KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Online hiring agency Jobstreet.com said its own salary trend survey showed starting salaries have increased over the year even as Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) released a separate study that indicated wage stagnation among new workers.
A comparison of job advertisements on JobStreet.com between 2017 and this year showed the average starting salaries offered by employers increased by five to seven per cent on average, a company spokesman told Malay Mail, but noted that the percentage varied according to sectors and location.
“We have not seen this trend among employers,” Gan Bock Herm, country manager of JobStreet.com Malaysia, said in a statement sent to Malay Mail.
The agency cited salary differentials in three main sectors: manufacturing and production, banking and financial services, and construction, buildings and engineering.
In manufacturing and production, the maximum average starting salary offered in 2017 was RM2,937 but increased to RM3,224 this year while in banking and finance, the hike was less pronounced — RM3,588 in 2017 compared to RM3,695 this year.
Construction had the biggest increase according to the report, from an average of RM3,205 to RM4,009.
KRI released a school-to-work transition survey last Wednesday that gathered crucial data and insights into the state of employment among youths today.
Much of the study’s key findings pointed to a problematic labour market dogged by an oversupply of graduates with mismatched skills and qualification, and little available high skill jobs.
KRI concluded that a large number of degree holders are forced to scramble for a small amount of high-paying positions.
The findings explained why starting salaries offered to graduates today remain very low, at less than RM3,000 median average, similar to that offered over ten years ago.
Contrary to Jobstreet.com, Adecco Malaysia, another leading recruitment firm, concurred with the KRI study. The company told Malay Mail that its own survey found the starting salaries for Malaysian degree holders today remained the same since the last decade.
Adecco cited its own salary trend that found the average starting pay multinational companies offer to fresh graduates with an engineering degree to be around RM2,800 per month, findings that tallied with data gathered by KRI.
Local small and medium-sized enterprises, on the other hand, tend to pay less, in the range of RM1,900-2,300.
“Millennial degree holders today are still being paid around the same starting salary as 10 years ago,” Adecco country manager, Raj Kumar, said in an emailed statement.
“Job vacancies in Malaysia are skewed towards elementary (low-skilled) occupations,” he added.
Adecco attributed the key issue to poor “quality growth”. The agency said that while the huge employment figures may suggest growth, the reality is that much of it are in sectors that require low to mid-skilled work like mining, accommodation and food and beverage.
“This, in essence, is the root cause of the problem — even though the country GDP and employment are growing, the quality of growth is an issue,” Raj stressed.
“Creating high-value, higher-paying jobs has been an issue in Malaysia,” he added.