Salary Trends in Malaysia for 2018 – Are you ready?


Salary Trends in Malaysia for 2018 – Are you ready?

Wage earners can expect salary hikes of between 20 to 25 per cent in 2018 when they change jobs in the banking & financial services, engineering and legal & compliance sectors.

The Information and Technology sector is also expected to grow the fastest next year in a candidate-driven market with salary increments ranging between 20 to 30 per cent.

Robert Walters, a specialist professional recruitment consultancy company, said Malaysia experienced steady hiring activity in 2017 due to the country’s ease of doing business, political stability, market growth and business-friendly government-driven initiatives.

Robert Walters Malaysia country manager Kimberlyn Lu said hiring activity will remain active in 2018, driven mostly by continuous growth of e-commerce, digitalisation, fintech, shared services and better organisational optimisation.

“We see a high demand in IT jobs spanning across the fintech, banking, as well as the healthcare sector such as data analysts, software engineers and cyber security.

“Candidates with niche skills and better adaptability stand a better chance of being hired as trends are set to change to a different one based on companies’ specified skills required for them,” she said.

The IT sector saw a spike in demand for software developers skilled in programming languages in 2017 as organisations looked to fill hybrid positions with top candidates who were adept in more than one coding language.

“This trend is set to continue as we see more need such as in the implementation of the Digital Free Trade Zone and businesses moving towards digitalisation,” she added.

Candidates with high potential or niche skills are also expected to enjoy increments of between 25 per cent to 30 per cent when they move jobs, although a raise of 15-20 per cent is common business practice.

Organisations will also continue to attract Malaysian talent (returning Malaysians) as their international experience is highly valued.

OK, now let us see some examples compiled for the followings roles on their salary trends:-

  1. Sales and marketing
  2. Accounting and Finance
  3. Human Resources

Sales and marketing salary trends

There was strong demand this year in Kuala Lumpur for sales and marketing professionals in the e-commerce, retail and industrial sectors. As online spending continued to grow for personal care, fashion, beauty and fresh food products; candidates with experience in merchandising and digital marketing were highly sought after.

Employers who focus on finding the right cultural fit will reap the benefits in staff retention. Additionally, transparency and clear communication on potential career progression will have a significant impact on employees’ decisions to stay or leave, offering opportunities to move vertically or laterally.

According to the report, candidates for niche positions, or with specific skill sets in the professional services and digital industries, commanded salary hikes of up to 25%. On the other hand, the salary increment for sales and marketing roles in FMCG and the industrial sector remained at between 15-20% in 2017 – these levels are expected to continue in 2018.

On that note, managing directors can expect an annual salary of RM360k – RM600k (consumer) and RM360K – RM550K (industrial) – as per the report.

Sales directors can expect an annual salary of RM300K – RM504K (consumer) and RM240K – RM360K (industrial) annually.

Meanwhile, marketing directors are expected to earn RM312 – 480K (consumer) and RM240 – RM360K (industrial) annually.

[*All salary increments mentioned are for professionals switching jobs.]

Accounting and finance salary trends

Hiring demand for accounting and finance professionals was modest this year; as companies focused on streamlining costs and outsourcing accounting functions. Most hiring activity was for replacement roles, with many organisations preferring to promote internally before considering external candidates.

Meanwhile, more organisations will be looking to automate key finance processes in 2018. This will allow employees to concentrate on activities that add value, such as strategic planning, business partnership and business analysis.

According to the report, salary growth varied in 2017. Professionals with unique skill sets and those who were pursued by multiple organisations could negotiate decent increments of more than 20%. On average, internal increments ranged from 3-5%, while people who changed jobs received raises of 15%. On that note, salary increases of 15- 20% expected to remain the norm in 2018.

In Kuala Lumpur (KL), accounting and finance CFOs can expect to earn an annual salary of RM420k – RM720k. Meanwhile, finance directors can expect an annual salary of RM300k – RM456k (for MNCs), and RM240k – RM300K (for SMEs).

In comparison, finance directors in Penang can expect an annual salary of RM336k – RM480k.

Human resources salary trends

Hiring remained steady for HR professionals throughout 2017 – with a slight spike in the first half of the year due to standard bonus cycles. Activity focused predominantly on replacement roles across all seniority levels. For that, organisations optimising their costs in 2018 will look at their internal pool of employees before filling positions with external candidates. The report stated: “To attract the right talent, hiring managers will need to be mindful of the scarcity of niche skills and be flexible in their remuneration offers.”

“Salary limits may need to be stretched to attract top talent, as counter-offers by other prospective and current employers will be common.”

In fact, the findings showed that companies had offered salary hikes of 15- 20% to attract the right talent in 2017 and this is expected to continue in 2018. On that note, HR directors in KL can expect an annual salary of RM300k – RM720k next year. However, HR directors in Penang can expect an annual salary of RM168k – 456k.

The above article sources are from: and

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