Malaysian ICT salaries trail SEA region ... again

  • Vietnam emerges as the new powerhouse in SEA for ICT salaries, followed by Singapore and Thailand
  • Average salaries for Malaysian ICT professionals on the rise; fresh graduates can also expect more

FOR the second year running, data revealed by the national ICT association Pikom's ICT Job Market Outlook for Malaysia suggest that other countries within South-East Asia are offering better salaries than Malaysia.
At a recent media briefing to present the findings of its job market outlook, Pikom chairman Woon Tai Hai acknowledged that Malaysia continues to slip further in terms of job attractiveness compared with Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, all of which offer better salaries to qualified ICT professionals.
The ICT Job Market Outlook study is an annual report produced by Pikom and is conducted in collaboration with recruitment portal, which provided the salary data, and KPMG, which analysed the data in the report. All data cited in the report is based on actual salaries paid to ICT professionals and not on surveys, the association said.
The 2013 results reflect similar findings in the same report for 2012, which noted that Malaysia’s northern and southern neighbours, Thailand and Singapore, offered better salaries to ICT professionals.
In the analysis last year, Pikom used a rudimentary method to compare the salaries of various countries in and around the region.  
Malaysian ICT salaries trail SEA region ... againIn revealing the salary figures for 2012, Woon (pic) had then said that the Malaysian salary data was first converted from its ringgit equivalent into the corresponding US dollar value, after which a direct comparison was then made between similar job categories in different countries around the region. An average salary figure for each category was then derived.
This year, Woon said Pikom, Jobstreet and KPMG went a step further and applied purchasing power parity (PPP) adjustments to the salary figures in a bid to take into account inflation rates and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.
With the PPP method applied, the salary data for ICT professionals working in SEA-based countries for 2013 were:

  • ICT jobs in Singapore paid 1.84 times better than in Malaysia;
  • ICT jobs in Thailand paid 1.36 times better;
  • ICT jobs in Vietnam paid 1.87 times better; and
  • ICT jobs in the Philippines and Indonesia paid lower than that of Malaysia, at 0.44 times and 0.56 times, respectively.

Quizzed as to why Vietnam paid such high salaries, topping even Singapore, Woon said it was hard to guess but was quick to point to the possibility that ICT professionals are highly sought after in that nation currently.
“Vietnam is booming and there is a dearth of ICT professionals who can do the job there,” he said. “Many of these [ICT professionals] are likely expatriates who command very high salaries, and owing to this, the figures could be skewed in their favour.”
Asked what can be done to address such challenges, Woon said that unfortunately, this is a country-wide problem and not merely an [ICT] industry challenge.
“I believe that this is beyond just our [ICT] industry ... if we were to do a survey on the banking industry, we may get the same issues highlighted. That said, highlighting these issues in our report is the first step towards addressing them.
“We have C-Level executives who are in our [Pikom] council and they already know these issues. This is a structural problem and what we can do as an industry body is to highlight this over and over again.
“We’re also engaging CIOs (chief information officers), advising them that they may be losing talent because of this and have urged them to pay commensurately when hiring ICT professionals,” he added.

Next page: Despite this, average salaries continue to rise

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