Indonesia at a Glance
Working in Indonesia
Working in Indonesia probably does not evoke images of tall skyscrapers filled to the brim with offices and busy people dressed in business attire. Instead, an image of white sandy beaches, lush green rolling hills and rice paddies, and lovely temples may come to mind. However, if you plan on working in Indonesia, do not despair, as there are many expats employed in Indonesia.
For its population size of more than 251 million, there is only a 6.1% rate of unemployment, which speaks for itself. Despite the rather hard-hitting Asian financial crisis of 1997, Indonesia’s economy recovered rather quickly and is still showing significant economic growth, a welcome indicator for those planning on or already working in Indonesia.
Indonesia: An Economic Overview
The Indonesian economy relies heavily on domestic consumption, and it has seen increasing investment by local and foreign investors. Generally speaking, however, the economy is very mixed. The private sector and the government play a large role in the economy. The Indonesian government has implemented a long-term development plan for the future in order to stabilize economic growth. Its main goals are to reduce poverty, promote the quality of human resources, improve science and technology and strengthen economic competitiveness.
With a gross domestic product of nearly 1.3 trillion USD, Indonesia is a member of the G-20 major economies. Jakarta is Indonesia’s largest export center in part due to its many ports and its proximity to Asia and Australia. In fact, the Port of Jakarta is not only Indonesia’s largest seaport, but one of the largest ports in the entire Java Sea basin.
Indonesia’s Main Economic Sectors
Indonesia’s main industries are petroleum and gas, textiles and apparel, footwear, mining, cement, chemical fertilizers, plywood, rubber, food and, of course, tourism. Originally with a much larger labor force employed in the agricultural sector, in recent years, Indonesia has moved towards the services sector (now 48% of the Indonesian work force).
The agricultural sector still remains strong, however, with almost 40% of those working in Indonesia employed in agribusiness or subsistence farming. The remainder of those employed in Indonesia work in the industrial sector, which accounts for the largest percentage of the country’s GDP (47%).
Work Opportunities in Indonesia
Most expats in Indonesia are employed by foreign companies, teach English or work in the export sector. As getting a visa for working in Indonesia is not the easiest step in the moving process, it is truly the foreign companies that are an expat’s best bet for finding a job in Indonesia. See our Moving to Indonesia article for more information on Indonesian work visas.
If you are thinking of working in Indonesia and don’t know where to begin your search, Jakarta is not a bad place to start. The capital is not only the financial hub of Indonesia, but is also home to many important industries. Job opportunities abound in the electronics, automotive, chemical, and biomedical as well as mechanical engineering sectors.
Otherwise, younger expats in particular tend to find jobs working in Indonesia as English teachers. There are quite a few jobs for expatriates who are certified either in English as a Second Language (ESL) or in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).
There are some reputable job sites for Indonesia, such as the recruitment agency Jobs DB, Job Street or Workster, which is geared specifically towards expats. They can be useful in finding work before you go to Indonesia.