ICT Job Market in Malaysia continues on Positive Growth

July 04, 2014 (Fri): PIKOM, the National ICT Association of Malaysia and the ‘Voice of the ICT Industry’, today unveils the key findings of its latest ICT Job Market Outlook 2014 – a study done in collaboration with JobStreet.com and supported by Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).

PIKOM’s Chairman, Cheah Kok Hoong announces that the average salary of ICT professionals for 2013 has again netted an upward movement of 7.2% to RM7,152 from RM6,673 in 2012. It augurs well for the industry as this is above the country’s recently reported Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and inflation rate of 5.5%¹ and 3.5%² respectively.

“Given the positive local economic growth outlook, we anticipate that a further 8.7% growth in salary for the ICT industry is achievable by the end of 2014.”

However, Cheah highlights a continuing concern on the potential issue of ‘brain drain’ within the industry according to the PIKOM’s ICT Job Market Outlook 2014 report which has shown a widening gap in the remunerations of ICT practitioners between Malaysia and other countries in the region.”

“If this continues, it can potentially impact the national agenda under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) which aims to boost skilled workers’ percentage up to 33% by 2015 and as much as 50% by 2020 with the objective to turn Malaysia into a high income economy,” he shares.

Salient Points

Woon Tai Hai, PIKOM’s Research Committee Chairman, who has been helming this research project for the past eight years, shares some salient points of the findings from the study.

  • ‘Oil and Gas’ remains as the most attractive sector – The Oil and Gas sector continues to emerge as the highest paying sector for ICT professionals in 2013 averaging RM8,324, albeit a flat growth from 2012. But, a significant 51%3 salary hike was noted in the IT Call Centres / IT Enabled Services sector for 2013.
  • Average ICT Salary increased by 7.2% in 2013 – In the ICT field, Senior managers received the highest pay rise of 9.6%, whereas the fresh graduates have a decent 4.6% rise (with an average salary of RM2,451) in 2013. The widening salary gap between fresh graduates and their more experienced colleagues is also apparent.
  • Furthermore, ICT Project Management jobs earn significantly higher salaries (an average of RM8, 947) as compared to those in technical or engineering fields.
  • Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya cities pay higher – The salary of ICT professionals in major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya is 1.75 times higher than of those who work in smaller cities and towns in Malaysia. Comparing to 70 cities around the world, Kuala Lumpur is ranked 53th in terms of remuneration scale.

Benchmarking with other countries, Vietnam and Hong Kong topped the scale – Among Asian countries, Vietnam and Hong Kong topped the salary scale, where the salary was 2.19 and 2.12 times (with Purchasing Power Parity, PPP adjusted) higher than Malaysia. Similarly, Australia and USA also topped the list among the English speaking nations.

Woon further comments, “The imminent implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Malaysia on 1st April 2015 will also provide an impetus to the ICT industry for 2014 and 2015, as organisations ‘rush’ to replace and/or upgrade their systems to be in compliance with the GST requirements, resulting in a demand for software developers.”

ICT professionals equipped with Java, C#, C++, dot Net, SharePoint and Web application developers are highly sought-after including IT Security Analyst and Big Data Analytics.

Woon highlights, “In addition to the threat of brain drain caused by a disparity in remunerations, there is an ever growing issue with the declining computer science graduates including the challenges of unemployment amongst ICT fresh graduates due to misalignment of skills and expectations of employers. Perhaps, this also explains the reason for the widening of gaps between salaries of ICT fresh graduates and their more experienced colleagues in the industry.”

PIKOM is working with Malaysia Quality Accreditation (MQA) body via our PIKOM Government Affairs Committee (headed by Dr. Dzaharudin Mansor – PIKOM Councillor) together with various ministries and agencies to address the computer science curriculum problems.

Cheah ends, “The PIKOM’s ICT Job Market Outlook 2014 has certainly raised some pressing issues for the industry, especially the widening salary gap for the fresh graduates. The key challenge to addressing some of these pertinent issues is to consistently grow and sustain the local ICT industry not only in size but quality as well. PIKOM, within its capacity as an association, will continue to be supportive of initiatives to overcome these hurdles.”

Author: VSDaily Editor

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