use social media in a proper way to meet the company’s rules and regulations,” he said.
In the meantime, while there is still a huge gap between the demand and supply of talents, companies need to step up their in-house training and retraining efforts to keep their employees relevant.
“Education is an ongoing process, and companies need to realise that they are also education institutions for their employees,” said Ershad.
“Yes, it is a huge investment, but a needful one. Pushing internal education and training will not only keep employees relevant and more productive, they will feel more appreciated and hopefully stay longer,” he added.
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