Staffing firm Manpower to expand into Indonesia amid skilled-labour shortage | Reuters

JAKARTA May 18 ManpowerGroup Inc, oneof the world's biggest staffing firms, plans to expand intoIndonesia as early as September, seeing an opportunity to tapcompanies that are struggling to find skilled labour in theSoutheast Asian nation.

Strong growth in Indonesia's foreign direct investment hasbeen a rare bright spot for President Joko Widodo, but couldjust as easily falter if firms can't find the engineers,accountants, and executives to run their businesses.

"Given the challenges employers are facing in Indonesiagetting the right talent, this is a great opportunity for theManpowerGroup to bring value to the Indonesia market," SamHaggag, Manpower's director for Asia-Pacific, told Reuters.

U.S.-based Manpower, which already has offices in Vietnam,Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, decided tofinally open a unit in Indonesia after more of its customerslooked to invest in Southeast Asia's largest economy, Haggagsaid.

"President Widodo's government is very encouraging inregards to its commitment to growth and supporting FDI. It isdriving our customers," he said, adding that more than half ofthe Fortune 500 companies are Manpower's clients.

Manpower saw "significant opportunities" in Indonesia intalent management and recruiting professionals for financialservices, construction, engineering and information technology.

Haggag declined to say how much the company would initiallyinvest in Indonesia.

The small pool of high-skilled labour is forcing Indonesianemployers to promote professionals at a more rapid rate thantheir neighbours.

A survey by Monroe Consulting Group released on Monday found31 percent of respondents in Indonesia having received apromotion within the last year, compared to 21 percent ofrespondents in other Southeast Asian countries.

"Companies are having to promote people on their potentialto grow into the new position, rather than waiting until theyhave developed the experience and skills," the survey said.

Indonesia's poor education system, ranked last among 40countries in a global Pearson index last year, has done littleto improve a low-skilled workforce that lags behind itsneighbours in competitiveness.

The government spends a fifth of its state budget oneducation, but its failing schools remain a major hindrance toIndonesia's economy. (Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)