A special thanks to tilyanPristka in Indonesia for sponsoring the Indonesia edition of our Global Startup Report.

In this week’s chapter 28 entrepreneurs share their thoughts on how to find great talent in Indonesia.

We find talented people by interviewing them carefully, we believe that people who are eager to learn have more potential than people who are just smart. We treat our team well by giving them big opportunity to “shout” their mind and feelings, that’s why we call our people a team, and not employees.

@SelimAbdillah / 41studio

Build a good brand, awesome culture, and show great leadership.

@IkinWirawan / WGS

Networking is a must, attend your local startup meetings. You can get reference from each other and talents. Because in Indonesia the startup hubs are very limited you should try recruit in universities to find talent, many of great talents still find a startup a strange concept to them.

Recruiting from an established company is a good way too, some of the good talents I met are wasting away doing menial works. If you can recruit them to join your startup it would be great. Remember, most of them value stability over opportunity in your proposal.

@ChandraUtama / uTekno

Find the talent who graduated not from high profile education institutions, but those who share your vision, they will be easier to work with if you’re on the same wavelength; then don’t forget to provide benefit(s) for them.

@BrahmantyaSakti / TripTrus (PT Jalan Terus Indonesia)

In the context of Internet Technology industry, Indonesia is in the midst of massive shortage of talent. Finding and keeping talent is ever challenging. We don’t have enough university graduates that have specific skills and interest in the technology internet industry.

Few universities produce good quality talent which is normally snapped up by the multinational companies. There are many unpopular technical schools around Java island like Bandung, Malang and Jogjakarta that have great talent because of their nature of self-taught mentality. Many local and global companies sourcing their work to these pool of talent.

Another great way to get acquainted with talent is by showing up at local events and gatherings. There are many of them spread across Jakarta and other big cities in Java. Most notably is gathering such Bancakan in Jogjakarta, FOWAB in Bandung where they have regular meet ups every month.

Retaining talent:

While finding talent is hard, retaining those talent is probably harder. Constant job offers from various companies and the temptation to fulfil their aspiration to start their own companies due to investment money available are the combo.

These young talents have aspiration to be successful, driven by so many success stories globally and few in Indonesia. While base salary is important for them, other perks like flexible hours, stock options and ownership are important, giving them freedom and knowledge development is perhaps something that they look for in choosing where to work

Entity like GDP Labs, run by GDP Venture and CTO On Lee offers wealth of development, knowledge, and training needed for their talent. GDP Venture portfolios spread from local largest forum and internet companies like Kaskus to Blibli.com local e commerce company to startups like Lintas.Me, MindTalk.com, Kurio, NativAds, Bolalob.com, InfoKost.net, Opini.co.id are some of the companies where the engineers can have deep experience.

Keeping your talent to feel that there are is much they can learn from you, and develop their skill set are something that they are really looking for. The current young generation really takes pride in what they do with their working career.

@DavidWayneIka / Lintas.Me

Learn to speak their language. Befriend them.

@JohnWong / FaveChic

Finding great talent is a bit hard here as we do not have good universities, especially in the tech industry. You have to train and educate them.

@Handy / IndoTrading

It really depends on how you define great talent here. To me, finding great talent needs lots of time and effort. You need to connect/ network with universities and some communities; even so, it is still very difficult to find people who are passionate enough in doing whatever they’re good at.

To keep great Indonesian talent, you need to balance between money and passion. If the money is not good, then no matter how challenging the work may be, it won’t keep the talents. The same goes with the passion with not so good money. Indonesian people do consider money very important; just keep that in mind.

@BillyGani / Civimi

Indonesia is overwhelmed with good talent, but not many are great!

Finding them won’t be easy, keeping them is even harder. Finding good talents are not that difficult, you can look up from universities, campuses, or your connections; but finding great talents are definitely difficult. I usually browse through on LinkedIn to find great talents, while for the good ones, I will just post the vacancy through social media or job search engines.

Keeping them is much more difficult. Bare in mind that finding good talents are not difficult, so don’t worry of losing ones, you can always find good talents again. However great talents are difficult to manage. Keeping a good relationship, asking them to be involved in different challenging projects, and of course good pay I think will do. @BayuEkaputra Gellies Media

I acquired talent mostly from connections, networks and headhunters. To keep them, it’s varied on each level. In general, most employees like good company culture and benefits.

The higher level position like to have equity in the company. The sense of belongings will push them.

@FerryTenka / Bilna

Create warm and fun working ambiance in the office is the key to courage members to work without burden and enjoy the work based on their creativity.

@FujiiYoshio / Nusaresearch

First we have to identify the areas to improve on, then we recruiting our ideal candidates, and clarify the exact requirements of the job. After you find the best ones, build a great work environment. Treat them as one big family and as a great team player.

Employee autonomy and flexible workplace practices like working from home are great motivators and can actually help save money too. Due to Jakarta’s non-stop crowded traffic, it would be such an ineffective and inefficient way if employees are forced to come to the office within common office hours (9am-5am).

@HenryYoshi / shoppingmagz

The same thing everywhere, premium salary and/or a little portion of ownership of shares at the company would do. But my strategy is to always keep everyone in my company reminded that they’re all here for a common goal and vision, rather than being in the company because they want to work for his/her manager.

To me, it’s by this principle a great talent is discovered and kept at the same time.

@BennyTjia / Bornevia

Don’t expect that you can find great talent and keep them easily. Education here is VERY BAD. Not bad as in uneducated, but Indonesians have way too many things to learn at school. And at college/undergraduate, they don’t learn how things work in the practical world. So they learn theory, and at best they need to learn more on Job training once accepted into the company.

Now what I do is I create talents. I don’t give a shit about paperwork and certificates. I don’t care if you are only are schooled until elementary, but if you have skills, we can work together. This also ensures that your talent will have loyalty, as long as you put company culture building in mind.

People in Jakarta generally can be bought with money. Offer Singapore standard salary, then it is likely that they will stick with you. While in a lot other cities, money is just one minor thing.

This is secret… Remember that I say Indonesians like to dream big? If you have a great vision (and of course a great way to convey it to talents), even if you pay like shit, you will have a great team behind you.

@BrianArfi / PT. Dhezign Online Solution

Indonesian youngsters love new experiences, so make sure you offer values that can differentiate your Company from others. You will find tons of smart people here, you just need to select the best ones. If you have adequate funds, don’t hesitate to provide some additional facility such health insurance and sport club facility.

For salary, I suggest fixed salary as Indonesians put respect on you when you are able to pay them well. Afterwards, you can offer holding share to some who are determined excellent to your company.

@RianKurniawan / Start Friday Asia Brand Consultant

Finding and keeping great talents is extremely difficult in Indonesia because the mindset of the talent in Indonesia is not into startups. Their dream is to work for a prestigious company instead of working for a no-name startup company even though they can contribute much more.

Salary and benefits are everything. Shares mean nothing. Most of the talents prefer certainty, things that they can get right away instead of something that is uncertain that have to be discovered along the way. Providing the right salary and benefits are the best way to keep them within your company.

Fresh graduates are better options than experienced professionals. Campus hunting is one of the best ways to find great talents. It will take time to nurture them but they are more suited to startup environment.

@RyanGondokusumo / Sribu


Yes, you can find job applicants through job listings, but sometimes the best one way is to look for them through personal connections or recommendations. Also, young Indonesians are known to be creative and hardworking.

Many fresh graduates posses great talents but they don’t have the experience yet. I love to hire fresh graduates and teach them. Their burning spirit and creative ideas is great fuel for my company.

Once you get them, bond with them, build a great relationship and a fun working place for them. Order some food or take them out to lunch. Make them happy by keeping their stomach happy 🙂

@IntanSaraswati / PT. Diamonds Inti Corpora

It’s not hard to find great talent in Indonesia, because there are many of them. However, it’s hard to find great talent with good work ethic. One of suggestion is to check the talent’s social media. Most Indonesian people are very active and expressive in social media, therefore we can analyze their character beforehand.

For creative talents, I suggest not to find it through jobseeker sites, but use freelance website, portfolio website or instagram. In Indonesia, startup isn’t seen as something interesting. That’s why it’s quite hard to recruit/keep good talents in a startup business. We have to give benefits that big companies don’t have.

For example, giving the talents freedom of expression, in order to make them feel like they’re an important part of the company. Entrepreneur must have the willingness and trust to give responsibilities to them .

@SayedMuhammad / Local.co.id

Find them within the community or at co-working spaces.

@FaushanGilang / Catallya

This is hard in our industry, digital is relatively new and demand for talents out pace the supply. Money is limitless, competitors will offer x times of salary to find great talents, but money is not everything.

We try to appreciate our team and treat them as a family member. We want them to know that. We are here for them. We believe that once they have become our family, they will always welcome home wherever they are.

@PanduWirawan / Brightstars

Pay them well (a facet of appreciating them), allow the talent to express themselves and push them from time to time.

@Ace / Light Within Productions

Great talent need challenges. Make sure that they have something new in periodic time. Also, they want transparency, that they want to know what are they doing and what effect that has on the company. Lastly, culture is very important, make the environment as comfortable as possible and fit in with your talent.

@AqsathRasyidNaradhipa / NoLimit Indonesia

This is a tricky one. Finding talent itself is incredibly difficult, and retaining them can be even more difficult because they are so sought after. Outlining a career path would definitely help, and setting them goals for growth.

@Hiro / MakanLuar.Com

Much like any other company that shows great team retention and fully vested team members:

1. Offer growth opportunities for the business and team.

2. Start with the source and first hire great team members that integrate with your culture of happiness. Again we used Geekhunter.co

3. Benefits like equity, personal and business development opportunities, promotions and a really awesome, happy and holacracy focused project management stimulate a great team culture.

@AndreaLoubier / Mailbird

The business mindset generally will be the same with the global mindset. At some points, it will be different because of Indonesia culture, something like too polite or too shy. Some people will just make something (product or service) very best, without aware of it business side or relation with the government policy.

@OonArfiandwi / 7Langit

Things require patience in Indonesia. As long as you are willing to be patient with regards to decision-making, processes and other things that come up you will come out on top.

Do not expect straight-forward answers all the time, you may have to probe and follow up several times to get a sense of what is really on the other party’s mind. Always be respectful and polite to the parties you work with regardless of outcome.

@KunalNarang / MakanLuar

For recruitment, job advertisement agency is quite effective. As for keeping great work talent i think the key is to create a relax atmosphere in office for them to be able to express themselves.

Frequent compensation review is also needed as everyone is trying to get the best talents.

@NelsenLim / Deal POS

Indonesia has a lot of talented people, you’ll have no trouble in finding them.

@DanaVincent / Schoolastic

Image credit: rezwan