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Salary & benefits key reason employees in Malaysia leave a job but also why they stay


Employers will need to focus on retention this year as 40 per cent of candidates in Malaysia surveyed for the 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide claimed to be looking for a new job. A further 48 per cent are open to hearing about a fresh opportunity, according to recruiting experts Hays.

The 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide outlines the findings of candidate and employer research across five key nations – China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles.

Of the more than 3,000 employers representing over six million employees taking part in this year’s Guide, 34 per cent are worried they already don’t have the right talent on board to achieve current business objectives. And 96 per cent say skills shortages have the potential to impact business operations this year.

However, Hays research reveals that not only are many employees in Malaysia already actively job hunting, 31 per cent want to be in a new role within the next six months with a further 19 per cent expecting to change jobs within the year.

“With a third of employees thinking about making a move, employers should pay close attention to what drives them to want a new job as well as their reasons for staying in the job they have,” says Tom Osborne, Regional Director of Hays in Malaysia.

According to the 2016 Guide the top motivators for job hunting identified by candidates in Malaysia in order of preference are:

  • Salary or benefits (53 per cent)
  • Seeking new challenges (35 per cent)
  • Lack of career progression in their current role (30 per cent)
  • Management style/company culture (28 per cent)
  • Work location (18 per cent)
  • Lack of training or development opportunities (17 per cent)
  • Poor work-life balance (12 per cent)
  • Concerns about job security (11 per cent)
  • Other (7 per cent)

The key retention factors for employees in Malaysia in order of preference are:

  • Salary or benefit package (42 per cent)
  • Career progression (34 per cent)
  • Work-life balance (34 per cent)
  • Work location (27 per cent)
  • The management style & company culture (27 per cent)
  • Training or development opportunities (24 per cent)
  • Job security (24 per cent)
  • New challenges (21 percent)
  • Other (7 per cent)

Whilst in Malaysia, the key to retention is salary, around the region work-life balance is the main reason people stay with an employer in China, Hong Kong and Singapore and in Japan career progression is what makes employees stay.

Employee vs employer salary increase expectations
A sizeable 61 per cent of candidates in Malaysia that we surveyed did not ask for a pay rise in the last 12 months but our research reveals that candidates have higher expectations for the year ahead which don’t match up to what employers are intending to offer.

In Malaysia, 56 per cent of candidates surveyed expect a salary increase of more than 6 per cent but our research reveals that only 39 per cent of employers in Malaysia will award more than 6 per cent increases this year.

“Employers with cautious salary intentions for the year ahead will need to look closely at some of the other key benefits jobseekers value most highly to ensure they can attract and retain the best talent,” said Tom.

At the same time, candidates should do their research and set realistic salary expectations before asking for a pay rise or intending to change jobs this year.

Get your copy of the 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide by visiting, contacting your local Hays office or downloading The Hays Salary Guide 2016 iPhone app from iTunes.

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

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

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For further information please contact Kerryn Celine, Marketing Project Manager, Asia at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9844 or


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