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Working in Jakarta?

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Henrik Olsen

Living in Indonesia, from Norway

"I was amazed how many other members in Jakarta share the same interests as me. And some of them come from Norway, too ! "

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Living in Indonesia, from USA

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Jakarta at a Glance

Working in Jakarta

Are you thinking of working in Jakarta, aka the “Big Durian” or “Big Apple”? Indonesia’s capital and largest city, as well as its economic and political center, has plenty of job opportunities. Our guide on working in Jakarta provides info on the economy, visas and health.

As is common for many megacities, Jakarta encompasses all walks of life from wealth to poverty. Although most people with jobs in Jakarta’s center and its skyscrapers are quite well off, the other side of the coin is a wide strip of slum landscape surrounding the city. Living and working in Jakarta means having to put up with these discrepancies and being able to deal with them. Working in Jakarta will, like any move to a foreign city, have its ups and downs.

Jakarta: Economic Overview

Much of the economy in Indonesia is dependent on government funding. Expatriates looking for a job in Jakarta will have more luck in the service sector, or the financial, banking and trading sectors. Jakarta is home to the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), which has a significant influence on global markets.

In general, Jakarta’s industrial sector includes the electronics, automotive, chemical, mechanical engineering, and biomedical industries. Natural resource mining, such as oil, gas, coal and gold, is also of great importance. All these fields offer lots of employment opportunities for expats. Most of these sectors are currently expanding, and the Indonesian economy in general grew an estimated 6.2% in 2012, driven by increasing foreign investments and huge domestic demand.

In addition, insurance companies play a huge role in Jakarta’s economy. The Jakarta Central Business District (CBD) hosts a number of tall skyscrapers which all carry the names of high-end Indonesian insurance companies. While interesting for expats working in Jakarta, it is, unfortunately, rather difficult to find work with one of these companies. Private foreign insurance companies are not allowed to operate in Indonesia. However, it should be noted that quite a few foreign entrepreneurs active in Jakarta’s insurance sector are successful in running a joint venture.

Due to the high rate of corruption Jakarta has seen in past years, the government has begun to severely fight this and is trying to improve the investment and business climates for locals and foreigners working in Jakarta.

Expat Jobs in Jakarta

Apart from intra-company transfers, the job market for expats interested in working in Jakarta is quite restricted due to the difficult visa regulations (see the next page). However, some job opportunities are still available. If they do not successfully find employment through a large overseas company, many expats (especially recent graduates) end up moving to Jakarta to teach English, for which there is presently a very high demand.

Additionally, there are a number of online job sites which provide listings for openings in Jakarta. If you are highly skilled in a certain field, you will have more luck acquiring a work visa and a job. Many international companies located in Jakarta have a number of job listings on their websites. IT companies, insurance companies (except for the high-end Indonesian businesses), brokerage firms and the export sector are a good place to start looking for a job in Jakarta. Also check if your home country’s foreign chamber of commerce in Jakarta offers a membership directory (a good starting point for unsolicited applications), or even a job newsletter or online job exchange.

What is more, in recent years, Jakarta has seen an increase of franchises, particularly restaurant chains, being bought up across the city. This is a good opportunity for expats to get a feel for what working in Jakarta is like.

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