Personality-Industry Alignment in Indonesia

An aerial photo of downtown Jakarta, Indonesia, at night accompanies a blog post about personality characteristics of the Indonesian workforce and personality-industry alignment

In the quest for professional success, people often wonder which careers or industries might best suit their personalities. Research suggests that personality-industry alignment—that is, the match between an individual’s personality characteristics and a specific industry’s requirements and demands—plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s professional journey. Person-environment alignment theories, for instance, indicate that certain personality characteristics may be better suited for certain industries or occupations, leading to better job performance, satisfaction, and career success.1,2

For example, individuals who possess characteristics such as creativity, adaptability, and a willingness to take calculated risks may be better suited to industries that emphasize innovation and risk taking, such as technology or entrepreneurship. Similarly, individuals who exhibit compassion, patience, and strong communication abilities may work better in industries that require high levels of empathy and interpersonal finesse, such as healthcare or customer service.

Recognizing the significance of personality-industry alignment, Experd, Hogan’s authorized distributor in Indonesia, used Hogan’s extensive database of personality research to examine the relationship between personality and industry-specific success in Indonesia.

This blog post will explain how different personality characteristics align with the oil and gas and banking and finance industries in Indonesia. It will also explore the implications of these findings for organizations striving to improve their recruitment and talent management practices. Lastly, it will share some unique personality characteristics of the Indonesian workforce.

Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry is typically divided into two main sectors: upstream and downstream. The upstream sector deals with identifying, extracting, and producing raw materials, while the downstream sector focuses on refining, distributing, and marketing products.

Experd found clear personality differences between people working in these two sectors in Indonesia. People employed in the upstream sector tend to score high on the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) Prudence scale. People who score high on Prudence are described as organized, structured in their approach to work, meticulous in following rules, and planful. They are ideal for roles requiring high safety standards since they generally follow the rules and will likely follow safety procedures.

In contrast, the downstream sector prioritizes achieving business targets and the agility to make changes at any moment. Indonesian employees in this environment tend to score lower on Prudence. These types of employees tend to be described as tolerant to ambiguity and flexible in adapting work plans based on changing conditions.

Understanding these personality differences can help organizations optimize talent acquisition and development strategies within the oil and gas industry.

Banking and Finance Industry

The banking and finance industry can be divided into two main categories: regulatory organizations and commercial organizations. Regulatory organizations ensure the stability and integrity of the financial system, while commercial organizations provide the necessary financial services to meet the needs of individuals, businesses, and governments.

Experd observed distinct personality differences between people working in regulatory and commercial organizations in Indonesia. The work culture in regulatory organizations usually emphasizes collaboration, compliance, and process orientation. Employees must consider the interests of numerous stakeholders and develop policies and guidelines to minimize risk. As a result, high scores on the HPI’s Interpersonal Sensitivity scale and low scores on the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) Mischievous scale are the most prevalent characteristics of Indonesians working in these regulatory organizations. People with high scores on Interpersonal Sensitivity tend to be described as agreeable, personable, and diplomatic in their communication style. Those with low Mischievous scores are described as responsible and rule abiding, even in times of stress, pressure, or boredom. Employees with these scores may tend to develop high-quality relationships with various stakeholders while following the rules, matching the requirements for regulatory organizations.

Meanwhile, in commercial organizations, the emphasis is on competition, business, and results. Employees must establish relationships with various stakeholders and achieve strategic business goals, including taking risks to advance the business. Because of these demands, people working in commercial organizations tend to score high on HPI Ambition, HPI Sociability, and HDS Mischievous. People who score high on Ambition and Sociability tend to be described as assertive, competitive, and outgoing, while those who score high on Mischievous are described as charming but limit testing.

Understanding these distinct personality profiles can improve hiring decisions, team dynamics, and overall organizational effectiveness, enabling both regulatory and commercial organizations to harness the strengths of their employees for success in their respective domains.

Personality Characteristics of the Indonesian Workforce

While individual personalities across any population are unique and show a broad range of differences, some common characteristics can be observed among Indonesian employees, according to Experd’s research. The Indonesian culture places great value on compassion, generosity, and mutual assistance, known as gotong royong. This cultural aspect contributes to higher scores on the Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI) Altruistic scale, highlighting Indonesians’ inclination to help others. High scorers on the Altruistic scale tend to be described as good-natured and concerned for the well-being of others. This value supports teamwork as an important culture characteristic in most organizations.

Politeness, respect, loyalty, and reverence for elders are also deeply ingrained in the culture. This is consistent with higher scores on the MVPI Tradition scale. People who score high on the Tradition scale typically care deeply about traditions and customs. Indonesians also tend to score high on the MVPI Security scale, indicating a preference for certainty and clear expectations, rather than taking risks or embracing an entrepreneurial spirit. This suggests that the spirit of entrepreneurship might not be as prevalent within Indonesian culture and that some organizations might find it challenging to implement a culture of agility.

Another prevalent high score among Indonesians is on the HDS Leisurely scale. People who score high on the Leisurely scale are described as cooperative and agreeable but privately resentful and passively resistant in times of pressure. Social harmony is highly valued in Indonesia, which can lead to indirect communication and the avoidance of direct confrontation. The cultural concept of ewuh pakewuh, or indirectness, is still prominent in the workplace. Many individuals are hesitant to voice their objections directly, preferring to express their disagreement behind the scenes to maintain harmony and avoid conflict. This can create challenges in fostering a productive work environment and constructive collaboration within a company or organization. Consequently, employees in Indonesia could consider working on developing assertive communication skills with the goal of effectively expressing their opinions in a more direct manner but without causing offense.

Lessons from Experd’s Research

Assessing personality-industry alignment can help organizations make informed decisions during the talent acquisition process, ensuring they can identify candidates with suitable personality characteristics for a particular industry or job role. Moreover, employees and leaders who have self-awareness about their personalities can improve their job satisfaction, performance, and career success long-term.

In addition, understanding these characteristics can provide valuable insights for organizations and people navigating the workplace in Indonesia. Embracing the values of compassion, respect, and indirect communication can help individuals foster harmonious and successful relationships in the Indonesian workforce. Working, however, on effective communication that proactively addresses problems will be important for organizations and individuals in Indonesia to succeed in the marketplace.

Finally, personal values play a significant role in shaping organizational culture. By being aware of employees’ values, organizations can take proactive measures to address discrepancies and align personal values with the desired culture. Ultimately, recognizing the influence of personal values and actively managing them can help build a strong organizational culture.


  1. Dawis, R. V., & Lofquist, L. H. (1984). A Psychological Theory of Work Adjustment. University of Minnesota Press.
  2. Holland, J. L. (1997). Making Vocational Choices: A Theory of Vocational Personalities and Work Environments (3rd ed.). Psychological Assessment Resources.