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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        2  April 2011

Improving Indonesia’s workforce

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The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is planning to improve the skills and competencies of the country’s workers ahead of the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

“When the Asean Economic Community takes effect in 2015, Indonesian workers risk being further marginalized by regional competition,” the chamber, also known as Kadin, said in a statement issued on Thursday.

With the economic community coming into force, barriers restricting the free flow of workers between countries would be lifted within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Kadin said.

A survey conducted by the Asian Productivity Organization in 2004 showed that Indonesian workers stand way below in productivity and skills than their counterparts in Singapore, Malaysia or the Philippines.

Kadin suggested the main problem behind the low quality of the Indonesian workforce was the mismatch between available training programs and what is actually needed in the business world.

For example, Indonesian nurses often fail to compete with those from the Philippines, due to a lack of international-standard training.

International nursing certifications require applicants to hold a bachelors degree, while most Indonesian nursing academies only offer a three-year diploma.

Sumarna Abdurahman, head of Kadin’s standing committee for workforce competency certification said the chamber aims to find out how Indonesia’s workforce can be improved by communicating with other chambers of commerce across Southeast Asia.

“By communicating chamber-to-chamber, we can identify the actual requirements that Indonesian workers need to fulfill in order to compete,” Sumarna told the Jakarta Globe.

Furthermore, Sumarna said, Kadin will help by providing a training center that will produce skilled workers who meet international standards.

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