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Malaysian ringgits depicting salary trends

Malaysia’s salary and job trends for 2017

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Prospects for technology recruitment in 2017 are very positive as employers are driven by Malaysia’s blend of price point and quality in this sector, according to Ambition’s quarterly market insights report for Q4 2016.

The report also found that Malaysia’s banking and financial services market has continued to established itself as a mainstay global service centre hub, for middle and back office functions for some of the world’s largest organisations.

The report covers salary and job outlook data across four sectors [detailed below]:

  1. Technology
  2. Banking and financial services
  3. Finance and accounting
  4. Digital

Technology – salary and job outlook 2017

Prospects are bright as employers are driven by Malaysia’s blend of price point and quality. There is an uptake in the creation of centres of excellence, resulting in increased demand for specialist talent further up the value chain.

Malaysia is currently less competitive on cost point alone compared to other typical offshore centres, such as Chennai and Manila. However, if you factor in the quality, seniority and specialist nature of IT professional that can be hired here, Malaysia is now moving towards being a cost-effective alternative to Singapore and Hong Kong, a move away from the typical offshore BPO model.

Moving into Q1 2017, significant growth is expected across the following sectors:

  • Infrastructure services such as networks, platforms and specialist areas such as cloud and virtualisation;
  • Salaries of IT directors with more than 10 years of experience pegged at RM250k-360k per annum;
  • ERP, EAI and other specialist off-the-peg solutions from large vendors such as SAP, Oracle and Salesforce;
  • Solutions architect for application development can take home in the range of RM180k-250k per month.
  • Business transformation, an increasingly dominant area of IT, leading to demand for professionals in project management, program management, PMO and change management.
Technology salaries for 2017


Banking and financial services – salary and job outlook 2017

Drawing from lessons learnt in previous years, a number of banks are becoming more strategically aligned on locally available talent, and are continuing to grow largely across investment banking, wealth, risk and AML / compliance operations.

That said, 2016 saw smaller pockets of niche capital market and AML analysis or optimisation operational skillsets, with Kuala Lumpur attracting both expat talent and returning Malaysians given the instability and changes to many mainstay frontline markets.

The following is the sectoral outlook:

  • With a number of the global banks continuing to migrate functions to Kuala Lumpur, there is a need for business change teams, process engineers, business analysts, and project managers;
  • Regional finance controllers can earn in the range of RM220k-280k per annum this year;
  • As  a number of projects are being undertaken based in China / Hong Kong, there is an increased need for language fluency in Mandarin or Cantonese;
  • Head of tax roles are in demand with anticipated yearly salary at RM250k-300k;
  • There is a return in demand for audit, risk and compliance talent, particularly those focused on AML and FCC operations, as global markets have become more heavily regulated.
Banking and financial services salaries for 2017


Finance and accounting – salary and job outlook 2017

  • In the months ahead, shared services hubs are expected to focus on volume hiring, leading to an upward trajectory in demand for experienced accounting and risk professionals.
  • Experienced CFOs (15+ years) can pocket in the range of RM 360k-540k annually.
  • The market favours job seekers, with demand for change management as well as migration professionals, especially those with project management and Lean Six Sigma qualifications.
  • Demand is also high for audit heads, who can anticipate per annum salary of 250k-300k.
  • By centralising global or regional functions in a shared services hub, there is demand for those experienced in financial analysis, financial planning and analysis, taxation, and compliance.
Finance and accounting salaries in 2017


Digital – salary and job outlook 2017

  • With 675 million smartphones in service in Asia today, demand for iOS, Android and Full Stack mobile developers to be at a peak towards the end of 2017.
  • CIO/CTO titles are taking home RM360k-600k per annum, while engineering heads or vice president titles fall in a similar RM300k-600k range.
  • With investments in big data, mobilisation and content marketing on social media platforms, there is demand for influencer marketers, data scientists, and social media experts.
  • Despite Malaysia being an excellent talent base, some challenges are foreseen in terms of its local talent pool’s ability to meet digital expertise demand.
Digital salaries for 2017

Paul Endacott, regional MD of Asia at Ambition, commented on the necessity for businesses to go digital. “This is more so in Malaysia where there are emerging centres of excellence, resulting in increased demand for digital and technology services through investment and development whilst the country’s capital is seen as a logistically viable, cost-effective and business-friendly regional business hub.”

However, he pointed out that this will cause a talent shortage despite the increase in expatriates and returning Malaysians.

“Organisations are encouraged to hire based on trainable potential and transferable qualities such as problem-solving or general coding ability, failing which these organisations will likely face a standstill and a faltering process of knowledge transfer to fuel talent growth.”

 Lead photo / iStock

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