Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The government on Tuesday revealed that millions of Indonesians are unemployed, and many of the jobless are high school or university graduates.
The National Statistics Agency (BPS) data showed 8.42 million Indonesians were unemployed as of August 2022. These people include those who are not job-searching because they do not expect to find work.
About 135.3 million Indonesians do have jobs, but 38.8 percent of the country's labor force only had elementary-level education or lower. Some 17.54 percent only have junior high school diplomas.
"Junior high school or lower level graduates are still dominating our labor force. They account for about 50 percent of the working population," Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah told an Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) conference in Jakarta.
"How ironic. Our unemployed population is dominated by those with higher education levels; be it the traditional/vocational high school or university graduates," Ida said.
According to the Manpower Ministry's Satudata database, 673,485 of the 8.42 million unemployed Indonesians are university graduates. About 1.66 million people graduated from vocational schools, while 2.47 million others studied in high schools.
Indonesia's unemployment rate stood at 5.83 percent as of Aug. 2022. About 59.31 percent of the country's employed population is in the informal economy.
Kadin deputy head for the manpower department Adi Mahfudz Wuhadji highlighted the need to narrow the link-and-match gap. Adi said schools should not only focus on textbooks and theories.
Earlier in the day, Kadin inked a string of memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with a number of universities, including Pelita Harapan University (UPH), Podomoro University, Pembangunan Jaya University, Trisakti University, in a bid to improve the education system that gives students the skill for the workforce, known as the link-and-match approach.
According to Adi, Kadin will help prepare lecturers who are well-equipped with industry knowledge, as well as internship programs, among others.
"We will also prepare a virtual internship infrastructure. We should not let our graduates only understand theories, but are still unprepared for work," Adi told reporters.