HRBoss Blog

Developing Talent – A Task of the Highest Priority

Indonesia is currently one of the most important players in the world’s economy. During the hardest periods of the global economic slowdown, it has successfully maintained its growth at more than 6 percent every year. This is a good indication of its healthy portfolio and Foreign Direct Investment keeps flowing into the country.

This level of Foreign Direct Investment which is booming in Indonesia will not be sustained long term if the country does not improve both infrastructure and professional talent. Yes it can quickly build bridges and roads, commercial buildings and transportation, as well as housing and entertainment centers. However, developing talent should be the top priority for the nation because as the business grows, qualified professionals are needed even more. In the long run, the success of developing infrastructure will not contribute very much to the countries progress under incompetent management.

As the economy moves on and value is added to the workforce and the products, highly skilled and experienced professionals are in great demand. Companies can no longer sell only products, they have to sell solutions. Therefore, products and services have to become one and they are very hard to differentiate from each other.  At this level, talent is extremely crucial for the success of a business. The demand for professionals continues to rise and the country has shown a significant shortage of skilled talent.

Logically, this thing should not be happening because we have a population of 240 million people. So, it clearly shows that there is something going wrong and the most probable thing to blame is our education system. Good quality education is a highly priced commodity and it is not accessible by the majority of the population. Those who are in the higher levels of society may get the benefit of high quality education or may have the ability to travel abroad study. If that is not the case, then our education system does not work the way it should. Education institutions including universities and training agencies should be able to learn the current and future needs of employers. They should be able to plan ahead of the game so that by the time certain innovations and businesses are created, the talent supply is ready. Often, when the new curriculums have been designed, other hiring trends emerge and these curriculums may not be relevant anymore.

How many education institutions make publications about the current skills being demanded by employers? What are the most sought after attributes in the job market? What kind of positions are employers struggling to fill? Those are questions that should be answered through a research and data collection. Without the ability to answer those questions, it means the education institutions and employers are moving in different directions.  They should in fact being walking side by side towards common goals.

In the short term, education institutions should react quickly to this issue because they can redesign the curriculum and work hand in hand with local employers. For the long run, let’s not forget the government. They play an important part in ruling and governing education institutions. They should take immediate action by making quality education a priority. To achieve this they should allocate a larger budget for education, track progress, and make new policies as well as regulations to support students in order to help them in our rapidly changing world.

About the Author:

Ahmad Iqbal, Founder and CEO - Executive Walk

Ahmad is 2007-2009 Fulbright Grantee from Indonesia who went to study in the United States under Community Colleges for International Development (CCID) Program. He obtained his Associate's Degree in Business Management from Kirkwood Community College as well as completed a two year American Cultural and Political Learning program funded by CCID. As part of the program, he also sharpened his skills and knowledge in recruitment by working as an intern recruiter at PAETEC Telecom in Iowa, USA. His last career ladder was to work at an international recruitment firm as an executive recruiter before he started