Alarming tech talent gap in IND, here’s what digital unicorns are doing

December 10, 2019 | by: Dasslin Coral

Potential talent deficit across the Asia-Pacific region threatens talent management and talent acquisition in the tech sector.

Despite a huge labor force, APAC is faced with a growing shortage of skilled workers. According to a global study by Korn Ferry, an organizational consulting firm, the region will face a talent deficit of 47 million skilled workers by 2030 which, unfortunately, could result in about US$4.238 trillion loss in annual business revenue. 

Based on the economic percentage per country, the same study lists Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore among the top markets in the region with the most significant talent shortfalls.

In fact, in Indonesia alone, 50.4% of local employers see talent shortage as the top business concern, followed by low hiring budget (19.2%) and company culture mismatch (13.9%). Now for a country undergoing digital transformation, these statistics are alarming as Indonesia’s tech industry is currently in need of the most digital talent they can get.

Remedy to talent shortage according to unicorns

The demand for tech talent, which includes software engineers, analysts, and data scientists is expected to rise as Indonesia’s digital economy is predicted to triple in transaction volume from US$40 billion in 2019 to $133 billion by 2025, according to a Google-Temasek report.

Yet, the country had a shortfall of nine million digital talents to meet a targeted seven percent economic growth by 2030. 

Quick to resolve these issues are Southeast Asian unicorns operating in Indonesia  – Bukalapak, Tokopedia, Grab, and Go-Jek who started redesigning their HR learning strategies by investing in various local universities to develop and attract more local digital talents.

With a newly opened AI research center at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) campus in West Java, Bukalapak,  offers raw data and funding to the university in exchange for providing them students who are expected to work for the e-marketplace. 

Meanwhile, the competitor e-marketplace, Tokopedia, also opened their own AI research center based at the University of Indonesia (UI) campus in Depok, West Java. The UI likewise signed a memorandum of agreement with ride-hailing rivals Grab and Go-Jek.

In partnership with Grab, UI launched an Engineering Talent Future Leader education program which secures their students an internship opportunity with either Grab’s Jakarta or Singapore offices for between six and nine months. 

On the other hand, rival Go-Jek, with pride as a homegrown unicorn, pledges exclusive internships, joint studies, and priority recruitment for UI students through their GoSquads initiatives. 

Aside from the digital unicorns aforementioned, the government of Indonesia, through the Communications and Information Ministry, is stimulating digital talent programs for the local workforce. 

All these efforts made by the government and private organizations are focused on developing Indonesia’s local talents who can compete on a global level. But more than solving the skills shortage, hiring locals potentially mean a reduction in training costs and employee’s ‘setting-in’ time.

Overall, as per the solution of the Indonesian market, providing support to the academe empowers future tech talents who will fill in the talent gap and solve this workforce shortage in the country. 

Discover more of the best solutions to global talent crunch at the 6th installment of the HR Leaders Asia series in Indonesia happening on the 16th of April 2020 at Grand Hyatt, Jakarta.