Salary hikes in niche IT areas expected to see jumps up to 30%
PETALING JAYA: The technology sector will see the highest jump in salaries in the country this year, while the oil and gas (O&G) sector, due to volatile oil prices, may see the least hike.
Since 2013, the technology sector has seen salary hikes and this trend is expected to continue over the next couple of years.
According to a global survey by Robert Walters, a specialist professional recruitment firm, the technology sector, especially for niche positions, may see a 30% salary rise this year compared with 27% last year.
For example, a chief technology officer can expect an annual salary of between RM360,000 and RM600,000 this year from RM350,000 and RM540,000 in 2016. A programme manager may bring in an annual salary of between RM240,000 and RM360,000 from RM216,000 and RM336,000 last year.
A solution architect, however, could see an annual salary hike up to RM180,000-RM324,000 from RM120,000-RM192,000.
Although there are no specific figures for Malaysia, a global O&G website, Oil Career, has projected about 6% cut in total compensation for the O&G sector in South-East Asia this year. For 2015 and 2016, total compensations for the O&G sector in the region were almost flat.
UK-based Robert Walters has identified three key areas which could see higher demand for employee recruitment and salary hikes. They are in technology, e-commerce and shared services.
Robert Walters Malaysia managing director Sally Raj told StarBiz that the technology sector since last year has seen the highest employment and salary hikes compared with other sectors in the country.
The technology sector would continue to garner higher salary growth and employment over the next few years, as various businesses embrace technology to enhance their business and expansion growth.
“Technology is going to be at the forefront over the next few years, as businesses like financial services (banking and insurance), fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and retailer gear up to adopt technology. Furthermore, organisations are now utilising digital channels to grow their businesses.”
With the advent of financial technology (fintech), Raj foresees further growth in technology usage in the financial services sector, partly thanks to the recent regulatory “sandbox” framework for fintech.
The sandbox refers to a safe space where businesses can test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms.
As digital, mobile and e-commerce-related companies expand their businesses, Raj said there would be an increase in the number of employers recruiting mobile engineers and software developers in 2017.
Companies would continue to strengthen their security practices to prevent security and information breaches. Cyber security professionals would be highly sought after across a number of industries, especially in the banking sector.
Software developers and cyber security experts could expect significant salary rises of up to 25% when moving jobs in 2017, she said.
Robert Walters in its latest 2017 Annual Global Salary Survey predicts that companies would be keen to hire IT professionals throughout this year, and organisations from a range of sectors would be competing for IT talent.
“To secure the best employees, hiring managers will need to streamline their recruitment process, as highly experienced job seekers are expected to receive multiple offers.”
Meanwhile, according to the 2016 Total Compensation Measurement (TCM) survey by Aon Hewitt, a global talent, retirement and health solutions business provider, average salary increases have declined from 2015.
However, Malaysian employers continue to pay a premium for technologically-savvy fresh graduates.
Fresh graduates in engineering, R&D and project management started out at more than RM3,500 per month and high-tech industries paid fresh graduates 27% more than property and construction.
It said finance managers in the high-tech industry were paid 16% more than the market midpoint, while human resource managers received 21% more.
Robert Walters noted that Malaysia should experience a cautious job market in 2017. Businesses are expected to maintain or even reduce headcount across non-critical areas.
It added that while the O&G, electrical and electronic manufacturing sectors are going through the after-effects of the downturn, most recruitment activity would be in revenue-generating roles across financial services and the technology industry.
To attract high-calibre talent, the firm said employers would be focused on developing a clear career path to attract and retain talent and widen their search to overseas Malaysian professionals keen on returning home.
However, the survey revealed there is a more positive picture for the shared services industry, which would experience growth, as more companies set up regional and global hubs for their supply chain and procurement centres.
Commenting on shared services industry, Raj said there are more multinational companies (MNCs) intending to set up their global hubs here, partly due to Malaysia being cost-effective as a result of a weaker currency.
“We have seen a rebound in the shared services business unlike a slowdown over the past few years. Besides being cost-effective compared with other countries, Malaysia also has the right infrastructure and talent that MNCs are looking for in their expansion plans.
“At the same time, Robert Walters has received many enquiries from a number of MNCs who have expressed their intentions to start operations in the country.
“As shared services companies expand their businesses in Malaysia, there will be an increase in demand for specialist talent such as migration or project management office experts to support new migrations and functions,” she noted.
She added that there would be more regional positions available as many organisations establish their regional bases in Malaysia instead of Singapore or Hong Kong.
Raj believes that recruitment levels for shared services would remain strong in 2017, with job movers expecting salary rises of at least 15%.