The World Bank (2018) estimated that Indonesia will see a shortage of 9 million digitally skilled workers between 2015 and 2030. Furthermore, the study suggests that unless the digital sector is able to meet the yearly demand of 600,000 new talents, Indonesia will remain dependent on other nations to provide the much needed IT and cyber security skills.
While the practice of outsourcing talents overseas is common, and nowadays it becomes more convenient with the rise of the freelance remote “gig economy”, however this has some long-term economical and political implications.
1. Indonesia may pay larger expenses on ‘imported talent’
Developed countries like the United States have a history of delegating most of their manufacturing and IT maintenance work to firms in developing countries, benefiting from lower operating costs and more lenient labor laws.
Having access to technology, capital, and labor, the developing countries eventually compete against the countries who were looking to outsource in the first place.
In the short term, Indonesian firms may benefit from outsourced skills because local talent is in high demand and is currently expensive. However, if Indonesia is complacent in its human resource development, the country may suffer from an overdue talent gap problem in the long run, and may pay larger expenses to countries who are more developed in this field.
2. Indonesia may lose local talents to the highest bidder
On the flip side of the coin, Indonesian firms who are comfortable paying for lower fees for outsourced labor may trigger some undesired long-term consequences — competition among local cyber technology specialists.
In reality, such competition shouldn’t exist as the global demand for these specialists is high. Local talents will seek better opportunities by working for foreign companies. This is likely to occur as the international political landscape is dynamic.
Both scenarios are costly for Indonesia. Indonesian consumers have already adapted the digital-centric lifestyle, yet the labor market and infrastructure for local digital productions is in dire need of improvement.
The Industrial Revolution 4.0 is real, and it has already arrived. This could be the nation’s chance to claim its means of production and develop rich human resources, to export digital products made by local talent. Empowering Indonesia’s talent is one way to ensure the nation’s lasting independence and prosperity.
Xynexis is a cyber security consultant and a qualified assessor for a variety of regulatory compliance efforts. Our workplace culture is a mix of young talent and seasoned experts in the field.