Yogyakarta-Friday, November 15th 2019. The Master of Science and Doctoral Program of the Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Gadjah Mada (MD FEB UGM) held a public lecture entitled “Towards a Great Agreement on Labor Reform”. Present as the keynote speaker, Vivi Alatas, Ph.D., Former Lead Economist of the World Bank, and Founder of IYKRA and moderated directly by Dr. Elan Satriawan, M.Ec. Not only were students interested, but some lecturers were also enthusiastic about participating in the class, such as Prof. Catur Sugiyanto, M.A., Ph.D., Chair of the Doctoral Program in Economics, Eny Sulistyaningrum, M.A., Ph.D., Dr. Evita Hanie Pangaribowo, MIDEC, and Gumilang Aryo Sahadewo, M.A., Ph.D.
Lasted with a duration of 2 hours, the public lecture discusses the challenges of Indonesian workers to the importance of building employment strategies. Vivi stressed that Indonesia currently needs labor policy reforms. The reason is that employment opportunities in Indonesia are still considered to be very lacking and the rise of informal recruitment processes based on acquaintances. Not only that, the existing work has not fully protected workers. “Employment in Indonesia is still dominated by low-productivity sectors. When we talk about data, almost 30% of jobs still come from the agricultural sector, with output per worker only 1/3 of the manufacturing sector” she added.
Furthermore, Vivi added the big challenges currently faced by Indonesian workers. First, the quality of education is low so workers lack basic skills. Secondly, the potential of the younger generation is not utilized optimally. Third, labor regulations which create a situation of mutual loss. “A quarter of our young people aged 15-24 years are unemployed. Even when they find work, two-thirds rely on personal connections, not through formal job search channels” Vivi added.
Therefore, Vivi firmly told all the participants in the lecture that Indonesia needed an employment strategy that involved stakeholders, ranging from workers and trade unions, employers, to the government. A big agreement is needed relating to an employment strategy in which all parties reach a win-win condition. The agreement to be reached must also align short, medium and long term needs. “We need to position stakeholders who have different expectations to create a win-win solution employment strategy,” said the bespectacled woman. (MST-RP)