Robert Walters Salary Survey for 2019

Robert Walters, one of the world’s leading specialist professional recruitment consultancies has today released its Salary Survey for 2019 with key trends and outlook that primarily identify movements of high-calibre professionals into permanent positions at all levels of seniority.

In its latest survey, the firm found that Legal, Banking, Engineering and Technology roles to be high in demand in the Central and Greater Klang Valley regions with the implementation of new Government policies and as digitalisation of business processes continues to see increased adoption.

As for Penang (Northern region) where Robert Walters has a strong presence, the recruitment market is likely to improve. Engineering and mechanical skills will continue to be high in demand as Penang strengthens its position as a manufacturing hub. Top talents in supply chain with good communication skills will be highly sought after. Other skills in demand are leadership competencies, R&D focus jobs like mechanical design, embedded software and system development. Salary increment remains minimal with increments of around 15 – 20% for job movers in the region.

Across industries, job seekers in Malaysia seeking middle to top management positions, the study noted, will also need to sharpen their soft skills in leadership, communication, business partnering/business acumen, business strategy and learning agility to have a better chance to secure these high yield positions as talents in these areas are scarce.

“Hiring managers in the industrial sector will be increasingly looking for professionals with strong functional experience, strategic mindsets and strong leadership skills,” opined Kimberlyn Lu, Country Manager Malaysia, Robert Walters.

In addition, with the new Government direction where compliance to regulation imposed to minimise waste and lower operational expenses are expected to be the order of the day, digitalisation will continue to be a key market driver and strong information technology talent will be highly sought after.

Companies will be eager to hire human resources professionals with more than generalist or administrative experience, favouring candidates with an ability to leverage human capital to add value to the business, the study noted.

Technical know-how is also a key requirement as digital transformation and automation of various key sectors is still ongoing and professionals need to have the ability to leverage on a variety of technological and analytical tools for vibrant data analysis.

“We foresee a rise in SMEs, corporate organizations and multi-national companies (MNCs) adopting automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digitalisation in their business processes in 2019, hence, we will see a rise in demand for talents with a good mix of soft skills and technical know-how,” added Kim.

The marketplace is getting more competitive, pushing companies to embark on aggressive digital transformation initiative to stay relevant and improve business processes, hence, companies are expected to increase investment in new systems and talent development to create greater presence online, said Kim, quoting the survey.

Industry Based Outlook for 2019
The Salary Survey also shed some light on the different hiring requirements and salary increment margins of key industries moving forward into 2019. Highlights include:

Legal & Compliance: Set to become a hot sector for 2018/ 2019. Hiring activity will pick up for legal, corporate secretarial and compliance professionals following implementation of new policies by the new Government. Candidates with specialised skills in Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in senior positions will remain high in demand. With re-introduction of Sales and Service Tax (SST) strong demand for tax lawyers can also be expected moving forward.

Hiring managers will continue to seek in-house legal counsels who are equipped with mergers & acquisitions or corporate commercial experience and company secretaries with strong communication skills to act as liaison to both internal and external stakeholders. Salary hikes to remain within the region of 20-25% as reference for candidates looking for a career change.

Banking & Insurance: Demand for mid-level actuaries within pricing and valuation teams to continue due to the ongoing de-tariffication in general insurance. Strong demand for skills in business intelligence, for example, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, data analytics, risk management, statistics or mathematics. Pay rises of 20 – 25% and up to 30% in niche and specialized areas can be expected for those seeking new opportunities in this field.

Engineering & Manufacturing: Will see strong demand for engineering professionals with international experience and especially working experience with MNCs. Candidates with exemplary skills in leadership, people development and learning agility will be high in demand. Job movers expected to garner salary rise of 20-25%.

Technology & Digital Transformation: Another hot sector for 2019, the study shows that the IT talent pool remains limited. Hiring managers will be looking for candidates with multiple skill sets, such as DevOps and full-stack development.

Agile coaches and scrum masters will be sought after by companies undergoing digital transformation and adopting agile methodologies. Professionals with niche technical expertise can expect salary increment above average range of 20 – 30% if they are planning to move to new positions.

Accounting & Finance: Features an optimistic outlook with continued expansion of shared services that will contribute to see growth in service value. Re-introduction of SST requires tax professionals to be familiar with new regulation and business implications. Candidates with skills in automation and regional experience will be in demand. 15 – 25% salary increment can be expected by job movers for this field.

Human Resources: Demand for candidates with the ability to leverage a variety of technological and analytical tools to provide robust analysis of human capital data, ability to convey organisational competency requirements to stakeholders and proficient in additional languages due to increase in global shared services centres established in Malaysia. Those looking for new positions in HR can expect salary hikes to be in the range of 15 – 20%.

Sales & Marketing B2B: This sector spots high demand for sales & marketing professional in the mechanical and engineering, chemical coating and mechanical components sectors. Cautionary hiring approach in infrastructure construction, steel, cement and building materials is observed.

The field is set to experience shortage of high-performing consultative sales professionals with 2 to 5 years’ experience. Job movers in this field are expected to command 20-25% average increments in 2019.

Sales & Marketing B2C: Marketing professionals with strong profit and loss (P&L) management skills will be in strong demand as companies seek expertise in driving profit margins, cost-saving initiatives and campaign execution and implementation over creativity.

Recruitment in this sector to remain active and competitive particularly positions in consultative sales, corporate communications, digital marketing and professional writing. Due to continued investment in digital and increased adoption of technology among professional services organisation, professionals with strong skills in digital marketing and digital solution sales will be highly sought after. Expect to receive hikes of 10-15% when moving jobs.

Technical Healthcare: Shows a demand for junior to mid-level roles instead of senior management roles. Talent with niche technical healthcare skill sets in the areas of medical or regulatory affairs and product specialists with experience covering territories beyond Klang Valley will be in demand.

Highly sought after are medical affairs professionals with clinical backgrounds due to their strong medical experience, deep product knowledge and understanding of diseases. Talents who are planning to make a move in these fields can seek average increments of 15 – 20% for commercial roles and 25 – 30% for technical roles.

Supply Chain, Logistics & Procurement: More key hires in third party logistics and e-commerce industries with middle to senior level candidates expected to be highly sought after. There will be pickup in hiring activity as the Malaysian economy continues to recover in 2019. Talent with experience in order management and procurement will be in high demand due to continued growth in e-commerce. No change in salaries expected for job movers in 2019.

As the search for quality talents in the middle and top management positions continues to be a challenge for hiring managers into the year 2019, Kim has the following advice.

“Investment in people is key to talent retention. Hiring managers should consider candidates who may not be immediately fit for a role and make the effort to train them, as this will help make employees feel invested in and valued. Additionally, companies should spend time engaging with employees through updates on relevant work-related issues and company direction, undertake some off-work activities and promote access to and interaction with senior management, which many employees value.”

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