Ra Residence | Expat Guide: Working in the Capital City

Are you thinking of working in Jakarta, also known as the “Big Durian” or “Big Apple”? Indonesia’s capital and largest city, as well as its economic and political center, has plenty of job opportunities. Our guide on working in Jakarta provides info on the economy, visas and health.

As is common for many megacities, Jakarta encompasses all walks of life from wealth to poverty. Although most people employed in Jakarta’s center and its skyscrapers are well off, the other side of the coin is a wide strip of slum landscape surrounding the city. When living and working in Jakarta, you need to be able to deal with such extremes. Working in Jakarta will, like any move to a foreign city, have its ups and downs.

Jakarta: Economic Overview

Much of the economy in Indonesia is dependent on government funding. Expatriates looking for a job in Jakarta will have more luck in the service sector, or the financial, banking and trading sectors. Jakarta is home to the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), which has a significant influence on global markets.

In general, Jakarta’s industrial sector includes the electronics, automotive, chemical, mechanical engineering, and biomedical industries. Natural resource mining, such as oil, gas, coal and gold, is also of great importance. All these fields offer lots of employment opportunities for expats. Most of these sectors are currently expanding, and the Indonesian economy in general grew an estimated 5.8% in 2013, driven by increasing foreign investments and huge domestic demand.
In addition, insurance companies play a huge role in Jakarta’s economy. The Jakarta Central Business District (CBD) hosts a number of tall skyscrapers which all carry the names of these high-end Indonesian companies. While interesting for expats working in Jakarta, it is, unfortunately, difficult to find work with one of these companies. Private international insurance companies are not allowed to operate in Indonesia. However, it should be noted that quite a few international entrepreneurs active in this sector in Jakarta are successful in running a joint venture.
Due to the increased rate of corruption Jakarta has seen in past years, the government has begun to doggedly fight this and is trying to improve the investment and business climates for locals and foreigners working in Jakarta.
Expat Jobs in Jakarta
Apart from intra-company transfers, the career market for expats interested in working in Jakarta is restricted due to difficult visa regulations. However, some career opportunities are still available. If they do not successfully find employment through a large overseas company, many expats (especially recent graduates) move to Jakarta to teach English, for which there is presently a great demand.
Additionally, there are a number of online job sites which provide listings for openings in Jakarta. If you are skilled in a certain field, you will have more luck acquiring a work visa and a job. Many international companies located in Jakarta have a number of job listings on their websites. IT companies, insurance companies (except for the high-end Indonesian businesses), brokerage firms and the export sector are a good place to start looking for a career in Jakarta. Also check if your home country’s foreign chamber of commerce in Jakarta offers a membership directory (a good starting point for unsolicited applications), or even a job newsletter or online career exchange.
Moreover, in recent years, Jakarta has seen an increase of franchises, particularly restaurant chains, across the city. This is a good opportunity for expats to get a feel for what working in Jakarta is like.

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