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Emerging Jobs in Emerging Markets: Indonesia’s Fastest Growing Jobs May Surprise You

Written by Alvin Hew
SIS Group of Schools, Board Director

Emerging Jobs in Emerging Markets
Indonesia’s Fastest Growing Jobs May Surprise You

We believe the core responsibility of any school is to prepare its students for the future. This means getting them into the right universities. But more importantly it’s about helping them get jobs in which they will thrive. While a consensus is forming that building resilience, character and STEM skills is a clear path forward for prescribed educational journeys, we cannot ignore the demands of the job market. In a digital world, Indonesia with its enormous population of digital natives is well placed to play a critical role in the future of the region and indeed the world.

Digital natives do not “go online” – they “live online”.

Asia’s rapid economic development means it will soon account for two-thirds of the global middle class by 2030. Indonesia’s own middle class is expected to double from 74 million in 2017 to 141 million by the year 2020. With a median age of 28-years and more than half the population under 30, Indonesia has a unique opportunity because this massively upwardly mobile group are digital natives1. Digital natives do not “go online” – they “live online”. They grew up with the Internet and platforms.

With an extremely active technology start-up scene, much has been made recently of the “unicorns” to have come out of Indonesia such as Bukalapak, Traveloka, Tokopedia and GoJek. It’s no accident that a tech-savvy middle-class is driving the region’s fastest growing travel, online-shopping and ride-hailing applications. And with 72% of Indonesians using smartphones to access the Internet2 this is very much a mobile internet story, with Indonesia potentially a digital hub for mobile app creation and deployment around the region. So what types of jobs does Indonesia need to achieve its lofty goal?

According to LinkedIn, the jobs with the fastest-growing demand in Indonesia for the period (2013 – 2017) were:

  • Back End Developer
  • Data Scientist
  • Android Developer
  • Full Stack Engineer
  • Front End Developer

Each of these jobs requires a mix of technical skills that often fall outside of the curriculum of formal education. Skills in cyber security, Java, MySQL, PHP, HTML and mobile application development are in ever-increasing demand throughout the entire region. This means Indonesian firms must also pay higher salaries for employees with these skills or face cherry-picking from regional competitors. What’s more, these skills aren’t simply acquired once and then cataloged, they require a commitment to ongoing skills development and a “lifestyle of learning” where unlearning redundant or outdated platforms and skills is just as important as learning new coding languages.

The good news is Millennials are well aware that they need to continually develop their skills, especially around technical, interpersonal and IT skills3. Therefore, it is up to educational institutions, public private partnerships and industry to form more efficient linkages in order to make relevant training available.

Given the right head start in school and clear opportunities for skills development, the future of Indonesia is indeed bright, young and digital.


1Balmaceda, Sofia. Emerging Jobs: Indonesia – the fastest growing jobs in the country. Retrieved from: https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions/cx/2019/PDF/linkedin-emerging-jobs-report-indonesia-final.pdf

2Ryder, Guy. 22 Oct 2018. Skills For Employment.org Retrieved from: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/10/tech-disrupt-jobs-fourth-industrial-revolution-ilo/

3Indonesia’s growing middle class expected to drive outbound mobility. 28 Jun 2017. ICEF Monitor. Retrieved from: http://monitor.icef.com/2017/06/indonesias-growing-middle-class-expected-drive-outbound-mobility/