A poll conducted by recruitment company Hays in the 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide, which polled more than 3,000 employers across Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and China, revealed that 73% of firms surveyed are expecting business activities to grow this year.
However, when it comes to increasing headcount and salaries, only 46% and 49% respectively are intending to do so this year.
The survey also found that 66% of employers polled saw an uptick in business activity in the last 12 months.
Optimism is also growing on the expected performance of the national economy with 23% of employers expecting it to strengthen this year, an increase by 10% from the same poll in 2017.
In the report Thursday (March 1), Hays Malaysia regional director Tom Osborne said while the economic outlook for Malaysia is positive, employers will be taking a conservative approach to both permanent hiring and salaries in order to make the most of these conditions.
“Those staying in a job are likely to see only modest salary increases while those changing employers have a better chance of securing a higher salary, but there are likely to be fewer new jobs coming to market,” said Osborne.
Salary increases will be moderate in 2018 with 49% of employers planning to offer salary increases between 3% and 6%, which is 1% down from 2017.
The poll also noted that 39% of employers polled in 2018 plan to offer salary increases of more than 6% in the year ahead.
Another poll, Monster Employment Index (Mei), however, found that hiring activities in Malaysia grew during the second half of 2017 and is expected to continue in 2018.
The Mei is a monthly analysis of online job posting activities compiled by online recruitment website www.monster.com.my.
“Online recruitment in 2017 ended with a positive 2% year-on-year growth in December,” it said in a statement Thursday.
IT and the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sectors recorded 12 consecutive months of positive annual growth with 23% and 1% year-on-year growth last year.
However, hiring sentiments for the Advertising and Marketing industry is likely to remain weak in 2018 as the sector recorded an average annual decline of -14%.
It is similar across Human Resources and Administration jobs in 2017, which registered the steepest dip at 14% year-on-year.