A UGM survey finds job availability a top priority issue for the young generation in the upcoming Indonesian election. Other key issues include law enforcement and the cost of education.
Indonesia’s upcoming election is set to take place in February 2024. Presidential candidates are actively campaigning by offering their latest programs. Various field issues are being addressed and presented to the potential policyholders.
Every segment of society has different preferences regarding priority issues that must be resolved.
To understand this division of priorities, the Department of Politics and Government at the UGM Faculty of Social and Political Sciences released the results of a political preference survey among the young generation on Tuesday (September 26).
The survey gathered political opinions over two months, from June 24 to August 7, 2023. The respondents consisted of 719 students from 31 universities across Indonesia.
“Our respondents were slightly more male than female, 61% male and 39% female. Regarding their age, since these are students, they fall within the 18-25 age range,” said Faiz Kasylfiham, a researcher at the UGM PolGov.
“The first issue that stands out the most is job availability, at 47.30%. Unfortunately, most students feel this issue has not been addressed much by presidential candidates.”
The reason the issue of employment is the top priority for respondents is related to the wide-ranging economic competition in this era. Students from lower-middle-class economic backgrounds expressed concerns about job opportunities.
35.27% of respondents felt less confident about getting a job after graduating. In addition to labor issues, the second position was taken by law enforcement issues, and the cost of education issue ranked third.
“If we calculate from now, this campaign period is about one month away. Whoever becomes the president will be the choice of over 200 million people. Another important thing is that voters tend to choose, to some extent, based on proportionality, which is the young voter group,” said Arya Budi, a lecturer at the Department of Politics and Government.
“Our data shows this group represents 50%, equivalent to over 100 million people. From this number, there is a group that can influence other groups to vote, namely students.”
Students are deliberately chosen because they are considered a dominant group with a high political awareness and significant influence on the public.
Arya Budi also explained that although students’ priority issue is job availability, there is somewhat conflicting data.
40.12% of respondents said they were confident they would find a job after graduation. This fact indicates that respondents have different perspectives on two different questions.
Respondents positioned themselves as observers when asked about the issues that presidential candidates should prioritize. However, when respondents played the role of actors or those who will be working, they felt confident about finding a job.
“So, these are two different things: their sense of security about post-graduation prospects and what prospects are offered by political choices next year,” Arya Budi said.
“Suppose a presidential candidate were to create avenues for employment that extend beyond the realm of industrial relations, such as entrepreneurship. This would be a new niche in today’s digital age, where digital media plays a significant role.”
The survey results still need further exploration, especially regarding students’ interpretation of “job availability,” their primary concern.
Job opportunities in the formal sector will undoubtedly differ from non-formal employment. This dimension will also yield different results regarding students’ priority issues.