KUALA LUMPUR: The average pay of ICT professionals in 2013 rose 7.2% to RM7,152 from RM6,673 in 2012, and is expected to grow at an even higher rate in 2014, according to Pikom, the national ICT association of Malaysia.
“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,” said Pikom chairman, Cheah Kok Hoong.
While this may be encouraging news, Malaysian ICT workers' salary lagged behind their Asian counterparts'.
Vietnamese and Hong Kong salaries, for example, were 2.19 and 2.12 times higher, after adjusting for purchasing power parity.
Cheah said the widening gap in the remunerations of ICT practitioners between Malaysia and other countries in the region pointed to a potential issue of brain-drain within the industry.
Woon Tai Hai, Pikom’s research committee chairman added: “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,” he added.
Among other findings, Pikom’s ICT Job Market Outlook 2014 report also noted that workers in IT call centres/IT-enabled services centres experienced the biggest salary jump of 51%.
It also found the oil and gas sector remained the most lucrative for ICT professionals, with average salary at RM8,324 – although growth was flat from 2012.
Also, those who work in Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya tended to enjoy better pay – 1.75 times those working in small towns and cities. Compared to 70 cities around the world, KL ranked 53rd in terms of remuneration.
ICT professionals equipped with Java, C#, C++, dot Net and SharePoint, as well as Web application developers are highly sought-after including IT security analyst and big data analytics.