JobStreet, Malaysia’s leading online employment platform by SEEK, released its latest Salary Guide 2023, which found that Malaysia’s job market is now stabilising, with median salaries across most sectors (97.3%) reporting no substantial changes from the previous year. The Computer & IT industry has experienced the highest median salary growth, with a 28% increase from RM3,750 to RM4,800. Computer & IT specialist roles also have the highest median salary among all specialisations at RM6,000.

The emphasis and demand for IT professionals comes as no surprise, as the digital economy continues to grow in Malaysia. Despite a lower number of job ads within the industry, compensation for entry level, senior executive, and manager level positions all recorded year-on-year increases. This trend highlights the strong demand for entry level IT professionals, which is driving up salaries despite a potentially challenging job market.

While Computer & IT functions were the highest paid specialisations, the corporate Computer & IT industry experienced a high 57.4% salary growth – far surpassing the second-highest industry (Communication Service 7.7%). Conversely, SME professionals specialising in Computer & IT experienced a 10.3% salary decrease.

Vic Sithasanan, managing director, JobStreet Malaysia said, “Malaysia’s heightened focus on digital transformation initiatives, spurred by the government’s ongoing push in this area, is likely the reason for this surge in demand for IT roles.

“However, it’s also clear from the layoffs impacting major tech companies around the world earlier this year that this growth may not be sustainable in the long run. Ideally, educational reforms across Malaysia should be implemented to lay a solid foundation to producing more skilled IT specialists in the long-term.”

Notable Industries & Specialisations 

The manufacturing industry is also experiencing some growth, posting the highest number of job ads for the second consecutive year, up 12.6% in 2023. This is in line with the industry’s steady, ongoing expansion – though salaries offered remained mostly unchanged.

Companies may also be expanding teams and turning their focus towards business growth and sales, as job ads for Sales & Marketing specialisations continued to skyrocket, jumping 43.6% to mark over 76,000 job ads posted – the highest across all specialisations for the second consecutive year.

Entry level positions in particular for Sales & Marketing specialisations showed the highest growth at 20%, but interestingly, the Marketing & Advertising industry saw a 2.2% net decrease in salary overall in comparison.

Meanwhile, the F&B sector has recorded salary drops across all position levels, except for Senior Managers. Senior Executives in the industry experienced the most significant salary drop (18.8%) compared to all other positions and industries, while entry level positions start barely above minimum wage at RM1,600.

Given the industry’s high turnover rates and challenges employers are facing in hiring quality candidates, this decline in compensation may be a crucial factor that businesses may need to reconsider in their recruitment strategies.

Sithanasan added, “While median salary levels are consistent year-on-year, rising costs of living remains a concern; it is understandable there is an increased focus on salaries among today’s jobseekers. Finding and hiring top talent continues to be a challenge for companies, particularly for highly specialised or hard-to-fill roles.

“Over the past year, we’ve recorded a 10% increase in job applications via JobStreet Malaysia, indicating that more Malaysians are on the lookout for new opportunities, and businesses will need to find ways to stand out as employers-of-choice in order to hire and retain quality talent.”

Other Key Findings

The Salary Guide also examined salary changes by locations, and found most cities saw salaries decline across most positions. Only Kuching experienced a 9.6% increase in median salary, while Putrajaya experienced no change at all. Positions in Kuantan were the most heavily affected, with a 29.4% salary drop. Overall, junior and non-executive roles experienced the highest decline.

Further examining the findings across SMEs and corporates also revealed key overlaps and differences:

  • The Insurance industry is among the top 3 highest paid for both SMEs and corporates, with SMEs paying slightly higher (RM5,250 vs RM5,150)
  • Cautious consumer sentiment and a shrinking property market over the past year has left the Property & Real Estate industry among the top 3 highest drop in salary for both SMEs and corporates
  • While Sales & Marketing roles were in the top 3 highest paid specialisations for SMEs, counterparts in corporate companies saw the highest decline in median salary (47.2%)

“Our research found that 27% of Malaysians consider financial compensation a deal breaker when accepting job offers, above 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.

“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,” Sithanasan concluded.

Download the full Salary Report report .


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