KUALA LUMPUR – The Robert Walters Salary Survey 2021 has been released, presenting a comprehensive overview of the current job market, in-demand skill sets and salary expectations for key industries in Malaysia.
From an employment perspective in Malaysia, 2020 has seen a slow and conservative hiring market in Malaysia, which is expected to continue into 2021, at least for the first half as businesses adapt to the repercussions of COVID-19 including the latest movement restrictions with the MCO.
Furthermore, according to the survey, approximately half (50%) of clients plan to implement a headcount/hiring freeze in 2021 as part of their response to COVID-19. It’s not all bad news however as a large percentage of employers surveyed are also planning to train/upskill their staff (53%) and increase their investment in technology, apps and tools (42%) this year, indicating a continued emphasis on employee and workplace process development.
To delve slightly deeper, Accounting and Finance, Banking and Financial Services, Engineering, Human Resources, Legal and Supply Chain job markets are expected to generally remain conservative for the months to come, with a few bright spots in high-demand sectors including essential services, technology, pharmaceutical/healthcare, insurance, risk and compliance as well as renewable energy.
Conversely, Sales and Marketing positions are expected to see some recovery, especially in jobs about e-commerce, digital marketing and overall sales as companies look to consolidate and strengthen their income streams in light of the new normal brought on by COVID-19.
Lastly, the job market for roles in Technology and Transformation is set to continue to grow further as companies pay more attention to laying the foundations for their digital operations (e-commerce, remote working, big data, AI solutions) and protecting that framework (cybersecurity, training) to ensure business continuity in anticipation of current and anticipated socio-economic challenges.
Moreover, as for the Northern region, the recruitment market is a bit more dynamic for Engineering, Technology & Transformation and Sales in particular, driven by the proliferation of manufacturers of medical devices and electronics as well as IT shared services.
The overall conservative approach to recruitment in 2021 means that the available hiring proposals will be strictly scrutinised and many organisations may also opt to recruit internally for available roles to manage costs. On the ever-important topic of remuneration, job-movers can expect a lower than usual salary increment of 12-15% or even down to a direct match of their last drawn pay as companies attempt to manage cash-flow and employee headcount.
For currently employed candidates, it remains likely that wages remain stagnant across this cycle or with very moderate pay increases, except of top performers who may still be able to draw good increments, bonuses and even promotions.