Updated 4 days ago

According to the latest figures, 60% of the Indonesian population lives in Java. In fact, Java has more than 137 million inhabitants, including around 10 million people in Jakarta only. For that reason, Java is one of the country's most dynamic and prosperous regions. Ever since the independence of Indonesia, Java has been the country’s leading economic centre and trading hub.

Every year, Java attracts thousands of foreign professionals. If you are one of them, you’re advised to do research on the island’s economy and labour market beforehand. That way, you’ll be able to build your career smoothly on this beautiful island.

Economy of Java

Java is undoubtedly Indonesia's main economic hub. Its reputation is confirmed by the latest figures published by the Badan Pusat Statistik. According to these, Java has made a 57.51% contribution to the country's economy, representing some 504 billion US dollars in 2012.

The island's economy is based on several fields, namely business, services, trade, textile, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, hospitality, real estate, and many more. The manufacturing sector is particularly prosperous in Bandung, which is found on the North coast, as well as in Karawang, Tangerang, Cilegon, Gresik, Sidoarjo, and Bekasi. Meanwhile, Yogyakarta and Surabaya are more focused on agriculture and tourism. You can also find a diverse range of career options in Jakarta, Indonesia’s most populous city and most developed economic centre.

Job hunting in Java

Try securing a job in Java before entering Indonesia. Doing so will give you enough time to prepare for your relocation, visa, as well as your work permit.

If the company for which you are currently working has a branch in Indonesia, you could request for an internal transfer. This will greatly facilitate your work visa and accommodation procedures. Moreover, Java hosts subsidiaries of many international companies such as Intel Corporation, Hyatt, Axa, Vodafone UK, etc. You can inquire about these companies and send them spontaneous job applications.

You can also look for career options in Java on online job portals such as Jobstreet and Indeed. Alternatively, you can also visit the website of the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce as it often shares job openings from multinational companies looking for foreign professionals.

Other than that, if you’re already in Java, you can also try visiting local job fairs and reading the local newspapers to look for interesting employment options. Then, you should also try expanding your network. Get to know other professionals, entrepreneurs, and even freelancers in your city. Do this by attending expat meetings, joining sports or cultural communities, visiting co-working spaces, or even while getting some coffee at a small café.

Promising sectors in Java

Java has always been the most developed region in Indonesia. Today, due to globalisation, the economic development of Java is at an all times high. West Java is mainly known for being a manufacturing, finance, and services centre. Meanwhile, Central and East Java are famous for their agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

Aside from that, here are some other promising sectors in Java:

  • Technology
  • Real estate
  • Construction
  • Retail
  • Education (English and foreign language education)
  • Trading (Export and Import)
  • Tourism

Best cities in Java to work and live in for expats

Java is filled with vibrant and dynamic cities. Each city offers a different experience as well as plenty of interesting employment opportunities. Here are some of the best cities in the green island of Java to work and live in.


As the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is the country’s main economic hub and business centre; it’s rife with fantastic and good-paying employment opportunities. Plenty huge international companies and local companies alike have their headquarters in this metropolis. With numerous huge malls, delicious street food vendors, vibrant nightlife scenes, and interesting communities, you’ll never be at a loss of what to do during your days off. That said, living in Jakarta comes with its own downsides, such as having to deal with pollution and terrible traffic.

If you decide to stay in Jakarta, note that the cost of living here can be a bit costly compared to other cities in Java. The cost of living can range anywhere from around $500 to $1,000 each month. Also, renting a place to live in can reach up to $800 per month. That said, you can still find numerous cheaper options, such as eating at street food vendors instead of restaurants and renting a kost room instead of an apartment.


Dubbed as Paris van Java by Europeans back in the day, Bandung is a lovely city filled with shopping malls, beautiful architecture, amazing culinary spots, and exciting nightlife scenes. Aside from being a tourist attraction, the city has also been attracting business-minded people as well. Its economic development is undeniable, and the city is now filled with numerous companies looking to hire professionals, foreign and locals alike.

Known in Indonesia as a city for college students, living here is surprisingly affordable, just make sure not to shop around too much. You can get a comfortable kost room or a small studio apartment with just $150 per month. The general living cost in this city is also quite low, ranging from $400 to $600 each month.


Considered as the epicentre of Javanese culture, the royal city of Yogyakarta has all the colour and beauty all expats will love. Filled with historical palaces, ancient temples, vibrant culinary scenes, and friendly people, Yogyakarta possesses a unique charm and peacefulness that no other city in Java can give you. The city has also seen an impressive economic development in the last few years, leading to an economic and employment boom in the area.

Yogyakarta is a moderate-sized city, complete with the amenities a big metropolis can offer but with the peace and calm a smaller city has. Much like Bandung, Yogyakarta is also known as a city for students, so living here can be very affordable. With as little as $200 each month, you can get a neat and comfortable place to stay in near the centre of the city. As for the living cost, you can expect to spend around $350 to $550 per month.


Located in East Java near the Brantas River, Surabaya is one of the most important ports, trading hubs, and business centres in Java. With relatively good infrastructure and connectivity, Surabaya quickly grows into an important economic centre in East Java. This modern and industrial city offers plenty of business and employment opportunities for foreigners and locals alike.

As one of the largest cities in Indonesia, living in Surabaya gives you access to numerous facilities and amenities. Staying here is almost as costly as living in Jakarta. The living cost for one person each month can range from $600 to $900. Meanwhile, renting a place to live in can cost you anywhere from $400 to $700 monthly.

 Useful link:

Glassdoor Indonesia
Best Jobs Indonesia
Monster Indonesia

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