Working in Jakarta



Established in the 4th century, Jakarta is currently the most populous city in Indonesia that houses an estimated total of 10.6 million people. It is referred to as the ‘Big Durian’ and serves as the country’s centre for culture, politics and economy whereas expats will find plenty of job opportunities. 

Jakarta’s city centre is a majestic cosmopolitan that conjures images of modern architectures and towering skyscrapers. Since 2014, this city has seen a significant economic growth that caused it to torpedo way ahead of its neighbouring capitals Beijing, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Most expats working in Indonesia’s capital are employed by multi-national companies and are sent as part of an intra-company transfer programme. Also, the Indonesian government policies mandate foreign or local companies to prioritise the hiring of its nationals and obtaining a work permit can only be done with the help of a prospective employer. 

Jakarta’s Top Industries 

Generally speaking, Indonesia is a country abundant with natural resources and its capital has always been known for providing employment for those who have experience in mining, construction and agriculture. Mining of natural resources such as gold, coal gas and oil is also of significant importance in Jakarta. There are also employment opportunities in the tourism, humanitarian and education sectors particularly for expats who have certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). 

The economy of Jakarta heavily relies on several leading sectors which include service, manufacturing and trading. Banking and finance also plays a significant role on this city’s economy since it houses the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), one of the most influential stock exchanges in the global market. Another rapidly growing sector in Jakarta is the industrial sector which includes: 

  • Bio medical industries
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Chemical
  • Electronics
  • Automotive 

Average Salary and Work Hours 

In Indonesia, the minimum wage is set by the provincial wage council per province and for each district within the province. Jakarta's provincial minimum wage for 2009 is at Rp 16,089,708 (USD$1,242). Teaching English as a foreign language in Jakarta offers competitive salary packages. The salary ranges from USD$700.00 to USD$1,000.00 per month. Benefits include medical insurance, accommodation assistance, and return tickets. 

In Jakarta, the maximum number of working days per week is six and premium for overtime work should be at least 75% of the employee’s hourly pay. There is no legal restriction for night work/shift. In general, business hours are from 8am to 4pm or 9am to 5pm. Working days are from Monday to Friday. For private businesses, working hours are until noon on Saturdays.

Jakarta’s Business Culture 

In meetings, a handshake is the standard greeting. One must address Indonesians with respect and make an effort to pronounce their names properly. Names are considered sacred in Indonesia, if one is uncertain on how to address people in the business setting, one can say, "Bapak" for Mr. or "Ibu" for Ms. 

Westerners accustomed to a fast-paced corporate setting will discover a slower pace in Jakarta, especially for business negotiations, as Indonesians give more importance in building relationships and take the time to weigh in decisions. Expats should note that Indonesians dislike being hurried on business decisions. Giving and receiving gifts are common with business partners. Expats should avoid using the left hand to give or receive gifts as this is considered the dirty hand. Visitors and expats must show respect to Indonesian customs, pay attention to certain gestures that Indonesians may find offensive and never point at things and people as this is deemed rude. 

Although, English is used in the corporate world, speaking Bahasa Indonesia will be an advantage for expats. 


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Working in Indonesia

Expat Services in Jakarta