Corporate recruitment in Indonesia: what employers think
Based on a series of in-depth interviews with corporate employers conducted by the AIC and the Monash Indonesia Representative Office, this Backgrounder reveals a number of attitudes and trends related to recruitment and skills gaps in Indonesia, as described by leaders in the corporate sector.
In the future there will be a need for more skilled people in the tech sector, higher value-added manufacturing and services. The gap between skills needed and those available will, in many respects, determine the limits to the growth of the Indonesian economy, especially in an atmosphere in which importing foreign labour is deemed less politically acceptable than slower rates of economic growth.
The Australia-Indonesia Centre, through its Skills Futures work, is very interested in supporting Indonesia’s efforts to raise the skills base of its workforce. Part of this process requires identifying gaps and mismatches between the demands of industry and the skills supplied by the higher education sector.
During September and October 2019, we conducted some 25 in-depth interviews with corporate leaders such as CEOs, COOs and heads of human resources, in enterprises as varied as international financial and corporate services, the banking sector, state-owned enterprises, province-owned enterprises, large family corporations, digital start-ups and listed companies.
“One of the main skills gaps in their graduate recruits from Indonesian universities was leadership skills; critical thinking; a capacity to see the ‘big picture’ of what they were doing.”
- Employers were satisfied with most recruits’ technical competence, but much less satisfied with the soft skills of recruits from domestic universities compared to those educated in Western societies.
- Labour mobility varies a lot by sector, with average turnovers as fast as one year in the digital economy and consulting and much slower rates in more traditional organisations such as state-owned enterprises.
- Millennials, certainly those that are tertiary educated, are more mission driven and less concerned with long-term employment and size of pay cheque (at least in the early stages of their careers).
- Employers prefer to upskill their employees through short training courses, rather than supporting further degrees, which few would consider funding. Regardless, the value looked for in any masters level qualification was the development of soft skills.
- Recruitment approaches vary from print advertising to website and social media, scouting at university campuses and word-of-mouth – some measure of previous connection being seen as adding trust to the deal.
- While Australian education centres, both vocational and tertiary, were well regarded among our interviewees, many see them all as just part of a healthy national system and didn’t differentiate strongly between (leading) institutions.