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Projected rise in tech salaries for 2019 to boost Malaysia’s digital ambitions

According to a recent report, the salaries of Malaysian employees have been projected to increase by 5.2% in 2019, according to the survey. This marks a slight increase from 2018 where salaries were found to increase by 5.0%.

The survey noted that wages in Malaysia are increasing faster than in Singapore (3.8% in 2018) and in line with Thailand where salaries increased by 5.2% in 2018.

The company that commissioned and carried out the survey also noted that the Malaysia economy is expected to remain resilient amid volatility in global financial markets and oil prices, including worries of the rising trade conflict between its largest trading partners (China and the United States). A GDP growth of 5.0% has been projected in 2019.

The Managing Director of at the company’s Malaysia and Philippines branch noted that in the midst of growing economy and steady salary increases, employers must rework their compensation packages to ensure they can continue to attract and retain the best talent in Malaysia.

The MD added that an organisation’s best performers are often able to command premium pay – and ultimately, play key roles in driving strong business results.

Additionally, the survey found that fresh graduates working in tech and engineering-related fields, as well as professionals with specialist skill sets, enjoy a pay premium above the general industry average.

Fresh graduates in the engineering, telecommunications and high-tech industries take home a premium of 12.1%, 21.3% and 23.0% respectively, with engineering and project design roles offering the highest starting salaries at over RM 3,500 a month.

Meanwhile, those working in IT services and e-commerce roles are paid 5.7% and 6.5% above the general industry average.

Professionals with specialist skill sets such as legal managers also enjoy pay premiums, taking home 16% more than the market average.

Concurrently, employers are also looking at key attributes such as innovation, critical problem-solving, and strong business acumen.

This is demonstrated by the pay premiums in the engineering and tech-related industries. For example, project managers in those industries earn 7% more than the market average, while planning and business development managers take home 9% more.

The Practice Lead at the company’s Malaysian arm noted that as Malaysia’s economy grows, employers must look to align their rewards practices with those of developed economies. Performance-driven rewards systems have become the norm, and productivity bonuses, sales incentives, and long-term incentives (LTI) are increasingly prevalent among Malaysian employers. These must be backed by fair performance assessment processes and robust corporate governance.

This news is in line with the country’s efforts to drive technology and innovation this year.

An earlier report by OpenGov Asia noted that the next decade of innovation will take the nation into the next era of Human-Machine Partnerships, wherein global tech experts predict that technology will impact the future of living, work and the economy.

Moreover, as members of the Gen Z population get ready to enter the workforce, those in charge of hiring them to expect these digital natives, with their nuanced and universal understanding of technology and its potential to transform how we work and live, lead the charge in driving Malaysia’s tech efforts.

Coupled with the news of the salary increase as incentives, 2019 is expected to be a good year for the Malaysian economy. The tech and engineering-related sectors, specifically, are poised the benefit from this as a result of the government’s efforts to channel resources and talent into these sectors.


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