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Malaysians more willing than most Asian neighbours to back themselves through performance-based bonuses



Malaysians are far more willing to bet on themselves than most of our Asian colleagues, with a new poll by recruiting experts Hays showing that 71 per cent of Malaysian professionals would take a base salary cut for the opportunity to potentially earn more through performance-based bonuses. This is significantly higher than the Asian average of 64 per cent.

In the online poll of 2,361 people (including 439 in Malaysia), Hays found that 52 per cent of Malaysians would take a base salary cut of up to 20 per cent in order to receive a bonus based on their performance. A further 19 per cent would take a cut of more than 20 per cent for that same opportunity.

The final 29 per cent prefer not to roll the dice and would not cut their base salary in order to potentially earn more through a bonus based on performance.

Interestingly, across Asia professionals in Hong Kong are the most secure in their belief that their performance could earn them more dollars. The same poll was run in Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.

It found that 75 per cent of professionals in Hong Kong would take a base salary cut for the opportunity to potentially earn more through performance-based bonuses. Malaysia wasn’t far behind on 71 per cent. The figure then drops to 63 per cent in both China and Singapore, and 48 per cent in Japan.

This suggests that Japanese professionals are the most risk-averse when it comes to salary packages while Hong Kongers are far more willing to back themselves and invest in their own success.

“Understanding how people weight the various elements in a compensation package can be a great attraction and retention advantage,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia. “After all, a compensation package consists of more than base salary.

“However there is no one-size-fits-all approach to compensation packages and employers should work with a candidate and their recruiter to tailor an offer that has the best chance of retaining them long-term.”

Christine says that performance-related bonuses offer advantages to both employers and employees.

“A performance-related bonus rewards employees for good work and can be very motivating for employees as they have a vested interest in achieving a top result. For employers, this can motivate their team to work at peak efficiency.

“Such bonuses work best when both the employer and employee are aware of the objectives that need to be met in order to qualify for the bonus, which is why they are often tied to performance appraisals.

“The minimum performance expectations must be made clear though, otherwise an employee may not feel they are being rewarded fairly for their performance. Communication is essential to make sure both sides are fully aware of the objectives that need to be met in order for performance-related bonuses to be awarded,” she said.

The poll was conducted on each country’s Hays website between April and July 2015.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

Hays is located in Kuala Lumpur at Suite 4 & 5, Level 23, Menara 3, Petronas, Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Phone +60 3 2786 8600 or email

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For further information please contact Lucy Sharp, Regional Head of Marketing at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9885 or


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