Is your current salary enough and fair to survive in Malaysia?


That is the golden question, isn’t it? What is a good salary for you to survive these days? Depending on where you come from and what your commitments are, what is considered fair? Does this mean, the more it is, the better it will be?

Not just about loyalty

A report came out in 2018 by Bank Negara Malaysia and it showed that a majority of Malaysians were underpaid. This is in comparison with other countries in the region like Singapore and even Thailand. So, how do you know if you are being paid a ‘fair salary’? This has little to do with whether it is enough to cover your commitments. You may not have much to pay per month but if you are paid less for your skills, you are underpaid.

How are Malaysian workers measured?

For output valued at US$1,000, Malaysian workers are paid US$340. On average, other countries get slightly more than US$500 for the same output value. That is how far Malaysians are falling behind. Putting aside the standard of living and other factors, it might not be the most ideal situation to be in. So, what could you do about it? One thing for sure, at least you should have enough supporting data the next time your appraisal comes along and when you are negotiating for an adjustment to your salary.

What could you do?

The first data you must have is knowing your salary level. Find out what Bank Negara Malaysia reported and then benchmark that with your salary and you have a clear picture of where you stand.

  • Find reliable sources – Check out for this information from the internet where there are limitless resources. Do not depend solely on one single source. According to reliable reports, a Marketing Manager should earn close to RM100,000 per month. While an Accounting Executive should bring home no lesser than RM40,000 monthly.
  • Colleagues and friends – You might not get a clear indication of salaries if you ask your colleagues as this can be confidential information but you could get a range from them. Friends would be more generous to contribute to your research. Another source you can check in with is through people you know who are working in human resources.

Whose fault you were underpaid?

Blunt as it may be but if you are underpaid, it is really your own fault for not making it right. Employers will surely reward their staff for performing exemplarily but if given a choice, they would not give anyone any raise. You cannot blame them for trying to keep their operating costs low. Even employers who are generous with their increment might be underpaying you. The onus is on you to make sure you are not shortchanged!

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