Randstad: 54% of Malaysians Do Not Think They are Being Fairly Paid

49% received more than 20% wage increase when they changed employers

Thousands of employees braving the Causeway for earning an income - Image for illustrations only (Photo by Kyaizee Mohd)

According to a recent online survey conducted by Randstad Malaysia, 54% of respondents feel that they are not drawing a salary that fairly reflects their work contributions, skills and experience.

Of the 30% of respondents who changed their employers in the past 12 months, 49% were successful in negotiating for a 20% wage increase.

Randstad, the world’s largest talent company has released the Salary and Bonus Expectations report in Malaysia to help employers understand talent’s salary and bonus expectations in light of increasing cost of living and imbalanced supply and demand in the labour market.

Fahad Naeem, Country Director at Randstad Malaysia said, “As global and domestic demands ramp up, companies need to grow and maintain their workforce to continue delivering products and services. One of the tried-and-tested ways to be successful in growing your workforce is to offer an attractive and competitive salary package.”

When asked about how much salary increment respondents received from their employers in the past three months, 49% of Malaysian employees received only up to 5% of salary increment.

91% of respondents in Malaysia would change employers if they are offered a higher salary. “Salary is a strong motivator to many Malaysians. Receiving a higher salary increment every time they change an employer means that talent are able to match their earning power with their international peers. It can also help them meet their financial goals, like buying a car or home, earlier in their lives. Companies that don’t support their employees’ goals may risk losing their best talent and in turn adversely impacting their overall operations and revenues,” said Naeem.

Why talent have higher expectations for their salaries

Talents in Malaysia have higher expectations for their salaries due to less than satisfactory year-on-year pay increments and year-end bonuses.

Of the Malaysians surveyed, 39% of them were informed that their salaries will not be adjusted in 2023. 31% of them were informed by their employers that they will not be receiving any bonus for their work contributions in 2022.

Naeem said, “Inflation and higher cost of living have changed how people choose to spend their money. It is only natural and reasonable that employees seek a higher salary and fair bonus to feel recognised for their work and valued as an employee. To attract top talent and meet their employees’ salary expectations, companies must make a conscientious effort to review and adjust their internal salary and bonus structures to reflect new skill demands and talent expectations.”

How talent come to the conclusion that they deserve more

From our survey, we found that 35% of Malaysians self-evaluate their average pay based on their job scope and responsibilities. Only 16% of respondents approached recruiters and 14% used online salary calculators as independent sources when evaluating how much they deserve.

“We often estimate our salaries based on how much work we do. However, it is not a fair evaluation to assess one’s true worth as there are other factors like company budgets, industry averages as well as the supply and demand in the labour market to consider.”

“Malaysians could leverage more resources like specialised recruiters and salary calculators that use real-time data to form a more accurate view of how much they should be compensated. Our recruitment consultants often collect data from employers and job seekers which allows us to continuously refine our database and provide more accurate salary benchmarks that reflect current market conditions. The market data that we collect also empower us to negotiate on behalf of our talent so that they can receive a higher salary from their next employer,” said Naaem.


The Randstad Singapore Salary and Bonus Expectations survey was conducted online with 302 individuals who lived and worked in Singapore between February and March 2023