High Job Demand and Salary for Engineers in Malaysia
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Engineering plays a key role in supporting the growth and development of a country’s economy as well as in improving the quality of life for citizens. As such, there is an important link between a country’s engineering capacity and its economic development. However, the extent to which engineering can aid development is also dependent upon governments committing finance and resources required for infrastructure projects, as well as developing a favorable business environment with good regulation and without corruption. By investing in infrastructure, such as transport, bridges, dams, communication, waste management, water supply and sanitation as well as energy and digital infrastructure, countries can raise their productivity and enhance other economic variables. By having a well-developed transport and communications infrastructure for example, countries are better able to get goods and services to market and move workers to jobs. A strong communications network allows a rapid and free flow of information, helping to ensure businesses can communicate and make timely decisions. All of these infrastructure projects require engineers.
Engineering may not be the easiest course to study, but it continues to be in demand in Malaysia and globally. You’re also more likely to find employment quickly and work your way up the career ladder with an engineering degree from a top private university in Malaysia. The key benefits of studying engineering are both financial and prospect based. Financially, the starting salaries are among the best across all industry sectors. The demand for well-qualified, skilled graduates outstrips supply, and companies are struggling to find recruits for vacancies locally and globally. Therefore, graduates have the opportunity to work overseas. Read through the reports for the job demand and salary for engineers in Malaysia to make the right decision in choosing your course.
You may also be interested to read:
- Top Engineering Degree Courses to Study in Malaysia
- Top 8 Engineering Courses to Study in Malaysia
- Top 10 Private Universities in Malaysia for Engineering Degree, Foundation & Diploma
- Top 10 Private Universities in Malaysia for Engineering
- Why Study the Foundation in Engineering at a Top Private University in Malaysia?
- Why is the Accreditation by Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) important in my Engineering Degree Studies at Private Universities in Malaysia?
- Education Pathway to Professional Engineer in Malaysia after Studying a BEM Accredited Engineering Degree
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High Job Demand and Salary for Engineers in Malaysia
Engineering covers many different types of activity. Engineers make things, make things work and make things work better. They also use their creativity to design solutions
to the world’s problems and help build the future.
I have gathered information from a number of articles as well as salary reports from Human Resource agencies in Malaysia to help students make the right decision in choosing their course. Many times students make choices without solid information or evidence. We feel that this is a vital part of students’ decision making process when choosing a course to study.
Engineering degrees that are accredited by the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) are recognised by overseas countries for work. Students should choose the best university in Malaysia to study engineering so that they can gain the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in their career.
Students after SPM or O-Levels who are sure of choosing engineering for their degree studies may go for the Foundation in Engineering. If you are still not sure whether you want engineering or other science courses, you may choose the Foundation in Science programme at premier private universities in Malaysia. Students after the external Pre-University Programme such as A-Levels, UEC, STPM, SAM, CPU, MUFY or AUSMAT may enter directly into the Engineering Degree programme with relevant results.
EduSpiral Consultant Services provides free advise to students after SPM, O-Levels, STPM, A-Levels, UEC, and Pre-University to guide them in choosing the right course and university to study so that they can have a successful career. The aim for EduSpiral Consultant Services in sharing this article is to help students in selecting their course of study and career paths based on areas in demand.
Job Demand for Engineers in Malaysia According to ‘Critical Occupations List’ (COL) 2019/2020 by TalentCorp
Malaysia’s Critical Occupations List (COL) was created by the government to effectively monitor shortages and identify the country’s most in-demand skills. According to the new World Bank report, the COL is an innovative platform for keeping ahead of changing labour market demands associated with new technologies, automation, and Industry 4.0.
The Critical Occupations List (COL) is a set of occupations in demand that identifies the skills imbalance across 18 economic sectors in Malaysia. The 2019/2020 COL has 58 occupations listed. It aims to be the primary instrument to promote better coordination of human capital policies aimed at attracting, nurturing and retaining talent.
Collated on an annual basis by the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee (CSC), led by TalentCorp and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA) under the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR), the COL was developed based on recommended international practices. Its compilation process is based on regular consultations with the World Bank.
Because the COL is developed with the data from employers, it provides a big picture of the skills and occupations that are in demand within the industries. It also gives you a better idea of the occupations that will be prioritised by policymakers, especially in the aspects of immigration, education and upskilling opportunities.
COL will continue to expand to create a comprehensive map of Malaysia’s most demanded current and future skills and talent towards Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0.
For the engineering occupations, listed are:
- 2141 Industrial and Production Engineer
- 2142 Civil Engineer
- 2144 Mechanical Engineer
- 2146 Mining Engineer, Metallurgist and Related Professional
- 2149 Engineering Professional (Excluding Electrotechnology) Not Elsewhere Classified
- 2151 Electrical Engineer
- 2152 Electronic Engineer
- 2153 Telecommunications Engineers
Malaysia Needs Qualified Professional Engineers
In Malaysia, there are various sectors for our engineers to serve including consultation, research & development, construction, building services, maintenance, manufacturing, plantation, aviation, maritime, sales, and oil & gas industry, as well as institutions of higher learning like universities and colleges as a lecturer or a teaching engineer.
The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) president David Lai Kong Phooi said the engineer to population ratio for developed nations is 1:100. For Malaysia with a population of 32 million, the number of engineers should be 300,000.
For Malaysia to become a developed nation, the engineer to population ratio must be 1:100. For Malaysia, with a population of 32 million, the number of engineers should be 300,000. Surprisingly, based on the Education Ministry’s statistics from 1997 to 2020, the average number of engineers produced per year by the local institutions of higher learning, excluding graduates from international universities is about 16,000. The cumulative total of all engineers produced from 1997 to 2020 is estimated to be about 400,000. The number of engineers may be currently surplus for Malaysia.
Unfortunately, the reality is that only 35% of the graduate engineers (GE) registered with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM). BEM is owned by the Malaysian government to administer the registration of PE. Although according to Malaysia’s law through the Registration of Engineers Act 1967 (Revised 2015), all practising engineers must be registered with the BEM as GE to work as an engineer legally. According to the statistic published by BEM in February 2020 (Figure 1), only 10% out of 142,000 registered Graduate Engineer (GE) successfully obtained the certification as Professional Engineer, which is less than 4% of all engineers in Malaysia.
At least five most common engineering fields run the country today, which are mechanical, chemical, electrical, electronic, and civil engineering. Civil engineering shows the highest number of registered Graduate Engineer followed by mechanical, electrical, electronic, and chemical engineering.
More than 50% of the total registered Graduate Engineer have been upgraded into Professional Engineer for at least two engineering disciplines which are civil and electrical engineering. For mechanical engineering, the number of Graduate Engineer converted into Professional Engineer is slightly less at about 40%. The least amount of converted Graduate Engineer into Professional Engineer status is demonstrated by chemical and electronic engineering.
This discrepancy could be due to various reasons. Many engineers don’t register with the BEM because their jobs don’t require them to make submissions to the authorities. Some choose to work overseas. Others leave the profession altogether. There’s also the possibility of a mismatch between the expectations of graduates and employers, which could result in unemployment.
While the number of varsity-trained engineers has been very encouraging in terms of meeting the country’s target, we’re still facing a shortage of engineers – perhaps not in terms of actual numbers, but in terms of employability, and retention of talents, within the engineering sector and with Malaysian companies, said Lai.
Based on Talent Corp’s Critical Occupation List, he said the highest demand for engineers are in the civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical disciplines.
Lai said there are many reasons why engineers turn to other jobs. For some, it could be a lack of interest in the field or for career advancement.
“The entry level remuneration of engineers is among the highest compared to graduates from other fields. But it’s common knowledge that engineers don’t advance far in terms of remuneration, status, position, and job satisfaction, in the later part of their career.
“So career advancement rather than low entry-level remuneration is probably a more compelling reason why many leave the profession.”
But to be a country of technology and innovation, Wong said, you need engineers. Since there are so few engineering students, we have to keep them in the industry.
“You need to be very strong in mathematics if you want to do well. There are so few science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students at secondary level. So, obviously we’re getting even less students coming into engineering at tertiary level.”
It’s easy for engineers to switch careers at a later stage of their careers because they’re very analytical and easy to train. If they want to go into consultancy, planning, finance, or investment, they can pick it up with some training. But the reverse is not true. Non-engineers will find it hard to switch to this profession.
Increase in Job Demand for Engineers in Malaysia & Globally
According to UNESCO, engineering has been, and will continue to be, challenged with
designing systems that facilitate education and healthcare, enhance quality of life, and help to eliminate global poverty. It considers that the development of technological
approaches that can help prevent or mitigate hostile acts76, reduce the impact of natural disasters, and motivate humans to reduce their use of the earth’s valuable resources, will be key challenges for engineering in the coming years.
Alongside these, we can expect that engineering will continue to play a key role in helping to avert environmental crises, as well as helping to reduce poverty – for example through engineers providing community infrastructure. Engineering already plays an important role in managing and conserving resources, from water to food, energy and materials. For example, engineering skills have been essential in ensuring the development of systems relating to water and wastewater treatment.
Given that some parts of the world still lack access to water, engineering skills will remain essential to ensure universal access to clean water and sanitation. Engineering has also been extensively involved in finding solutions to reducing carbon emissions alongside ensuring increased portions of the world’s population have access to sustainable power. Engineering’s role in this area is likely to continue to be important in the coming years, especially as in 2015 it was estimated that 2.8 billion people still did not have access to modern energy services, and that over 1.1 billion people were without electricity.
In addition, with the global population expected to grow to 9.7 billion by 2050,
engineering will become increasingly important in ensuring future food security. For example, by ensuring that there are sustainable food production systems in place that maintain ecosystems, and by helping to improve land and soil quality. Over and above these growth areas, UNESCO envisages new challenges for engineering across four key areas: materials, energy, information and systems and bioengineering.
Each of these fields will require engineers across a range of disciplines to ensure future innovations and success. Therefore, having sufficient numbers of engineering graduates and professionals focusing on engineering for development in these areas will be essential both now and in the future.
According to the UN, in 2014 54% of the world’s population lived in urban areas. This is expected to increase to 66% by 2050, with the majority of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. In absolute terms, the urban population of the world grew from 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014. This figure is expected to surpass six billion by 2045.
This urbanisation will come with its own challenges and engineers will be involved in meeting the needs of growing urban areas, such as ensuring that there is adequate housing, water, sanitation, electricity and telecommunications. Engineers can also help to ensure that those living in urban areas have a good quality of life, for example by reducing
congestion and pollution. According to the UN, “managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century.”
Top 5 most in-demand roles in the construction industry according to Randstad
Malaysia’s construction industry is one of the fastest-moving sectors and with major projects going on around the nation, the industry is not forecasted to slow down anytime soon. The construction industry is expected to grow by 8.3% in 2017 making the industry worth a whopping RM170bn.
Demand for construction professionals are higher than ever with Malaysia currently facing a shortage of supply of these professionals. When supply doesn’t meet demand it usually means one thing – more money. Candidates with relevant experience and skills can expect a big bonus, pay rise and strong interest from construction companies!
So, what are the most in-demand construction jobs?
With the Malaysian government target that 11% of all energy will come from renewables by 2020, the Solar industry is going through a major surge. The problem is that the new Solar plants are up to 50Mw in size (10 times bigger than what we currently have) and there are 460Mw of new projects already confirmed!
With local talent already in short supply candidates with Solar experience are being offered expat packages to return to Malaysia to work in the industry and many are looking to hire Civil Engineers and Electrical Engineers with transferable skills.
- key skills needed
- solar or renewable energy experience
- electrical Engineering
- ability to work outstation
- what you can earn
- MYR 220, 000 – 240, 000 per annum – project managers
- MYR 145, 000 – 180, 000 per annum – contract managers
2) quantity surveyors
Quantity surveyors are a key part of any project, whether that be appointing sub-contractors, pricing tenders or dealing with claims. With many graduates moving to Singapore, it has left a chronic undersupply of good quantity surveyors in the market so employers are turning to work life balance to retain their best staff.
Five day weeks have always been the norm in Property Developers and Consultancies with a growing numbers of Main Contractors are following – especially for Head Office Positions.
While most QS / Senior QS candidates are happy to work 5.5 days or 6 days alternative – Main Contractors who insist their contracts team work 6 days per week might have to deal with high turnover rates and less choice when looking for new hires.
- key skills needed
- strong Letter Writing
- bidding for tenders /pre-contract
- happy to work 6 days per week
- what you can earn
- MYR 72,000 – 90,000 per annum – senior quantity surveyors
- MYR 120,000 – 160,000 per annum – contract managers
- MYR 160,000 – 200,000 per annum – senior contract managers
With the ever-tightening schedules, it is no wonder that contractors are looking at Precast. After initial investments in a factory and machinery, Precast is by far the fastest way to construct. We are seeing Precast being used for high rises, low cost housing and LRT columns.
Of course planning is critical – you need to know exactly what pieces you need on site and when, so you can give your factory the time to cast each piece. Planning Managers and Project Managers are in particular demand.
- key skills needed
- experience in Precast methodology
- planning using Primavera or MS Projects
- precast Design Experience
- overseas experience favourable
- what you can earn
- MYR 120, 000 – 180, 000 per annum – production managers
- MYR 180, 000 – 240, 000 per annum – planning managers
- MYR 180, 000 – MYR 240, 000 per annum – project managers
4) high rise project managers
When looking to hire a Project Manager for a high rise project, many would expect that their job would not complete until the project is complete…or so you would think. Unfortunately there has been a trend of Project Managers leaving mid way through a project (usually for a better remuneration package) meaning there is a shortage of “end to end” project managers.
Being able to secure the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) are all key parts of being a good project manager – and there is a shortage of them!
- key skills needed
- degree in Civil Engineering
- end to end project completion
- highrise project (30+ Storey)
- what you can earn
- MYR 150, 000 – 180, 000 per annum – project managers
- MYR 180, 000 – 220, 000 per annum – senior positions
- MYR 240, 000 – 360, 000 per annum – project directors
5) bridge/elevated structure
What happens when you build an LRT, MRT, DASH and SUKE all at the same time? All of which have elevated sections. Contractors specialising in Elevated Structure are in high-demand at the moment.
The major players in the Rail Industry typically have a non-poach agreement set up meaning it is common for candidates to move between Highway, LRT and MRT projects as their skills are transferable.
- key skills needed
- degree in Civil Engineering
- box girder / Precast / Post Tensioning
- elevated structure experience
- strong co-ordination
- strong letter writing
- what can you earn
- MYR 140, 000 – 180, 000 per annum – contract managers
- MYR 100, 000 – 140, 000 per annum – design managers
- MYR 180, 000 – 240, 000 per annum – project managers
Average Salary for engineers in Malaysia
The average annual salary for an engineer in 2009 is RM90,744.
Engineering Jobs in Demand in Malaysia Developed by the National Key Economic Activities (NKEAs)
The NEAC will work with PEMANDU to develop the National Key Economic Activities (NKEAs) in the following areas:
- Electrical and Electronic, where manufacturing, research and development as well as design for Malaysian companies driving innovation will be focused upon.
- Oil and gas sector led by a well developed pool of local talent and companies that are able to compete globally.
- Green industries and services. Expertise in complex manufacturing and those in the solar and alternative energy sectors will be much sought after alongside those involved in the commercialisation of natural bio-diversity into high value products.
Electrical and electronics engineers form the core of various technology-ledcompanies in Malaysia.
In a report conducted by IPSOS Business Consulting in 2012 on the E&E Sector Study on the Supply-Demand of Talent in Malaysia, it is found that there is a shortage of Electrical & Electronic Engineers in Malaysia.
The E&E sector is an important contributor to Malaysia’s economy as it is one of the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) in the country’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). There are 1,900 active E&E companies which provide employment to over 350,000 people.
The report found that Fresh Graduates or Entry-level Talent Not Industry-Ready (lacks required skill-sets) therefore choosing a university that can provide the necessary industry relevant teaching and training is imperative.
Telecommunication is the means of communicating through the transmission of signals. In today’s world, it is all around us – from 4G connectivity to streaming videos to mobile downloads, and so on.
The IPSOS report identified eight key talent shortage areas in the E&E field and one of the areas in demand for Telecommunications Engineers. They are responsible for the analysis, design, implementation, optimization and enhancement of wireless telecommunications products and networks.
Top Ten highest paying jobs in Malaysia according to Jobstreet
According to Jobstreet, a petroleum engineer earns between RM 37,094 – RM 365,156 a year.
In positioning Malaysia as the leading oil and gas (O&G) hub in the Asia-Pacific region by 2017, Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corp (MPRC) was formed to promote, catalyse and transform the sector.
In addition, notable projects in the O&G (oil and gas) sector include the RM60bil Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project in Pengerang, Johor, and the RM3.8bil Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal in Kimanis.
Top Ten highest paying jobs in Malaysia at Manager Level according to Jobstreet
Doctors, engineers and managers in the aviation specializations draw the highest pay with doctors earning the highest, with an average salary of RM9,500 per month.
- Doctor RM9,530
- Engineering – Oil/Gas RM9,462
- Aviation RM9,406
- Audit/Taxation RM9,226
- Banking – Financial Services RM9,100
- Geophysics RM8,938
- Publishing or Printing RM8,650
- Engineering – Chemical RM8,545
- Engineering – Electronics RM8,146
- IT – Software RM8,112
Top Ten highest paying jobs in Malaysia at Senior Manager Level according to Jobstreet
The Average Salary Of SENIOR MANAGERS Is RM12,800 Across All Industries. It takes years of experience and expertise before one becomes a senior manager, but all that hard work pays off.
Overall, senior managers in specializations such as IT– Hardware, Quality Control/Assurance and Geophysics are the top highest paying job in this position.
- IT – Hardware RM18,100
- Quality Control/Assurance RM17,768
- Geophysics RM17,500
- Property/Real Estate RM16,917
- Engineering – Electrical RM16,503
- Publishing/Printing RM16,500
- Corporate Strategy RM15,606
- Engineering Oil/Gas RM15,307
- Sales – Corporate RM14,815
- Engineering – Civil RM14,768
Kelly Services 2021 Malaysia Salary Guide – Engineering
At the start of 2020, most manufacturers were severely affected by restrictions
which allowed only essential industries to operate at reduced capacity. The production of medical and pharmaceutical goods was an exception, and a bright spot in manufacturing; exports of these goods increased by 22.2% in the first half of 2020 due to strong global demand, in particular for rubber gloves.
Amid the pandemic and the country’s Movement Control Order (MCO), Malaysian manufacturers saw their revenues fall significantly – for some, by more than 50%.2 Government initiatives such as the Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP) were a welcome relief for employers, helping to alleviate potential cost cutting measures in the following months, including headcount freezes and reductions in work hours and days.
Since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, companies have restarted operations, and manufacturing has picked up strongly. Although further easing of restrictions in the coming months should further facilitate recovery, manufacturing will continue to face headwinds from weaker demand domestically and internationally, and uncertainty over the future direction of the virus.
Despite these real world challenges, the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue transforming manufacturing and engineering.
With the gradual move towards high-level automation and intelligent communications among all systems machines, Malaysia requires a highly
skilled workforce equipped with advanced manufacturing know-how to progress together with these developments. There is particular urgency for
Malaysia’s manufacturing sectors to move higher up the production value chain.
With Malaysia at risk of losing as much as half its foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows from the previous year, the electrical and electronics (E&E), chemicals and chemical products, and machinery and equipment sub-sectors could be catalytic for propelling Malaysia’s industrial transformation and
boosting the country’s attractiveness to investors.
The medical devices and aerospace industries have also been designated growth areas, in line with the government’s directive to diversify into high-tech and high value-added industries.
While a strong local manufacturing ecosystem will facilitate the sustained
creation of more high-value jobs locally, a present challenge lies with securing highly skilled engineering talent; more qualified and experienced technical workers, capable of taking on higher-value tasks, are needed to elevate the
For the sector to reach its full potential, companies must be prepared to invest in their talents to give them the relevant skills and training. Without specialist technical knowledge and skills, long-term career progress will be hampered.
Engineers have also been found to be lacking an entrepreneurial drive, posing challenges to enhancing the local ecosystem. With the right support and incentives in place, Malaysia can encourage a stronger entrepreneurial culture within the sector, laying the groundwork for local firms to succeed and
contribute to the creation of better jobs.
Robert Walters 2020 Malaysia Salary Guide – Engineering
HAYS 2019 Malaysia Salary Guide – Engineering