GoTo, TikTok and UGM join hands to expand Indonesia’s digital talent pool

According to Kompas, Indonesia requires 9 million digital talents by 2030 in order to further contribute to the country's gross domestic product.

Sheena Suparman

Sheena Suparman

The Jakarta Post


Stephanie Susilo, executive director of E-Commerce, TikTok Indonesia (left), Arief Setiawan Budi Nugroho, deputy chancellor for Planning, Assets and Information Systems UGM (center) and Herman Widjaja, chief technology officer of the GoTo Group, sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta on December 15, 2023.

January 5, 2024

JAKARTA – With the acceleration of digitalization in Indonesia, both public and private entities have to work together in order to help the people be able to keep up with the new demands that are brought on by the transformation.

Digital talent refers to anyone who works in technology, specifically those who work in information technology, digitalization, analytics and automation. Unfortunately, the gap in Indonesia is still substantial. According to Kompas, Indonesia requires 9 million digital talents by 2030 in order to further contribute to the country’s gross domestic product.

PT GoTo Gojek Tokopedia Tbk and TikTok signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gadjah Mada University (UGM) to partner in the establishment of the GoTo x TikTok x UGM Technology Center, a digital talent development center at UGM’s Gelanggang Inovasi dan Kreativitas (GIK), or Innovation and Creativity Arena.

The signing was held at the university and was attended by the vice rector for Planning, Assets and Information Systems of UGM, Arief Setiawan Budi Nugroho, chief technology officer of GoTo Group, Herman Widjaja, and executive director of E-Commerce, TikTok Indonesia, Stephanie Susilo, alongside representatives from the three institutions.

The new collaboration is a mutual commitment between GoTo Group and TikTok to prioritize the recruitment and development of local digital talent, amid increasing requirements for digital talent in the country. In addition, it is also hoped that the talent will also be able to contribute to the growth of other technology players in Indonesia’s digital economy.

“As one of Indonesia’s leading universities, UGM continues to educate and empower Indonesians to contribute to the country’s development. Our collaboration with GoTo Group and TikTok as well as the opening of the GoTo x TikTok x UGM Technology Center is part of our efforts to bring out the best in the digital talents of UGM and train them to be innovative, creative and competitive, so that they can further grow the country’s digital economy,” said Arief.

He expressed his gratitude to both parties for their contribution to pioneer a collaboration between academia and businesses to train local digital talents, allowing them to be able to grow internationally. The collaboration is the first of its kinds and will assist the educational institution in opening a talent development hub for Indonesia’s digital talent.

“The GoTo x TikTok x UGM Technology Center reflects GoTo’s commitment to build the competency of Indonesia’s digital talent, which aligns with the vision of UGM. Together, GoTo Group and TikTok are fully committed to working with UGM to empower Indonesian tech talent, so that they can contribute to the growth of the country’s digital economy. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to UGM as a key partner for its support for GoTo and TikTok as we work together to realize our common vision,” echoed Herman Widjaja.

The collaboration is also in line with the shared commitment between TikTok and GoTo Group to contribute to the growth of the Indonesian economy, as stated by Stephanie. A vital component of this vision is to enable local talents to be innovative and competitive.

“Together with GoTo Group, we are humbled by the opportunity to announce our commitment to establish the GoTo x TikTok x UGM Technology Center, which marks the first step in our collaboration with the world of academia to benefit and further contribute to the growth of Indonesia’s technology sector. We look forward to more collaborative initiatives with GoTo Group and UGM in our effort to empower Indonesia’s digital talents,” she added.

It is hoped that the new center can be launched in February of next year, in conjunction with the expected completion of GIK UGM’s construction that is currently underway. In an area that spans 914 square meters, GoTo Group and TikTok will open a collaborative working space and supporting facilities for education, research and development.

This marks a follow-up step from GoTo Group’s previous recruitment of digital talent from Yogyakarta and the surrounding area, as well as its commitment to establish technology centers across Indonesia.

Highlighting four initiatives to accelerate the development of digital talent, the two companies reiterated their promise to build partnerships to develop machine learning-based solutions, open an internship program for UGM students, initiate an employee exchange program to enable Indonesian employees to work in TikTok offices abroad, and to develop educational resources to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing with UGM students.

Regarding the second and third initiatives, Stephanie noted during the signing ceremony that TikTok plans to welcome 150 to 200 students from UGM for internships in the next three years, who will be given the opportunity to work in the company’s global offices across Southeast Asia, Australia, and America.

It is hoped that the initiatives will help the parties to explore further opportunities to partner in the technology space, to increase Indonesian-developed technology solutions that can be utilized to grow the country’s digital economy and competitiveness.

The program aforementioned will allow GoTo Group to enrich its platforms by providing a more robust user experience for its consumers. With GoTo contributing up to 2.2 percent of Indonesia’s 2022 gross domestic product and to the development of millions of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the tech solutions will further solidify GoTo’s leadership in Indonesia’s digital space.

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