Salary increases on cards for Malaysia workers says Hays Guide.

Employees should also consider non-monetary benefits.

The Hays Asia Salary Guide 2019 has found professionals in a wide range of industries in Malaysia are likely to receive salary increments that are above the Asia-wide average in 2019. Based on responses from Hays Asia operating markets Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore, the report has revealed that close to half (48 per cent) of employees in Malaysia – ten per cent more than the average across Asia – could receive a salary increase from above three per cent but less than or equal to six per cent. On the other hand, compared to the country’s historical norms, employers are expecting to give fewer employees a raise this year (three per cent in 2018 vs 13 per cent in 2019).

Salaries remain the primary consideration for employees in Malaysia. Although 55 per cent of employees claim to be ‘satisfied’ with pay levels, only four per cent claim to be ‘very’ satisfied.

According to Hays experts, employers looking to retain their best talent should review their salary increment plans, particularly because close to seven in ten employees (68 per cent) cite compensation packages as the key reason for seeking out new roles, and it is the top most reason for staying with a current employer.

Malaysia candidates have also raised concerns over the transparency of pay level setting. Although 53 per cent of employees feel that transparency is highly important, only 15 per cent strongly agree and 22 per cent slightly agree that their organisation is transparent in this area.

“With the economy growing, business activity increasing and hiring levels rising, employees may begin to wonder why this improvement is not being passed on to them in terms of compensation packages, perhaps leading them to rival organisations that could meet their salary expectations,” comments Tom Osborne, managing director at Hays Malaysia. “Employers looking to keep employee satisfaction levels on salary matters should, therefore, be more upfront about how the management reviews and distributes employees’ pay rises.”

The Hays Salary Guide 2019 reveals that slightly fewer staff are guaranteed bonuses as compared to previous years. While three in five (63 per cent) employers are awarding bonuses to all staff in 2019, this number is down from 66 per cent in 2017. On top of offering bonuses, a clear majority of companies (87 per cent) offer additional benefits to financial packages. Health and medical benefits remain the primary offering.

Malaysia leads the way in Asia in offering a car or car allowances to employees as an added benefit. While the rest of Asia lags in adopting such practice, with only one in five (23 per cent) companies providing it, half (51 per cent) of Malaysia employers offer this benefit.

“For employees who do not feel that their compensation package matches up to their worth, we advise them to reach out to employers and request salary increases,” adds Tom. “More Malaysia employees are asking for raises with more than half (55 per cent) of those who do proving successful, the highest number in Asia.

“However, those requesting raises should consider the possibility of rejection and thus keep an open mind to potential responses from employers. Instead of salary increments, employees might be offered non-monetary benefits, improved work/life balance or a salary review at a fixed date in the near future. Failing that, employees could stand to benefit in becoming more active in the recruitment market, as the improving economy and optimistic business outlook are leading to greater hiring activity in Malaysia.”

The 2019 Hays Asia Salary Guide reveals that salaries across the region rose less than they did in the previous year, with 15 per cent of employers saying that salaries remained unchanged as opposed to nine per cent in 2018. Japanese companies witnessed the greatest levels of stagnation, with 20 per cent seeing no change.

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