Salary & Employment Outlook

Overview of employment conditions, skills in demand, sector trends and
salary benchmarks in Indonesia


Numbers at a glance

Indonesia has experienced a steady 2016, with bright spots observed in the fast-expanding real estate and e-commerce sectors. What are employers’ hiring intentions for 2017?

Headcount increases


53% of employers surveyed are expected to recruit new hires

Hiring activity


60% of employers who plan to increase headcount say they are actively seeking mid-level employees

Salary increases


82% of Indonesia employers expect to increase salaries by >5% in the next 12 months

Talent attraction and retention initiatives


72% Salary increases

65% Career progression

36% Workplace flexibility

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)


96% say their organisations support D&I

Top 3 focus points for D&I programmes


55% Gender

38% Religion

30% Minority ethnic groups

Indonesia overview

Amid active growth across various sectors, some elements of caution do exist in Indonesia as a result of the current weaker global market sentiment.

Still, companies are confident of moving into 2017, due in part to stronger commitment towards infrastructure spending and general positivity surrounding the country.

Hiring activity will also be buoyed by businesses looking to invest or establish operations in the country. For many companies, having a presence in Indonesia has progressed from a nice-to-have to a must-have. Already, 53% of companies surveyed are planning to increase headcount in 2017, higher than the Asia average of 44%.

The country’s real estate sector is also growing, bolstered by mainland Chinese firms’ land investments. The e-commerce sector is another bright spot experiencing healthy growth both from major players as well as a steady flow of start-ups.

Generally, the country’s positive economic sentiment has generated high demand for qualified candidates across various industries with 60% of companies actively looking for middle-management staff.

However, this has presented serious challenges where hiring is concerned: in many sectors, talent is thinly spread. Candidates switch jobs frequently, often before they have completed projects they have been working on. Competition for qualified talent is fierce, as companies often seek candidates with similar expertise, and want to compare several candidates before making hiring decisions.

In the digital sector, hiring is no easier – employers face a dearth of creative talent, marketing, public relations and e-commerce professionals. This is due to the large number of e-commerce firms rapidly expanding in Indonesia, who are hitting the market hard and fast with large human capital requirements.

Furthermore, the fact that businesses demand local Indonesian talent gives little relief to an already tight hiring market. The ability to attract overseas Indonesians back to the country will help alleviate this challenge — more than half of the companies surveyed (58%) have employed returning Indonesians over the past year and this trend will continue in 2017.


2017 will be a year of significant growth for the country’s digital sector, as e-commerce continues to flourish. E-commerce companies are expected to seek candidates with strong digital skills and product knowledge, particularly in fashion and electronics.

In addition, there is likely to be strong demand for fintech (financial technology), logistics fulfillment, and big data services. The market is generally evenly split between local and multinational players, who are seeking candidates of a similar profile.

More traditional businesses in the fast-moving consumer goods, consumer and retail sector are beginning to recognise the importance of going digital. However, many are limited in their understanding of what digital exactly entails, which could result in wrong candidate fits for job types.

Adding to such challenges is a shallow talent pool exacerbated by candidates moving around more frequently than in other sectors. As a result, it is difficult to determine what keeps these candidates motivated.

In addition, government regulations within the industry, especially within sectors such as e-commerce, payment and fintech, are fast changing.

While current growth may be exponential, funding for e-commerce businesses might slow down in 2018. Consolidation may take place as smaller players exit the industry, or are sold to local conglomerates who are aggressively diversifying their businesses.

Roles in performance marketing, CRM (customer relationship management) and analytics, and product managers.

Candidates who are skilled in search engine optimisation and social media will also be highly sought after.

In this market, candidates can expect to receive between 20 and 30% increments when they switch jobs, in addition to stock options.

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Engineering & Manufacturing

Indonesia's consumer goods industry has seen a steady recovery, which is expected to continue through 2017. As a result, related business-to-business companies, such as those in chemicals, packaging and ingredients, are likely to recover as well.

Despite a generally brighter outlook, challenges still exist for businesses. Some manufacturing firms, for example, have started shifting operations to greater Jakarta and cities like Surabaya, Palembang and even Bali to fulfill consumer demands while streamlining costs. Many potential candidates may be unwilling to relocate and firms may not be able to hire the skilled technical professionals needed.

However, this presents career opportunities for qualified candidates who are not based in Jakarta, and those who are looking to return.

The most sought-after candidates in this market are technical experts who have business acumen – in particular, skills relating to manufacturing effectiveness, such as lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, Kaizen, Total Productive Maintenance and 5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardise and sustain).

Roles in manufacturing excellence, lean managers and engineering managers.

As candidates switch jobs, they can expect to receive between 20 and 25% in increments.

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Finance & Accounting

Indonesia's digital, technolgy and e-commerce sectors are positioned for strong growth in 2017. The industrial sector remains a significant source of growth, while the country's consumer business sector is likely to rebound from a lacklustre 2015.

Top financial talent is in short supply, as many candidates tend to move around too frequently to develop a sufficient depth of skills. As a result, top candidates will command premium salaries. Candidates have also shown more interest in joining local firms which have more centralised decision-making processes compared with mulitnational companies. Uncertainty in wider macro-economic conditions will also impact hiring in 2017.

Chief financial officers, financial directors, financial controllers, business controllers, business analysts, commercial finance partners, tax specialists at all levels and finance managers.

Candidates with the following skillsets will be highly sought after: those with experience in commercial finance, who are able to plan and analyse financial data; those with experience in change management, such as cost-reduction projects and new business integration; and tax experts who are skilled at navigating Indonesia’s complex tax system.

In this talent-strapped market, candidates are requesting for between 25 and 35% increments as well as sign-on bonuses to compensate for long-term incentive plans or lost equity as they switch jobs. However, businesses are keeping a keen eye on costs and capping increments at about 20%.

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Healthcare & Life Sciences

Within Indonesia’s life sciences sector, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and food and beverage (F&B) sectors are poised for growth as companies predominantly in the business-to-business space are expanding and building more production lines.

On the healthcare front, medical technology, or medtech, looks to be a bright spot as more technology start-up companies focus more on e-commerce rather than traditional business models.

Increasingly, candidates are required to possess certain product-specific skill sets. This could include having experience as a flavourist, nutritionist, or in formulation. Such candidates are limited and few employers have large enough budgets to attract potential hires.

However, several flavour houses are shifting their labs and plants to Indonesia, presenting an opportunity for candidates.

A significant number of pharmaceutical businesses are also likely to undergo mergers as a result of challenging business conditions. Such companies will seek candidates with international exposure, expatriates, or returning Indonesians, who are limited in supply. As a result of these mergers, some redundancies are likely, meaning more potential candidates will be widely available.

Roles in research and development, top-level medical roles.

Candidates with experience as flavourists, in formulation and in product development are likely to be highly sought after, as are candidates with medical experience.

Candidates are likely to receive between 15 and 20% increments when they switch jobs.

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Human Resources

Manufacturing, logistics, e-commerce/digital services and mining look to be areas of strong growth for Indonesia in 2017.

This growth is driven by several factors. The government, for one, has encouraged foreign investment, resulting in more manufacturers shifting their plants to Indonesia. Labour (blue collar) in Indonesia is also cheaper relative to other South East Asian countries.

The government has also made plans to improve the quality of life for Eastern Indonesia residents by building better infrastructure, resulting in an increased demand for services required.

Mining firms have increasingly been complying with new regulations, a signal that the mining sector might see growth in 2017.

The technology sector is also set to perform well. Since mid-2016, digital financing and financial technology have started gaining ground in Indonesia and are expected to develop further this year.

Many companies are expected to strengthen their mid to senior-level management positions to drive organisational transformation in support of this change.

These developments bode well for the market – a significant number of new firms have been established and existing ones are expanding, particularly in manufacturing and logistics.

In this market, English proficiency, as well as strong leadership skills and experience in change management and business development, are particularly valued.

Roles in talent management, organisation development, learning and development as well as HR business partners.

Those who have strong strategic skills, business acumen and the ability to turn concepts into reality will also be in demand.

Candidates who switch roles can look forward to increments in the region of 20-25%.

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The year looks promising for businesses across diverse sectors, namely insurance, digital and e-commerce and construction.

The country’s fast-moving consumer goods sector, which has traditionally held steady, is also poised for growth, due in part to a strengthening of the country’s middle class. Construction and infrastructure are also likely to grow, driven largely by government intervention.

The impact of new regulations will be significant on the country’s insurance industry. New digital technologies are also likely to draw customers to insurance companies who have modernised their services and service capabilities to go digital.

Unsurprisingly, the digital and e-commerce sector continues to grow. More companies in this space have also become aware of the need for legal expertise and services. Law firms are doing well, particularly in intellectual property, information technology (IT) and financial services.

Over the next 12 months, there will be opportunities for international law firms seeking to expand their regional businesses. Inflows of foreign investment will also boost businesses across various industries and make local players more competitive when hiring high-calibre staff.

Roles in legal and compliance, government relations, public policy and external affairs.

Candidates with experience in compliance and stakeholder management, as well as those with IT/intellectual property technical skills, will also be in high demand.

In this competitive hiring market, candidates with financial services, digital and e-commerce as well as natural resources and legal experience can command between 20 and 30% increments when they switch jobs.

Those in the IT/telco sector, pharmaceuticals, fast-moving consumer goods and construction/infrastructure can command between 20 and 25%.

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The nutrition sector is likely to grow in 2017 as consumers demand more healthy food options, drinks, and multi-vitamins, due to better health awareness. On the flip side, growth in the baby nutrition sector is likely to slow, though companies will likely invest more in marketing to engage their loyal customers.

More domestic companies are looking to put together local management teams. However, high-calibre candidates in marketing are still in short supply, particularly at the director level. The lack of local talent is a concern for start-ups that typically need candidates with a broad spectrum of marketing skills and a certain degree of maturity.

In the talent-strapped technology sector, technology start-ups often look to recruit fast-moving consumer goods talent because of the latter’s skill sets. Candidates are also often happy to make the switch due to generous increments.

Opportunities abound in digital marketing. More companies are investing in the function and adding headcount – even developing entire divisions to focus on this area.

Digital marketing managers, marketing leads, brand managers and marketing directors.

Those who are skilled in digital marketing, social media management, brand activation, brand development, and new product development will be particularly sought after.

Candidates can expect to receive between 20 and 35% increments when they switch jobs.

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Procurement & Supply Chain

The year ahead looks bright for Indonesia's manufacturing, fast-moving consumer goods and e-commerce sectors. Indonesia is making important strides towards becoming the largest market for e-commerce in ASEAN as the country continues to make online shopping platforms' development a priority. As a result, supply chain, transport and logistics businesses - which are an integral part of e-commerce - are set to receive a huge boost as well. Indonesia's geography as an archipelago of islands as well as its strategic location along major sea lanes also bode well for its transformation into a logistics hub.

These market conditions present both challenges and opportunities. On one hand, there is a disparity between the actual calibre of job candidates and employer demands, particularly in the area of operational excellence which is experiencing an acute shortage of talent. On the other hand, overseas Indonesians are particularly in demand for the skills they bring, as well as their international exposure.

Roles in planning, procurement and customer service.

Candidates with skills in commercial supply chain, planning, operational excellence and transformation management will be highly sought after.

In such competitive conditions, candidates who switch jobs can expect between 15 and 25% increments.

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Property & Construction

Due largely to Indonesia’s burgeoning status as an e-commerce hub, there is plenty of activity in the logistics and warehousing sectors, which are predicted to be 'hot areas' for real estate through 2017.

Increasingly, developers, including those from China and Japan, are turning to secondary cities within the country to build more subsidised and low-cost housing to capture sales from middle to low-income segments. This has resulted in an increased demand for project development leads as well as key back-office positions to help put sustainable growth models in place. Sales and marketing positions will also remain in high demand.

Despite a recent re-adjustment in prices following a 350% increase in office rental prices over the past three years, hiring activity within the commercial office sector will remain competitive. However, activity in the high-end residential sector will remain slow, as economic uncertainty, due in part to the 2016 tax amnesty, has impacted short-term outlooks. Still, demand in this space is expected to steadily increase through the next 12-18 months.

As the Jakarta mass rapid transit system MRT edges closer to completion, its impact on real estate, especially especially in the retail sector, is expected to be significant. High demand for space by food and beverage, quick service restaurants, cosmetics and entertainment businesses still remains. Of note, cosmetics and entertainment stores are now also becoming key factors for mall owners.

Roles in project management, planning, business development, operations and leasing.

In general, candidates switching between roles may expect salary increases of 15-20%.

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Indonesia's food and beverages (F&B), consumer goods and ready-to-drink (RTD) product sectors are likely to have a good showing in 2017. RTD is a sizeable business in Indonesia, with an increasing number of local players competing with global brands for market share. Global brands, too, are expanding their presence in the local market both directly and through joint ventures with local players.

On the retail front, a burgeoning middle class has paved the way for more international brands entering the Indonesian market. The beauty industry, in particular, is experiencing stronger demand for new brands and products, while existing brands have upgraded their business models.

Amid these market conditions, there will be a significant volume of new investments and growing businesses. However, the quality of talent might not measure up, resulting in businesses having to pay premium salaries for candidates who may not possess the requisite skills.

In addition, Indonesia’s frequently-changing laws pose a challenge for businesses based in the country. Some examples include regulations prohibiting the sale of alcohol in supermarkets, as well as legislation around the domestic production of mobile devices.

However, on a positive note, growth of the country's e-commerce sector has also meant that more fast moving consumer goods and retail companies are developing e-commerce channels in addition to existing ones.

E-commerce managers, key account managers, national sales managers and regional sales managers.

Those with experience in e-commerce, distribution management, trade marketing, sales strategic planning, business development and data analysis will also be highly sought after.

Candidates who switch jobs can expect between 20 and 35% increments.

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Indonesia's manufacturing, fast-moving consumer goods and retail sectors are increasing their investments in information technology (IT) infrastructure. Numerous businesses have transitioned from IT support to IT core businesses, and there is greater demand for investment in digital development, particularly in mobile.

In this market, talent shortages remain a significant challenge. English-speaking candidates are in short supply, and employers often prefer overseas graduates. These candidates typically switch jobs frequently, and it is a common trend for technology experts to take on project-based tasks rather than to stay on with one particular company.

Businesses are still hiring to improve their infrastructure and to automate their business processes. In these companies, the parent company’s regional strategy is often at odds with local needs. It is likely that the market will see greater demand for cybersecurity services, where talent shortages are especially acute.

Project managers, mobile developers and engineers, heads of IT, roles in solution delivery.

Those with experience in project management, IT change management, business intelligence and information systems are also in high demand. Web and mobile developers, as well as infrastructure and cybersecurity professionals, are also highly sought after.

Candidates looking to switch jobs can expect to be offered 20 to 40% increments.

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Key trends