Malaysian employees are the most unhappy in Asia when it comes to their salaries, according to a study by recruitment agency Hays. 46% of Malaysians surveyed were either “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their pay.
The survey also found that at 24%, Malaysia reported the highest number of employees in Asia who asked for a pay raise but did not receive one in the last year. The majority of workers were expecting increases of between 3-6%, while others were expecting increases of more than 10%.
At the same time, 20% of Malaysian employers said that they did not expect employees’ salaries to change at all – again, the highest percentage in Asia to say so. 39% of employers in Malaysia were expecting to give out increments of between 3-6%, but only 4% of employers were looking at increases above 10%.
According to Hays Asia, the dissatisfaction amongst Malaysian workers is “likely a compounding factor in high salary expectations from employees that differ from that of employers, creating the potential for mismatched salary expectations in 2020.”
Unsurprisingly, Malaysia also has the highest number of respondents in Asia who are actively seeking a new job at 52%. 67% of these respondents cite compensation as their main reason for doing so.
That said, the study revealed that salaries are not the biggest factor behind why employees remain with a company. 41% identify work-life balance as their deciding factor, while only 38% cited salary or benefit package as the reason. Work location followed closely at 37%, along with management style and company culture at 36%.
Lastly, Malaysians also regard training and development opportunities as more important compared to all other Asian markets, at 26% of all total respondents surveyed. “This shows that while Malaysian professionals may be attracted by higher pay, benefits that ease work-life balance and difficulties like travel to work or aid in upskilling would be key in retaining them over pay,” said Hays.
In light of Malaysia’s ongoing brain drain phenomenon, Hays Malaysia managing director Tom Osborne said that it was vital for organisations to offer more incentives to attract and retain the best talent. “These can be either monetary or non-monetary as with a mismatch in salary expectations imminent, organisations could turn the focus on more holistic benefit packages that can plug the gap by easing other areas of concern for employees.”
The survey was conducted on 900 Malaysian respondents from August to October 2019 as part Hays’ annual Asia Salary Guide. A total of 6,000 respondents were surveyed altogether, including participants from China, Singapore, and Japan.