M’sian ICT salaries rise, but still lag SEA region

  • Pikom salary survey shows a rise in average pay for Malaysian ICT workers
  • Average salaries still trail those offered in the region

WHILE Malaysia’s average information and communication technology (ICT) job salaries have increased in the past year, the country still faces a significant salary disparity when compared to countries around the region, reveals a new survey.
According to Pikom's (Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia) recently released ICT Job Market Outlook report, the average salary of ICT professionals in Malaysia rose 10.9% from RM5,626 in 2010 to RM6,240 in 2011.
The survey is part of the ICT Job Market Outlook report produced by Pikom and was undertaken in collaboration with recruitment portal Jobstreet.com, who provided the salary data, and KPMG, who analyzed the economic outlook in the report.
M’sian ICT salaries rise, but still lag SEA regionPikom chairman Woon Tai Hai (pic) said that the salary growth experienced in 2011 was moderate and in tandem with the overall economic climate in Malaysia, which is still experiencing resilient growth despite the conditions in the Eurozone.
But the not-for-profit national ICT Association chairman conceded that countries around the region still offer much better salaries, noting that this situation will still contribute to the overall “brain drain” phenomenon experienced by the country.
Noting that previous Pikom salary surveys did not include comparisons with other countries in the region, Woon said last year's Malaysian salary data was first converted from their ringgit equivalent into their corresponding US dollar value.
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. The data revealed the following:

  • ICT jobs in Hong Kong paid 3.1 times better; 
  • ICT jobs in Singapore paid 2.52 times better;
  • ICT jobs in Thailand paid marginally higher at 1.02 times;
  • ICT jobs in China paid slightly lower at 0.95 times; and 
  • India, the Philippines and Indonesia ICT average jobs salaries paid lower than Malaysia, at 0.66 times, 0.43 times, and 0.34 times respectively.

"Although this is considered a ‘dirty comparison,’ as a result of the direct conversion and not taking into account currency fluctuations, it nonetheless shows the disparity between Malaysia and other nations nearby,” he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur.
“Thailand has almost achieved parity with Malaysia so what this means is that if Thailand’s [average salaries offered] start moving up [next year], we may lose more people to them too," Woon stressed.
Woon also noted that although China had similar average salaries to offer as Malaysia, this still signified "a danger zone, as parity does not mean it's better for us."
M’sian ICT salaries rise, but still lag SEA region"These countries are basically around us, with flying times of about three to four hours between them," he said, adding that these trends could negatively affect the brain drain problem that the country is facing.
Asked what could be done about such a situation, Woon said that Pikom as an organization has provided feedback to the government with such data.
“What we can do is that we can create awareness of the real facts, through such data,” he said. “We have been involved with dialogues, not only with the ministry of human resources but other ministries as well.”
Acknowledging that this situation is a tough one to deal with, Woon said this brain drain situation is far bigger than what Pikom can deal with by itself.
Among the recommendations, Woon said is for the government to look at the entire education system and review the way it assesses students and move away from being too examination oriented.
“There is also a need to ensure admission and/or accreditation of new higher institutions of learning that are equipped with the right programs,” he said. “Also, the academia need to forge closer collaboration with industry players to ensure better understanding of industry needs.”
Other findings
Meanwhile, the Pikom ICT Job Market outlook also revealed the following interesting observations:

  • The average salary of new entrants to ICT job market after graduation has gone up by 24% to RM2,238, from RM1,800;
  • Of the 25 industries surveyed, the results showed that oil and gas positions dominated the list, with an average monthly salary of RM8,020 followed by The telecommunication sector, which netted RM6,848, 15% lower;
  • The average monthly remuneration earned by ICT software professionals having less than five years working experience was RM3,600 in comparison to only RM3,025 for ICT hardware professionals and RM3,225 by ICT call center professionals;
  • Software development applications professionals experienced on an average a 19.3% rise in monthly salary from RM6,960 in 2010 to RM8,310 in 2011. Similarly, ICT professionals in enterprise resource planning (ERP)/business applications received a 14.5% increment from RM7,550 in 2010 to RM8,650 in 2011;
  • Big corporations and multinationals having employment size more than 1,000 on an average paid monthly salary of RM7,052 , which was 36.4% more than companies with fewer than 100 people, where the amount was only RM5,169; and
  • Geographically, ICT employees in Klang Valley netted 9% more than their counterparts in Johor; in comparison to Penang region the scale differed only marginally by 1.7%.

[RM1= US$0.32]

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