Salaries in Malaysia rose by 5.1 per cent in 2019 and are expected to jump by 5.3 per cent in 2020, according to the Aon.
Compared with its neighbours, wages in Malaysia are increasing faster than those in Singapore (3.8 per cent) and Thailand (4.9 per cent), but slower than in Indonesia (7.4 per cent).
Taking into account the annual inflation of 2.4 per cent, Malaysians experienced an average growth of 2.7 per cent in real wages in 2019, up from 2.1 per cent the previous year.
"The rewards landscape in Malaysia was very active in 2019,” said Rahul Chawla, Director & Head, Rewards Solutions, Malaysia, Aon. “A volatile macroeconomic and geopolitical environment coupled with a pressing need to deliver efficiencies compelled businesses to revamp their rewards programmes. In the last 12 months, organisations have implemented incentive plans aimed at catalysing transformation and delivering shareholder value.”
Zooming into specific industries, Aon found that analytical, strategic and specialist roles earned top dollar in 2019.
Median pay for jobs in engineering and technology are relatively higher than all other job roles across the Malaysia market. Those working in engineering roles earn, on average, 14 per cent higher and those in technology — such as cyber security and information technology — earn 12 per cent more than other job functions within the whole Malaysia market.
Furthermore, fresh graduates in the engineering and high-tech job roles enjoyed a 16 per cent higher starting median salary compared with fresh graduates in other functions. With digital and technological advancements, employers are paying a premium for talent in these areas.
The survey also revealed that median pay for software engineers and application developers increased by 17 per cent from the previous year across various levels of seniority, demonstrating the continuing commitment of Malaysian employers to prepare for Industry 4.0.
Across all industries, senior legal managers earned 20 per cent more than the market average, whereas compensation for senior business development managers / strategic planners was 22 per cent higher than the market average, illustrating the premium employers place on professionals with specialist skill sets.
With a growing economy and steady salary increases, Malaysian businesses must evaluate their compensation packages, to ensure they can continue to attract and retain their most critical talent. “Value creation for all stakeholders and value sharing amongst key contributors seems to be the mantra for the coming year," said Mr Chawla.