The money and power of the parents still determines greatly your career prospects in Indonesia
The money and power of the parents still determines greatly your career prospects in Indonesia

Indonesia’s highly competitive labor market throws even more hurdles in front of you when you don’t happen to be the offspring of selected elite. It is a common and growing trend that companies prefer to hire the children of families with wealthy background. Emerhub talked with some of them.

Rini (23) had no problems finding a job after graduating university in Bandung. Even though her father wanted her to be independent and build her own luck, it was precisely the name of her father that helped her to get a job.

“During the job interview they asked me to fill a form where I had to state the names of my parents and where they work”, explained Rini. “After they found out that my father is quite an important figure in the government, getting the job wasn’t that difficult for me”.

Ayu (21), born and raised in Makassar, recently got a job in retail industry in Jakarta. Ayu is one of those fortunate youngsters whose parents own a mining factory in their hometown, which gives her the financial security she needs to enjoy life in the capital.

“I was asked how would I come to the office in case I’m selected”, he described one of the first questions during the interview.”I said that using my own car, after which they wanted to know which model. They seemed to be pleased to hear it was a Honda City”.

There are several reasons why Indonesian employers prefer to hire kids from wealthy families. One of them is the low salaries employers can pay to them. For both Rini and Ayu, their salaries cover only a fraction of their actual expenses. Rest is covered by their parents.

In Ayu’s case, the employer, reseller of several luxury brands in Indonesia, also appreciates the fact that he is already using many of the company’s brands himself. “I think it enables me to understand better our customer needs, because I come from a similar background myself”.

Rini agrees with Emerhub, that this kind of system is highly unfair towards the young people who don’t have the luck of coming from wealthy families. “I have many friends from my university, who despite being very smart and hard-working, struggle to find a job. I think the employers are not willing to pay them salaries that would even enable them to cover basic expenses, not to mention building a family”.

As long as rich kids continue to accept prestigious jobs that pay very little, employers will obviously have no intentions to increase the salaries or make the selection process more meritocratic. Even though the average household income remains low in Indonesia, from the population of 240 million you will still have almost an endless supply of well-educated and well-off young people to hire.

About the author: Lauri Lahi is Emerhub’s co-founder and marketing director, an expat living in Indonesia.

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