Hays Asia Salary Guide 2023: Malaysian Employment Market Remains Strong In 2023

Hays, a leading global recruitment firm has announced the launch of the 2023 Hays Asia Salary Guide in Malaysia. This comprehensive guide, which surveyed 10,191 skilled professionals and 3,630 employers, provides useful insights for both jobseekers and hiring managers into five key markets in Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong SAR, and China. The guide offers a comprehensive overview of salary ranges, recruitment trends, and talent motivations in Malaysia.

Malaysia records highest staff level increase

Malaysian employers grew staff levels by 51.2% in 2022, surpassing their peers in other countries. Malaysia was the only market to have hired above the anticipated rate. The Malaysian employment market remained strong in 2023, with the highest percentage of active job seekers at 33% compared to the other five markets.

Contract recruitment set to grow in 2023

Contract recruitment is expected to increase in 2023, with more employers indicating growth in temporary and contract employees compared to the previous year. Special projects and exceptional circumstances were key factors for Malaysian employers increasing their reliance on contract workers.

Talent motivations

Salary emerged overwhelmingly as the most powerful motivator for active jobseekers in Malaysia with 77% said they intended to leave their jobs for better salaries. There was however a wider salary expectation gap between employees and employers, particularly Malaysia and China. Majority of Malaysian employees expect more than a 10% increase, although employers are only planning for increases between 3-6%.

Besides salary, work flexibility is a strong priority for employees in Malaysia, but the country has seen a growing increase in employers requiring employees to work permanently on-site with 36.7% of employees who has reported no flexible work arrangements at their organisation. The guide reveals that more employers in Malaysia are on the lookout for new staff with management skills.

Sustainability on the rise for future readiness

Malaysia’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and Bank Negara’s commitment to strengthen the financial industry’s sustainability efforts and its resilience to climate changes will also see growing demand for experts across sustainability functions like sustainable financing, sustainable strategy, and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) specialists. Banks are racing to set up their sustainability team, creating a candidate-driven market where the right skill set will mean stronger bargaining power.

In Asia, data showed that 54% of employers in Malaysia implemented sustainability reporting, falling in second just behind China at 60%. The sustainability implementations of organisations in other countries included Hong Kong SAR (47%), Japan (47%), and Singapore (46%) respectively.

Hays Malaysia Regional Director Natasha Ishak said, “As the composition of the workforce evolves to encompass a greater percentage of younger millennials and Gen Z professionals, the significance of organisations’ social and environmental impact will continue to gain prominence.”

Continuous Learning in Malaysia

58% of Malaysian employees said they would prioritise digital training for platforms and tools over hard/technical skills training. Conversely, the biggest obstacle employees had to upskilling was a lack of time. Employers, on the other hand, consistently chose communication, problem-solving, and teamwork ability as the top three soft skills need to have. Compared to others across Asia, more Malaysian employers were on the lookout for fresh hires with management skills in terms of hard skills.

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