A sustainable education and curriculum improvement: key drivers of digital-skilled workforces in Indonesia, a survey of EV-DCI

May 13, 2022

The improvement of education and curriculum has become a key to driving the quality of digital human resources in Indonesia. The finding was based on the Companies Perception to Indonesia’s digital Competitiveness survey contained in the East Ventures-Digital Competitiveness Index (EV-DCI) 2022 report. The survey was conducted on 71 startups in Indonesia, small, medium, and large (corporates).

Employment becomes one of the essential aspects to encourage digital competitiveness. More companies, both digital startups and large corporations in Indonesia, need human resources with digital skills to promote high competitiveness for their companies and the Indonesian economy.

The Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs research in 2021, estimated, that Indonesia will need 9 million digital manpower in the next 15 years. However, there is still a gap between supply and market demand. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (Kemendikbudristek) estimated that 600,000 people are needed in the technology sector every year. However, the number of human resources that can be produced is only 150,000 – 200,000 people.

It is aligned with the survey results from the EV-DCI 2022 report. Most companies assess the supply of workers in digital companies to be lower than the demand. Meanwhile, digital human resources in companies are relatively high, especially in small-scale companies. Nearly 84% of small-scale companies think that the demand for workers in the digital field is higher than in other areas.

The gap between human resource supply and market demand also creates employment cases for companies. About 75% of medium and large corporations have experienced high employee turnover. Meanwhile, only 42.5% of small startups experienced a similar case. Companies also experience the hijacking of workers as another employment case.

The scarcity of qualified workers causes employment cases. About 67.9% of companies see the scarcity of skilled workers as the leading cause of employment cases. In addition, low loyalty and limited potential for career paths are also other factors in employment cases.

In preventing the emergence of labor cases, around 60.4% of companies think that education or training for workers is the main thing that can be done. In addition, the adjustment of remuneration according to a reasonable rate in the labor market is also a matter for the company to consider.

The low quality of Indonesian human resources and the mismatch between the supply and demand for job graduates have also triggered high unemployment rates among job graduates. According to the Central Statistics Agency data, the percentage of Vocational High Schools (SMK) and higher education graduates who have not worked are 11.13% and 11.85%, respectively. The unemployment rate is quite high when compared to neighboring countries. This is a challenge for Indonesia to improve the quality of human resources to achieve a sustainable digital economy.

Online course optimization and stakeholder collaboration

Several efforts are recommended to improve the quality of digital human resources in Indonesia sustainably. One of them is optimizing the online course platform (MOOC) and increasing collaboration and integration between stakeholders.

These MOOC educational platforms can provide opportunities for many people to get equality and quality education. Currently, Indonesia has several educational platforms that provide online learning from different institutions. However, the quality of the MOOC platform in Indonesia is still lagging compared to outside MOOC educational platforms.

It is due to few universities cooperating with the educational platform, thus causing limited quality courses. In addition, MOOC in Indonesia is still considered an additional learning resource. This means that students’ learning process on the platform cannot be recognized as credit or part of the assessment component.

To optimize the MOOC education platform in Indonesia, collaboration with several stakeholders is needed, such as domestic educational institutions, foreign higher education, industry, edtech startups, research institutions, and the Government. The educational platform can work with the National Professional Certification Agency (BNSP), credible professional institutions such as Corporate Finance Institutions (CFI), and companies that issue specialized certifications such as Alibaba and Amazon to develop online courses.

MOOC education platforms in Indonesia can also take advantage of the quality of these courses to build digital human resources through training or skill enhancement. This increases the number of partners and increases the popularity and recognition of the certifications that participants get.

Collaboration between stakeholders can also improve the quality of education, such as collaboration between the Government and industry to prepare digital human resources of relevant expertise and experience according to industry needs globally.

​​By improving education and curriculum that can prepare quality human resources, boosted by the utilization of digital education platforms through collaboration with various educational and training institutions, as well as collaboration between the government, both central and local governments; related industries, the quality of Indonesian human resources with digital skills will be expected higher. Thus, the mismatch between the supply and demand of workforces could be fulfilled.