A Guide to Working in Indonesia

If the idea of working in South-East Asia appeals to you then you really should consider Indonesia. Although most people choose to work in Thailand and more popular tourist destinations Indonesia offers a great alternative. Depending on your area of interest you can find work throughout different areas of Indonesia like Java, Banten, South Sulawesi, Riau, Sumatra, Bali and Lombok.

A new economic giant has woken up in Asia. Thanks to the explosive progress of the economy, the rise of the middle class and the dynamism of business, Indonesia has become the new El Dorado for Western financial giants. There has never been a better time to consider going to work in Indonsia, let us explain more why this is such a great opportunity.

There are local and international companies based in Indonesia which hire international staff throughout the year. Where you go really depends on your interests and skills, if you have any professional experience then cities like Jakarta might be best suited to you as this is where most professional jobs can be found. But if you are just after flexible holiday jobs then places like Bali will probably be best.


Top Reasons to Work in Indonesia

Indonesia, has the world's 4th largest population and hence the largest economy among the 10 Southeast Asian Nations and one of the most dynamic democracies in Asia Pacific. It has maintained political stability and has emerged as a sure middle-income country. Indonesia has become more and more attractive to foreign investors, travelers, expats and workers.

Here are some other reasons why you might want to work in this country:
  • Discover a new culture
  • Indonesia is a cheap country compared to nearby destinations like working in Singapore and Malaysia
  • Have you seen the islands and beaches?
  • See spectacular places in your spare time


Popular Places to Seek Employment

You find a better chance of getting paid work in tourism hotspots and also the larger towns and cities like:

  • Jakarta
  • Surabaya
  • Bandung
  • Medan
  • Bekasi
  • Semarang
  • Tangerang
  • Depok
  • Palembang
  • South Tangerang
  • Makassar
  • Batam
  • Pekanbaru
  • Bogor
  • Bandar Lampung
  • Padang
  • Denpasar
  • Malang
  • Samarinda
  • Tasikmalaya


Economic Growth

Indonesia was badly hit by the Asian crisis of 1997-98 as its economy shrunk by 13.7%. 

Today, services account for 41% of GDP, industry for 46% and agriculture for 13%. However, 43.3% of the 95 million people in the country work in the agricultural sector and unemployment is over 12%. Despite the strong growth in the last decades, poverty remains the biggest problem in Indonesia, with 17.8% of the population living below the poverty line, while 49% is under two dollars a day. Aswell as paid work in the country, you can apply to volunteer in Indonesia to help communities in need.

Despite some problems it does seem as though the future belongs to Indonesia.. The Japanese and the Koreans are the biggest investors, but the Europeans are following too. Among the famous brands that show the greatest interest are Alstom, Schneider, Total, Lafarge, Danone. Even L'Oréal, which inaugurated in November 2012 its largest factory in the world, near Jakarta.



Indonesia is a major trading partner with Japan, China, Singapore and the United States.

Both the private sector and the government play a key role in ensuring a stable investment climate and still showing significant economic growth which is boosting the job market. Rich with natural reserves, Indonesia has become a leading factor in exporting goods to a range of resources, including crude oil, natural gas, thermal coal, geothermal, cocoa, tin and rubber.

The service, tourism and manufacturing sectors (food and drink, automotive, textiles, electronics and chemicals) are the country's most mature industries to gain employment. Lots of internationals also teach English in Indonesia, join internships or work in seasonal jobs like scuba diving instructors, and tour guides. The creative industry is also now becoming more and more important to the economy, this is helping to rapidly boost growt and future prospects.

All these industries are developing at a rapid rate and are hiring more and more Westerns to work in Indonesia every year. 

There are vacancies in a range of different industries including:


Top Tips How to Get Employment in Indonesia as a Foreigner

  • If you have no previous experience and are totally new to the idea of working abroad a great way to get your foot in the door of a company, especially if you are seeking a professional career is to apply for internships in Indonesia.
  • Applying for postions on jobsites can be frustrating as you are very unlikely to get an interview especially if you live abroad
  • You are best contacting companies direct or seeking out employment locally
  • If you have no knowledge of the local language try to learn basic Sinhalese