Sorry, Malaysia – most employers are handing out raises of between 0 and 6 per cent for the coming year, with one in five employers giving none at all, according the a poll by recruitment agency Hays in its new Asia Salary Guide 2020.
This is in stark contrast to employee expectations, with 90 per cent of respondents hoping for raises of between 3 and 10 per cent.
The firm polled 55,000 workers (of which 2,200 identified themselves as employers) across China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, including 958 Malaysian respondents (of which 413 identified themselves as employers).
Out of the five countries polled, employers in Malaysia were the most likely to offer no increment at all, the report said, adding that Malaysia was also the country with the highest number of rejections – almost 25 per cent – for raise requests submitted by employees.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Malaysian workers were also the most open of the five markets to switching jobs, with about 35 per cent actively looking for a new role, and another roughly 50 per cent open to switching companies.
The report identified individuals with finance, cybersecurity, cloud engineering, healthcare, energy markets and digital marketing expertise as having with the best chance of a salary increase.
In particular, soaring investment in the digital sector meant a spike in demand for workers with campaign analysis, marketing operations, content strategising, creative campaign and search engine optimisation skills, leading to “inflated salaries for digital professionals in the year to come”.
The report added that the concentration of finance personnel in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya would “result in further increases for accounts payable, accounts receivable and general ledger professionals,”, while new regulations in cybersecurity, coupled with talent shortages, would result in companies “increasing their salary offers and salary benchmarks to retain top talent.”
Meanwhile, a higher Government budget to improve hospitals and healthcare facilities would likely create ” well-paid” opportunities for those in the industry, while an expected uptick in the energy industry translated into salaries that were “more favourable than average”.
As for cloud and DevOps talent, the shortage of professionals in Malaysia was so acute that companies would likely opt to hire foreigners, Hays said.
Foreign employees made up 15 per cent of staff among the organisations polled in the report.