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The Race for the Next Generation of Talent: Generation Z in Indonesia

By Universum on 14/03/2018

Generation Z in Indonesia are most likely to select an alternate path to education or to join the workforce instead of pursuing a formal University degree

Jakarta, March 14th, 2018 – During the Learning Innovation Summit 2018 Rachele Focardi, Senior Vice President of Employer Branding and Talent Strategy for Universum, shared data on the first study of Generation Z’s career outlook and preferences ever conducted. Based on more than 44,000 respondents from 46 countries – among which 7,655 from Asia and 1,500 responses from Indonesia – the Universum study aims to uncover the career drivers of youth aged 15-18 to help governments and organizations understand their future workforce and address the challenges related to talent and skills shortage.

Gen Z is redefining the educational mold

The study highlights that 87% of Indonesian Gen Z surveyed are interested in finding out more about how companies offer education to people who choose not to pursue a university degree, and an astounding 94% would consider joining the workforce instead of getting a formal education at a college or university if an employer would train them in the field instead. This number is the highest across all of ASEAN countries.
As a result, Indonesian Gen Z like to see ads from employers on social media (73%) to a much greater extent than peers across ASEAN (50%), and 85% are open to being contacted about career opportunities and career paths within top organizations already know.

“What Indonesian organizations need to understand is that the talent market is about to become even more competitive and that the time to act is now. Gen Z will likely cause a decrease in the number of those attending college and by the time they are ready to enter the workforce they will have already been guided and influenced”  said Focardi. She continued “Educational Institutions need to reinvent themselves and rethink how they teach the skills that will be needed in the future, perhaps partnering more and more with government agencies and the private sector to deliver the best possible training. Similarly, governments and organizations must redefine their developments programs, start engaging talent much earlier, be prepared to think outside of universities when it comes to sourcing entry-level talent, and clearly define and communicate their purpose in a way that is in line with the values and expectations of Indonesian Gen Z.”

Another eye-opening finding is that for those who are considering a formal education, pure interest in the subject matter is the primary driver when choosing the course of academic study. Indonesian Gen Z does not plan to choose their major based on whether it will lead to higher earnings or whether it will allow them to have a fast career or work in a specific industry. They are much more interested in studying something they will enjoy, and that will make it possible for them to help others.

“This definitely warrants a formal approach to getting people, and particularly females, interested in pursuing STEM degrees starting from an early age, especially when considering that less than 15% of Indonesia Gen Z seem interested in pursuing an Engineering degree, and out of this, females account for only 6%. This comes at a time when organizations and governments around the world are facing significant talent shortages especially when it comes to technical skills,” 
“With an increasing number of industries embarking on their digitalization and automation journey, the scarcity of engineering talent will be more and more evident with the rise of this new generation. It will be critical for governments, organizations and educational institutions to rethink the way they encourage the young to pursue STEM degrees and help them understand the impact they will be able to have on the world if they do.”

The desire to contribute to the greater good also makes Indonesian Gen Z the most entrepreneurial of all 46 countries where the study was conducted. A staggering 88% of respondents say they would like to start their own company (compared to 55% global average) primarily to change the world for the better, to be their own boss and have the flexibility to spend more time with their family and doing the things they love.

“Most organizations are still struggling with the changes brought about by the Millennial generation, but few of them have their eyes on Generation Z despite them being on their doorstep,”  explained Focardi. She finished by stating “The talent landscape has significantly evolved over the last few years. Students no longer choose an employer based on the industry or corporate brand but based on its culture, its environment, and its purpose. They believe that work should be part of who they are – not just a way to make a living – and expect employers to embrace the complexity of their lives. How employers chose to display the right values, culture, and opportunity for intellectual and personal development and motivate them to do their best work will have a tremendous impact on an organization’s success. The race for Gen Z starts now, and anyone – governments or organizations – not thinking ahead will be left behind.”

Additional Findings

61% of Indonesia Gen Z believe they will enjoy a higher standard of living than their parents, and their greatest fears regarding their work life is that they will mix up their personal and professional lives by working too much (38%) and that they will not find a job that matches their personality (25%) and the most important aspects of inspiring leadership are Vision, Mission and Values (69%) and positive attitude (44%).
82% of GenZ in Indonesia use on average three social media channels; predominantly Facebook (82%) and Twitter (42%). While across ASEAN 69% use YouTube, in Indonesia only 27% say they do.
Parents are the most significant influencers when it comes to decisions regarding education and careers according to Indonesian Gen Z (74%), friends come second at only 24%. Company representatives (3%) are the least likely to influence their career choices.

About the Universum Gen Z Study

While dozens of research initiatives explore Generation Z’s values as consumers, few explore its attitudes about work. A new research study from Universum asks close to 50,000 high school students about their future careers, their thoughts about higher education, and their attitudes towards work and life. This reports highlights insights hiring companies can use to attract and retain the next generation of digital natives. The results are based on the answers of 44,800 students youth aged 15-18 years. This includes high school students, a small fraction of youth who have already started their university studies and youth who already have a job. Each respondent is asked questions about the most significant influences on their career choices, what they look for in an employer, how they differ from the generations already making up the workforce, how gender plays a role in their outlook, how they want to be communicated with. The study provides global trends and country-specific and regional comparison.

More about the Gen Z study:

  • Created with over 25 years of experience, extensive research within HR, focus groups and communication with both companies and industry
  • Global perspective – local
  • Conducted via an online survey from July 10th to August 31st The online link was distributed via social media platforms where Gen Z was expected to be found.
  • Targets Adolescents across the globe born between 1997 and 2000
  • For a more narrow focus, only youth who can imagine getting a degree in higher tertiary education were considered for the
  • In order to provide companies with reliable data Universum set targets per country and gender of the Global population weighting (by number of people in the countries who have access to the internet) and a local gender weighting are used to compensate for discrepancies from the targets
  • More information about the study can be found at

About Universum:

ACCESS THE NEW WORLD OF TALENT. Universum is a global leader in employer branding. Over the past 30 years, we have established ourselves in 50 markets globally, and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. Our services include actionable research, strategic consulting, and data-driven communications and social media solutions for talent branding, sourcing, and analytics. We are a trusted partner to over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as to global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. We work with over 2,000 universities, alumni groups, and professional