Indonesia State Budget 2023: Envisioning an Inclusive and Sustainable Nation Underpinned by a Productive and Digitally Skilled Workforce

 |   Dharma Simorangkir, President Director, Microsoft Indonesia

Indonesia has recently passed the 2023 State Budget aimed at rebuilding the nation’s economy and propelling the country to greater heights. The new budget amounting to IDR3,041.7 trillion features productivity and quality human resources as key success factors for an inclusive and sustainable Indonesian economy.

Microsoft recognizes and welcomes the Government’s efforts to overcome immediate challenges while addressing long-term aspirations for Indonesia to become a more prosperous and resilient country amid rising global uncertainty. We at Microsoft, therefore, are continuously committed to supporting the Government in accelerating national economic growth through the comprehensive priority measures unveiled in this budget, particularly in building the nation’s talent through education. This is aligned with our commitment to empower every person and organization to achieve more in the growing digital economy.

We believe digital transformation is no longer an option, but a necessity. Quoting Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, we will no longer be able to separate the technology industry from other industries, as technology itself will become a major part of these industries.

The Need for a Digital Talent Pool

Indonesia is slated to enjoy a demographic bonus by 2045, wherein nearly 70% of its citizens would be at the productive age. To maximize the momentum and ensure a strong, productive workforce, the government has declared education, including upgrading human resources with appropriate digital skills, as a primary area of development, and allocated IDR608.3 trillion – equivalent to 20% of the entire state budget, the highest in the last decade – for the same. To ensure equitable quality of learning, the budget will also be utilized to increase education access and provide affordable education for underprivileged students in the outermost, underdeveloped, and frontier (3T) areas, through state-of-the-art infrastructure, job linking or matching, among others.

This move is built on the premise of current industry developments. Demand for skilled workers in tech or digital-based roles such as DevOps Engineer, JavaScript Developer, Back-End Developer, AI Specialist, and Data Scientist, have significantly increased, as seen in the Top 10 Most Searched Professions in the country. Demand will continue to rise as well; according to the 2020 World Economic Forum report, 97 million new jobs based on technology will soon be created by 2025.

In order to meet this ever-growing demand, the Ministry of Communications and Informatics predicts Indonesia will need at least 9 million digital talents up to 2035. These talents will have to go beyond ‘basic skills’, namely computer operation, using productivity tools, and searching for information online. They must transform themselves and acquire advanced digital skills such as data processing and visualization, as well as application development, among others, to increase their competitiveness globally.

Fortifying the future workforceEmbodying the spirit of collaboration and as a long-term partner to the nation, we at Microsoft are humbled to contribute to preparing the future digital talents of Indonesia through our abundant cross-sectoral partnerships with educational institutions, government institutions, local governments, non-profit organizations, and enterprises. These partnerships include but are not limited to providing internationally accredited certifications in specific digital technologies such as AI, Azure, and Cybersecurity, training lecturers and teachers to upgrade their curriculum and accommodate modern, digital-focused fundamental materials, upskilling programs for university students and employees alike, and hosting a series of seminars for aspiring female digital enthusiasts.

Our efforts will not stop there; moving forward, we want to strengthen our collaboration and partnerships with the government to ensure that our local talents are equipped with the in-demand skills they need to thrive in the roles of tomorrow. One such partnership by the Government is the Digital Talent Scholarship (DTS) Program, in which Microsoft is proud to be a training partner. DTS is a competency development training program established in 2018 designed to create a balanced ecosystem that maximizes the role of the pentahelix – Government, community/society, higher education institutions, businesses, and media – as facilitator, accelerator, and supporter of the digital economy.

The primary learning platform utilized for DTS and other partnership programs, Microsoft Learn, is open for everyone and has endless opportunities for use in the future. The platform can, for example, be integrated with an organization’s website or learning portals, enabling these organizations to run their own digital training programs, supported by free materials from Microsoft. We are equipped with a comprehensive and ever-growing library of 396 self-paced learning paths and 1,536 modules covering important topics such as cloud, data and AI, and cyber security, all of which are also available in Bahasa Indonesia, to empower Indonesians regardless of background.

Growing and Sustaining a Diverse and Inclusive Future Generation

We also acknowledge the Government’s efforts directed at reinforcing inclusivity and sustainability with regard to these digital talents. As a proud Indonesian, the value of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is very dear to me. As such, I am heartened to hear our President Joko Widodo reiterate his vision of a future productive workforce that is innovative and competitive globally, whilst still maintaining the nation’s cultural identity.

We at Microsoft would like to extend our full support to the Government in their efforts to strengthen inclusivity and capitalize on Indonesia’s inspiring diversity. To advocate for inclusivity, however, education quality alone will not suffice; it must be equitable and complemented by quick reach and affordable access to eliminate all barriers.

One such barrier that Microsoft strives to eliminate is gender disparity. Through Code: Without Barriers, women of all socio-economic backgrounds receive equal opportunities in the cloud, data and AI, as well as digital technology sectors. Another initiative that we are especially proud of is the Enabler Program, an initiative that brings together non-profit organizations, employer partners, and people with disabilities in Asia Pacific to create an inclusive work environment, where everyone can show their true selves at work. Back in May 2022, we started a partnership with Komisi Nasional Disabilitas to bring this program to Indonesia and have provided digital skilling training to a number of people with disabilities since then. And our journey does not stop there. We are now looking for ways to connect the skilled participants with the right employers by adopting Microsoft’s Neurodiversity Hiring guidance.

Together, For Our Future

While we may face some challenges in our journey, we are optimistic of Indonesia’s ability to weather through these uncertainties and seize the endless opportunities ahead. After all, time after time, Indonesia has repeatedly demonstrated its unwavering resilience.

It is an honor for us to be able to participate and contribute to Indonesia’s journey in accelerating national economic growth. Through our partnerships, we hope to fulfil our mission to empower every person and every organization on this planet to achieve more.

Together, let us #BerdayakanIndonesia.