Juri Adrianto, Head of Internal Audit for Bank Kesejahteraan Ekonomi, a member of SeaMoney in Jakarta, recently returned home from the US. When asked about why he made the decision to move back, he seemed almost surprised by the question. “Why wouldn’t I want to come back? It’s home.”

And with that clear and determined mindset, Juri moved back to Jakarta to continue growing his career. Read on for more about his time abroad, what he learnt and why coming home was such a natural decision for him. 

Making the move to the US

After four years of working at KPMG as an auditor in Jakarta, the opportunity came up for Juri to move to California with the company and switch to the consultancy side. He jumped at the chance to move from auditing, a very technical role, to consultancy, a field which relies on soft skills and personal relationships with clients. 

Professionally and personally, the opportunity made sense so Juri made the move across the ocean. On the consultancy side, and operating within a new culture, he was able to hone his soft skills. 

“In the States, I had to develop my soft skills quickly to manage people and clients and think: how do I present in front of the client, even if English isn’t my first language, how do I sell? Doing this work in a different culture has made me confident now on my return home. I know how to deliver my message, making sure it is clear to stakeholders and leadership within the organisation. This experience helped me a lot, and now I feel that these soft skills are my key strength.”    

A natural decision: coming back to Jakarta

Early 2020, with a young daughter and parents who were flying back and forth often from Jakarta to the US, Juri began to look at moving back home as an option for his family to spend more time together. Around the same time, he got a call from Michael Page. It was for an opening as the Head of Internal Audit for Bank Kesejahteraan Ekonomi, which is part of SeaMoney. It was then all the pieces begin to fall into place. “It was a no-brainer decision when Michael Page contacted me about the great opportunity,” Juri added. 

The person who got in touch with Juri was Hermawan Rahardjo, a Senior Consultant at Michael Page Indonesia. Having never engaged a headhunter before, Juri did not quite know what to expect at first. However, after the first few conversations, Juri was pleasantly surprised by how much Hermawan was able to help, from salary negotiations with SeaMoney to insights on Indonesia’s economy. So impressed was Juri that, when he needed to assemble a team of his own in short order, Hermawan was his go-to consultant for the job. 

“Michael Page helped open my eyes that compensation and opportunities can be as great in Indonesia as anywhere else, if not better. Companies, especially within tech, really appreciate the talent they get and are willing to compensate for the skillsets you have.”

Juri with his KPMG colleagues at his farewell

Adjusting back to life in Jakarta

Juri’s transition with his family back to Jakarta was pretty smooth and seamless without any major roadblocks. Looking back at the year, he feels even more grateful that he made the decision right before COVID-19 changed the way the world works and travels. 

At the office, Juri felt at home again, appreciating that it was easy to get back into the working culture. Only one big difference between the US and Indonesia stood out to him the most: communication in the workplace.

“I think that anywhere you will find people with different work ethics, those who have more or less enthusiasm for work, and you will find hardworking people around the world. The only difference I noticed is the people in Indonesia keep their opinions to themselves, especially when speaking with management, whereas people in the US are usually very straightforward, saying what they think without focusing much on hierarchy.”

He has made an effort to continue this direct and open communication that he brought back from the States. “I am currently building up the internal audit team, and I try to bring that culture of open communication to my team. I always tell them that even though I am the leader right now, it doesn’t mean that I am always right, so please speak up. I would rather have my team correct me than someone else!” 

Embrace the unexpected

Juri’s advice for other returnees is to embrace whatever makes Jakarta home. “I always say that Jakarta is beautiful chaos. There is wonder behind the chaos, and you never know what will happen. Some people accept that excitement, some people fight against it. So my advice for returnees is to accept how things are and remember you’re coming home. It’s natural: where you grew up, where your family and friends are, where your roots are. What prevents you from going home? Nothing.” 

Professionally, Juri says that the best part of being back in Jakarta is his deep understanding of the culture and communication styles. “I know the culture, the people, the language. I know when people are feeling stressed or overworked. That’s a big advantage for me, as I’m leading a team.” 

Indonesia, an attractive place to grow a career

One of the biggest changes that has occurred in Indonesia in recent years is the increase in job opportunities for professionals at all levels. Juri noted that jobs exist in Jakarta that wouldn’t have even a decade ago, and many people who are abroad may not realise just how much the city has changed. 

“Living in the States, I saw Gojek, Grab, the other tech startups and unicorns and realised how much growth is happening in Indonesia right now. While there’s a certain feeling of prestige to being able to say that you work and live abroad, I think that professionals should consider the options they have if they come back. Not only is this where you grew up, where your culture and family are, there are so many opportunities that you may be able to come back to a better salary or position.” 

Bright spots for Indonesia’s future

With the fourth largest population in the world, Indonesia’s future is bright and full of potential. With a more stable political climate, Juri sees a lot of growth opportunities within the economy. 

“I see a lot of my friends coming back home from the US, particularly from the Bay Area and building up their own startups, and that’s the future for Indonesia: young people who are not afraid to make mistakes, but learn quickly from them and get better. This kind of mentality will be the future of Indonesia. I’m really optimistic about this country - with the right government and stability - the future is bright for these younger generations.” 

Ready to make the return back to Indonesia? Read more about our Membangun Negeri programme to help. 

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