Malaysia poised for solid salary growth

  • 47 per cent of employers in Malaysia who responded gave a salary increase of 3 to 6 per cent last year and 35 per cent increased above that level;
  • Looking ahead, 47 per cent will increase salaries by 3 to 6 per cent, and 42 per cent will offer increases above that level;
  • 71 per cent of employers expect business activity to increase.


Employees in Malaysia will receive higher salary increases than many of their Asian neighbours this year, according to the 2014 Hays Salary Guide.


The Guide reveals salary and recruiting trends for over 1,200 roles in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japan. It is based on a survey of over 2,600 employers and placements made by Hays.


It found that in Malaysia 47 per cent of employers increased salaries between 3 and 6 per cent last year. A further 25 per cent increased between 6 and 10 per cent, and 10 per cent of employers gave increases above 10 per cent.


These findings are above the average for Asia, where 38 per cent increased salaries between 3 and 6 per cent.  A further 22 per cent of employers across Asia offered increases between 6 and 10 per cent, and 7 per cent increased above that level.


Looking ahead, employers in Malaysia will offer the second strongest salary increase of the countries surveyed, behind only China. In Malaysia, 47 per cent of employers intend to increase salaries between 3 and 6 per cent. 31 per cent will increase salaries between 6 and 10 per cent, and 11 per cent will offer increases above 10 per cent.


In comparison, across Asia 40 per cent of employers intend to increase salaries between 3 and 6 per cent. 23 per cent will increase salaries between 6 and 10 per cent, and 6 per cent will offer increases above 10 per cent.


“Cost control has lowered the ceiling for salary increases in many organisations across Asia,” says Chris Mead, Regional Director of Hays in Malaysia & Singapore. “Employers are more focused on the bottom line.


“In Malaysia the shortage of local skilled professionals has seen salaries remain competitive. For the top talent many employers offer higher packages to entice candidates, proving that money still talks.


In an attempt to manage retention, we have also seen an increase in the number of organisations offering benefits. 85 per cent of organisations now offer their staff benefits, which is up from 79 per cent last year.


“And according to our survey, 53 per cent of employers intend to award a bonus to more than 50 per cent of staff.


“In other positive news, in the next 12 months 71 per cent of employers expect business activity to increase and 43 per cent expect their permanent staff levels to increase. That’s strong evidence in support of a local economy that is both confident and providing jobs.


“This means that those candidates with in-demand skills and realistic salary expectations can be confident that this year will provide them with the opportunity to secure a challenging career move and a salary increase,” he said.


A summary of key trends revealed in the Hays Salary Guide for Malaysia by sector follows:


  • Accountancy & Finance: Malaysia’s accountancy and finance jobs market is very buoyant and job rich, with high demand for quality finance professionals.  This continued demand impacted salaries over the past year and saw individuals achieve high increases when moving jobs. Competition for the top talent and wage pressure will remain key features of the jobs market in the year ahead.


  • Finance Technology: Malaysia’s attractiveness as a market in which to set up infrastructure is driving the local jobs market. We are seeing high demand for IT security, risk, compliance and audit skills. However there is a shortage of appropriate candidates in Malaysia since they can achieve higher remuneration packages elsewhere. We are also seeing a shortage of skills in SAP, Mainframe, CISC, JCL and Cobol, and suitable candidates can earn a premium.


  • Information Technology: There has been a slight increase in salaries for development professionals in response to supply and demand, particularly in mobile development and web development. Employers are flexible with salary ranges for contract Project Managers, Program Directors and Managers within the insurance and banking industries, and skilled Business Analysts can also command a higher salary.


  • Human Resources: Salaries are expected to increase in 2014 in response to an increasing demand for good talent. In most demand are HR Business Partners, Organisational Design, Compensation & Benefits and Talent Acquisition/Recruitment Managers. We also expect to see demand for HR professionals with shared service experience.


  • Sales & Marketing: Demand will remain high across all industries for Brand Managers, Product Managers, Sales Managers and Directors, Marketing Directors, Business Development Managers as well as Digital Marketing Managers and Digital Advertising Sales Managers. In response salaries will increase, most notably in digital marketing since good talent in this area is highly sought after, but in short supply.


  • Oil & Gas: Across Malaysia the drive to invest in and develop local talent continues and suitable candidates, particularly at the senior level, can negotiate large salary increases when moving from one company to another. In addition, the higher salary expectations of returning nationals, who are used to earning a tax free income in other parts of the world, has pushed up pay for local candidates. 


Get your copy of the 2014 Hays Salary Guide by contacting your local Hays office or downloading The Hays Salary Guide 2014 iPhone app from iTunes.


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



Search for jobs