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In the global business landscape, Indonesia has emerged as a significant player in the outsourcing industry alongside other Asian countries like India and China

With a vast talent pool, cost-effective services, and a burgeoning digital ecosystem, Indonesia offers a compelling proposition for companies looking to outsource. 

This guide provides an in-depth look at the benefits and considerations of outsourcing to Indonesia and how software for remote working time management like Insightful can help you keep tabs on your outsourced teams.

Understanding the Indonesian Rupiah: A Quick Currency Comparison

The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is a significant factor in Indonesia's appeal for outsourcing, given its relative stability and the ongoing efforts to internationalize its use. Here's a comparison of the Indonesian Rupiah against other major currencies:

1 US Dollar = 14,817 IDR

1 Euro = 16,094 IDR

1 Pound = 18,470 IDR

The average monthly salary in Indonesia varies widely depending on the job title, location, and industry. However, as a point of reference, the average monthly salary in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, is around IDR 5,000,000 (approximately $357 USD) as of 2023. 

While this may seem low compared to some Western countries, the cost of living in Indonesia is significantly lower than in those countries, making it a cost-effective outsourcing destination.

Exploring the Salary Landscape in Indonesia

Indonesian salaries vary based on factors like job title, education, location, and industry, with roles like IT Managers, Financial Analysts, and Engineers earning more. Compensation often includes bonuses, incentives, and benefits like health insurance and transportation allowances. 

Indonesia has made significant strides in reducing the gender pay gap, but disparities still exist in some sectors. According to data from UN Women, women earn 23% less than men on average in the country.

The Top 3 Outsourced Industries in Indonesia

The top three industries in Indonesia that attract foreign businesses and investors include:


Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and is considered a newly industrialized country. Manufacturing plays a crucial role in its economic framework, with a focus on diverse sectors like textiles, electronics, and automotive manufacturing.

Indonesia's manufacturing sector benefits from a large workforce, relatively low labor costs, and strategic geographical location. Moreover, the country has been making steady progress in improving its infrastructure to support manufacturing activities, thereby attracting businesses that seek to outsource their production processes.

Automotive Industry

The automotive industry in Indonesia significantly contributes to the nation's economic growth, accounting for 10.16 percent of the GDP. The country is not only the 17th largest passenger vehicle producer in the world but also exports automotive products of higher value than its imports.

The Indonesian government's focus on the development of this industry, coupled with its large domestic market, makes it an attractive destination for foreign companies looking to outsource automotive manufacturing.

Digital and IT Services

Similar to many other countries, Indonesia is experiencing significant growth in its digital and IT services sector. The rise of Over-The-Top (OTT) markets, which include various digital services such as streaming media and cloud services, exemplifies this growth.

The country's emphasis on digital literacy and technology-based education has led to a surge in skilled professionals in this field. As a result, foreign businesses are increasingly outsourcing their IT and software development needs to Indonesia, leveraging the country's growing tech talent pool and competitive costs.

The Benefits of Outsourcing to Indonesia

Outsourcing to Indonesia can provide businesses with numerous potential benefits:

  • Access to a diversified talent pool: Indonesia, as the world's fourth most populous country, offers a large and diverse talent pool of educated and trained professionals. 

  • Competitive cost structures: Indonesia offers competitive pricing for various types of work, particularly in sectors like manufacturing and IT, providing businesses with excellent value for their investment.

  • Robust economic growth: As one of the emerging market economies and a member of the G20, Indonesia's economy is growing rapidly, creating numerous business opportunities.

  • Strategic geographical location: Indonesia's strategic location in Southeast Asia, one of the world's most dynamic economic regions, offers businesses the advantage of proximity to other key markets and business hubs in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • Digital technology adoption: Indonesia's growing digital economy, marked by the rise of e-commerce and fintech, is reflective of its strengthening technological infrastructure, making it a compelling destination for IT and software development outsourcing.

Communication and Collaboration: The Key to Success with Indonesian Outsourcing Partners

Effective communication and collaboration are essential for any successful outsourcing partnership. When working with an outsourced team in Indonesia, consider the following points:

  • Time Zones: Indonesia operates on Western Indonesian Time (WIB), Central Indonesian Time (WITA), and Eastern Indonesian Time (WIT), depending on the region. Be mindful of these time differences when scheduling meetings and deadlines to ensure smooth collaboration and timely project completion.

  • Language: While Bahasa Indonesia is the official language, English is widely taught and used in the business environment. However, communication should be clear and concise to avoid potential misunderstandings. Steer clear of idioms or colloquial phrases that may not translate well.

  • Tools and Technology: To ensure seamless communication and collaboration, familiarize yourself with digital tools commonly used in Indonesia. Messaging applications like WhatsApp are popular, and platforms like Google Meet and Zoom are commonly used for virtual meetings.

  • Building Relationships: Cultivating personal relationships, known as "Silaturahmi," is a vital aspect of Indonesian business culture. Investing time in building these relationships can lead to a more harmonious and effective working relationship with your Indonesian outsourced team. 

Legal and Compliance Considerations for Outsourcing to Indonesia

When outsourcing to Indonesia, it's critical to consider the legal and compliance aspects to avoid potential issues. Below are some key factors to bear in mind:

Data Protection Laws

Ensure your Indonesian outsourcing partner adheres to data protection laws and has robust measures in place to safeguard sensitive data. For instance, the Indonesian Law Number 11 of 2008 concerning Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE Law) governs the protection of electronic data. If you are based in the European Union, GDPR compliance is equally critical.

Intellectual Property Rights

Securing your company's intellectual property is vital. Engage legal experts to draft agreements that clearly define the ownership and usage of intellectual property generated during the outsourcing process. Be aware of Indonesia's IP laws and regulations, including the Law No. 28 of 2014 on Copyright and the Law No. 14 of 2001 on Patents, to ensure your IP rights are protected.

Indonesian Labor Laws and Regulations

Verify that your outsourcing partner adheres to Indonesian labor laws and regulations, such as minimum wage, working hours, and employee benefits. Familiarize yourself with local labor laws like the Law No. 13 of 2003 on Manpower, to ensure your outsourcing partner's compliance.

Tax Implications

Engage with tax professionals to understand the potential tax implications of outsourcing to Indonesia, including any relevant taxes or double taxation agreements. Indonesia has different tax rates depending on the services involved, so be aware of any potential tax liabilities.

Understanding the Cultural Differences of Your Outsourced Indonesian Teams

Working with teams from different cultural backgrounds can be enriching, but it's crucial to understand and respect cultural differences. When working with Indonesian teams, consider the following cultural aspects:

Community and Relationships

Indonesian culture places significant emphasis on community and personal relationships. This concept extends to the workplace, where building strong relationships can lead to more effective collaborations. Take time to get to know your Indonesian team members on a personal level and show sincere interest in their lives.

Hierarchy and Respect

Indonesian culture is deeply ingrained with respect for hierarchy, influenced by both traditional values and the Dutch colonial period. This respect for hierarchy is reflected in the workplace, where decisions often flow from the top down. When communicating, ensure you're addressing the appropriate person within the organization, showing respect to leadership and acknowledging the hierarchical structure.

Religious and Philosophical Considerations

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority country, and Islam influences many aspects of life, including the workplace. However, Indonesia is also home to significant populations of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and individuals who follow local religions. These belief systems may influence the worldview and practices of your Indonesian team members. Be respectful of these beliefs, especially during holy months like Ramadan, and consider them when planning meetings or setting deadlines.

Indirect Communication

Indonesian culture often favors indirect communication to maintain harmony and avoid confrontation. This approach can sometimes lead to misunderstandings with Western counterparts who are used to more direct communication. Be patient, read between the lines, and use tact and diplomacy when providing feedback.

Monitor Outsourced Team Performance with Insightful

To effectively manage your outsourced team in Indonesia, tools like Insightful’s remote employee monitoring software can be an invaluable asset. Insightful provides:

  • Employee Monitoring: Monitor your outsourced team's work activity in real-time, ensuring they stay on task and productive.

  • Time Tracking: Track time spent on projects and tasks, enabling you to better allocate resources and manage budgets.

  • Detailed Reports: Gain insights into your team's performance with detailed reports on work hours, task completion, and project progress.

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