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How Indonesian Millennials Contribute in Advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

18 Jul 19 | 13:52

Amelia Rosary

 How Indonesian Millennials Contribute in Advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Do you know that Millennials make up the largest portion of the world population? In Indonesia, 63.4 million of its populations are millennials and if it’s compared by country populations data, the amount of Indonesian millennials are enough to rule the whole Italy. With the domination of millennials in the world, can they change the world into a better place?

Fortunately, the domination of millennials might bring a hopeful future for the world, especially in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they are highly conscious about the world’s top issues like climate change and income inequality. To recall, back in 2015, the United Nations General Assembly set a collection of 17 global goals, called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the foundation of indicators to achieve a better world by 2030 by ending poverty, fighting inequality, and protecting the planet. In short, SDGs is the international agenda on sustainability.

Millennials around the world, including in Indonesia, have different traits than other generational cohorts as they have unique trends, tastes, and preferences that support creating sustainability and making SDGs goals more attainable. While millennials in the world are seen as a committed generation who will implement the SDGs, what about millennials in Indonesia? Little do we know, Indonesia has millennials who are potentially enhancing the implementation of SDGs. Here are 5 characteristics of Indonesian millennials that support the SDGs;

1. They are highly technology-based. Indonesian millennials will absolutely support the government which vowed to improve the digital technology in Indonesia as 79% of millennials checked their smartphones within one minute each time they woke up in the morning. They even searched for the latest news through digital media as 70.4% of them preferred digital media for its easy access, ability to multitask, and speed of delivering the latest news.  

Millennials’ habit of using the internet means that they were adept at using smartphones, laptops, and other technological gadgets. Updating Instagram stories, making a thread or just a simple tweet on Twitter, or writing Facebook statuses were mandatory activities among Indonesian millennials as on average, each millennial used two social media platforms in a day. They were also using the internet for watching YouTube videos and downloading music on Spotify or Joox. What about games? Mobile Legends was still on top of millennials’ mind when it comes to mobile games.

Not only for their social network and entertainment needs, 47.7% of Indonesian millennials were also looking for jobs through some job portals in the internet. The dependency of digital technology in Indonesian millennials will definitely support the SDGs Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth in terms of achieving higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation.

2. They are innovative towards entrepreneurship. Still in supporting Indonesia to achieve Goal 8 of SDGs, millennials in Indonesia are bringing hope in terms of substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training as 55.4% of them were aspired to be entrepreneurs. Survey results showed that 69.1% of Indonesian millennials were interested to start their own business.

Indonesian millennials loved to hear success stories of young emerging entrepreneurs as it makes them motivated to do so.  In 2018, Indonesia was the 5th country which had the most startups in the world with more than 2 thousands startups across in Indonesia.

All the startups in Indonesia are running in various sectors and many of the startups were founded by millennials, such as Nadiem Makarim who invented GO-JEK in 2010, Winston and William Utomo who founded IDN Media in 2014, and Achmad Zaky who founded Bukalapak in 2010. The emergence of startups and entrepreneurs which founded by millennials in Indonesia will also promote Goal 1: No Poverty as it was proved to decrease the unemployment issues in Indonesia and Goal 4: Quality Education in terms of increasing the number of youths who have entrepreneurship skills.

3. They are optimistic about diversity. Millennials open-mindedness towards diversity was supported by the previous point as they had an extremely wide-range of networking through social media which offered by digital technology. Based on our survey, 81.5% of millennials still support the Unitary State of Republic of Indonesia (Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia, NKRI) and 81.4% of them still support Pancasila as Indonesia’s ideology, means that Indonesian millennials supported the diversity within the country. Although Indonesia is still be the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, almost half of all millennial respondents of our survey approved to be led by non-Muslim leaders.

The sense of tolerance among millennials will support Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities as millennials will ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome through fighting against discrimination in the our nation. The sense of openness towards diversity among Indonesian millennials will also support Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions as their approval of non-Muslim leaders were the implementation of ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels in Indonesia.

Based on our survey, Indonesian millennials were nationalist without political motives and although they weren’t that interested in politics, they were highly committed to make Indonesia better and would do anything to guard the country’s security.

4. They are financially conscious. The majority of Indonesian millennials spent their money for buying monthly needs (51.1%) and the rest went to savings (10.7%), entertainment (8%), social activities (5.3%), and investment (2%). Other than their willingness to spend their money for savings and investment, their financial consciousness also came from their awareness of financial risks as they allocated 6.8% of their money for insurance.

Millennials in Indonesia were also highly aware over property ownership as they realized that their ability to own a house were limited as 50.2% of them wanted to buy a house through mortgage loans. Indonesian millennials were aware that their rate of property ownership was lower than that of baby boomers as they had their own strategy to save their income for savings and deposits; they were keen on saving for the future. 


Other than spent their income for future savings and deposit, millennials were also took some simple economic strategy to fulfill their needs by using instalments when they want to buy expensive things, such as buying smartphones. Millennials’ financial awareness as they have their own strategies to afford a decent property and basic needs will absolutely support Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities as they will be aware of ensuring access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services in Indonesia.

5. They are eager to learn and curious by default. Millennials are known as the generation which has a high motivation to learn. Based on our survey, seeking better self-development opportunities was the first reason millennials quit the company (26.5%), both for senior or junior millennials. For junior millennials, employment was becoming their main concern, besides aspirations, education, and social issues; means that they had many things to achieve in the future.

Millennials stayed at a company for creative freedom, flexible working hours, and a supportive team. Thus, Indonesian millennials were highly valuing how they could grow through their creativity. Other than that, the development of technology is also influencing the way millennials learn as they usually preferred to watch some YouTube videos for knowledge references, especially before they made a decision to purchase a product. How millennials compared products before they purchased it was reflecting the way they will always seek information independently.

The emergence of learning platform startups, which founded by millennials, with unlimited choices of classes, such as and Lingkaran, are also showing that Indonesian millennials are eager to learn many new things. The character of Indonesian millennials who always want to seek information and eagerly compared things will promote Goal 4: Quality Education in terms of increasing the proportion of youths in achieving literacy and numeracy.

In summary, Indonesian millennials are actually conscious and aware in many aspects of their lives which can promote and support the process in achieving SDGs. How they are really dependent on technology and highly initiative towards ideas will enhance Indonesia’s economic growth. The way they are optimistic about diversity will also help our country in achieving equality and human rights in all areas. As Indonesian millennials are already curious and eager to learn by default, it supposedly easy to unleash their potential as long as they are given the right platforms to grow.

As the demographic bonus in Indonesia, millennials hold the key to support and promote SDGs in every aspect. We still have time to unleash their potential in order to achieve each Goal and target of SDGs by 2030. Learn more about Indonesian millennials deeper in our Indonesia Millennial Report 2019, here.

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