Malaysians most dissatisfied with salary in Asia: Hays

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian employees are the most dissatisfied in Asia when it comes to their salaries, findings from the Hays Asia Salary Guide show.

In a statement, Hays said 46% of employees in Malaysia were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their current compensation packages, the highest number to say so in Asia.

Additionally, Malaysia reported the highest number of employees (24%) in Asia who asked for a pay raise but did not receive one in the last year.

Hays Malaysia managing director Tom Osborne said as Malaysia’s brain drain continues to take some of its best talent outside of the country, it has become vital for organisations to offer more incentives to both attract and retain the best talent.

“These can be either monetary or non-monetary as with a mismatch in salary expectations imminent, organisations could turn the focus on more holistic benefit packages that can plug the gap by easing other areas of concern for employees.

“Another focus would be on upskilling, something that both candidates and organisations can look when it comes to justifying higher increments,” he said.

According to the report, the majority of Malaysian respondents (27%) are expecting increases “between 3-6%”, while others (25%) are expecting increases “greater than 10%” – the highest number to say so in Asia after China.

In contrast, the majority of employers in Malaysia (39%) also expect to give out increments “between 3-6%”, but only 4% are looking at increases “above 10%”.

“These numbers indicate possibilities of severe mismatched salary expectations in 2020, which is further cemented by 20% of employers saying they did not expect employee salaries to change at all – the highest percentage in Asia to say so,” the statement noted.

In line with the salary dissatisfaction, the report also showed Malaysia had the highest number of respondents in Asia who were actively seeking a new job (52%), citing compensation as their top reason for doing so.

“Interestingly, compensation was not the biggest reason why employees would stay with their current employer. 41% of respondents favoured ‘work-life balance’ as what would make them stay, while 38% favoured ‘salary or benefit package’, followed closely by ‘work location’ (37%) and ‘management style and company culture’ (36%),” it said.

Some 26% of Malaysians also regarded “training and development opportunities” as more important than all the other Asian markets.

“This shows that while Malaysian professionals may be attracted by higher pay, benefits that ease work-life balance and difficulties like travel to work or aid in upskilling would be key in retaining them over salary,” said Hays.

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