Salary reconsideration required to attract top talent in Malaysia

Increasing living costs is pushing more employees to prioritise financial compensation as the main reason for accepting a job offer.
By: | September 22, 2023

As the cost of living in Malaysia continues to rise, JobStreet Malaysia has called on employers to reassess their salary levels as a fundamental component of their recruitment strategies. This, said Vic Sithasanan, Managing Director of JobStreet Malaysia, will be critical in attracting quality candidates and remaining competitive. 

The crux of the matter, Sithasanan pointed out, is that if median salary levels remain relatively stagnant while the cost of living steadily increases, prospective jobseekers are naturally compelled to prioritise financial compensation. He cited JobStreet Malaysia’s research, which found that 27% of Malaysians now consider it a deal-breaker when accepting job offers, surpassing the global average of 21%.

“However, companies who may feel pressure competing in terms of salary levels should also keep in mind other factors that can impact recruitment and look to play to their strengths,” he continued. “Transparency and openness are increasingly valued, and work-life balance is a priority for a majority of Malaysians. Companies need to ensure they can establish trust and create a corporate culture that meets the expectations of modern jobseekers.”

READ MORE: Keeping the best talent in Malaysia… comes with a price

JobStreet Malaysia’s 2023 salary guide revealed that 97.3% of job listings in Malaysia maintained similar salary levels from the previous year. Notably, the IT sector saw a 28% salary increase, raising the median salary from RM3,750 (US$799) to RM4,800 (US$1,023). Among all specialisations, IT specialists now earn the highest median salary at RM6,000 (US$1,279).

Sithasanan attributed the IT sector’s growth to the government’s digital transformation initiatives. However, he cautioned against its long-term sustainability, citing layoffs in major tech organisations worldwide earlier this year, and urged Malaysia to implement educational reforms to nurture a pool of skilled IT specialists, reported The Edge Malaysia.