Digital talent development in accelerating digital competitiveness

From the perspective of Caesar Indra, President of Traveloka

Indonesia is estimated to be Southeast Asia’s biggest player in the digital economy. What are the challenges to encourage the reinforcement of the digital economy in Indonesia?

Research by the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2021 showed that Indonesia is ranked 53rd of 63 countries. Another index, Global Innovation Index which measures a country’s innovation capability, reported that Indonesia has remained in the same position from 2018 to 2020, which was the 85th rank. In 2021, Indonesia fell to the 87th rank out of 131 countries. This demonstrates that the high value of the digital economy has not paralleled the growth of digital competitiveness in the country.

The biggest challenge is building exceptional digital human resources. COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many institutions to do digital transformation, which highly affects the demand for digital human resources. However, this high demand is not yet in-line with the availability of a competitive digital workforce. We believe that collaboration across sectors between the industry players, government, society, and other stakeholders is one of the keys to enhance and equalize digital talents in Indonesia. With collaboration in the ecosystem, we are optimistic that digital transformation could develop rapidly.

Considering the massive market potentials in Indonesia, digital adoption becomes a requirement. What synergies have been established between Traveloka and other stakeholders to support digital distribution to regional areas?

Aside from actively contributing to building competitive digital talents through numerous initiatives, including Bangkit and Independent Campus Programs, we consistently provide educational and training programs for our partners across Indonesia to adopt digital technology. We hope the outcome of these measures is two-pronged: assist our partners, especially the MSMEs in small towns in digitizing their products, and improve customer outreach to increase sales. 

The benefit of adopting digital technology is evident in a pandemic era. One of our car rental partners in Bali revealed that since the start of the pandemic, their only source of income comes from online platforms such as Traveloka. Before the pandemic, most of their customers placed direct orders or offline. It shows that digitizing a product or service is capable of generating business during hardship. 

Traveloka is one of the founding partners in collaborative initiatives of Google and The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Kemendikbudristek (Kemendikbudristek) in the Bangkit Program. How does that create digital talents?

Due to the high demand for quality digital talents in the present and future, we hope our fostered digital talents make significant impacts on both the community and country. This includes the talents partaking in the mentoring program of 3,000 young developers across Indonesia. In Traveloka, the high demand for digital talents also motivates us to prepare better appeals and offers to our digital talents, such as flexibility, work culture, space for self-development and compensation.

Sustainable investment is the current crucial issue for potential investors. What is your perspective on this?

Sustainable investments have grown exponentially in the past few years. It is evident from the increased in Assets Under Management (AUM) that consider the Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) factors prior to investment. Based on the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), ESG-integrated AUM has generated nearly US$ 120 trillion in 2021.

Some contributing factors to this development are the corporate and community increased awareness of the impacts of climate change, change in consumer behavior (especially, millennials and GenZ) regarding eco-friendly products, and appeal or regulations applied to investors or corporates to manage and reduce environmental and social externalities. Accordingly, Traveloka’s ambition is to proactively address ESG-related issues in relevant industries by, for example, accelerating the digitization of MSMEs actors, protecting customers’ data privacy, and minimizing the environmental cost of our operations.