Photo - Woon Tai Hai, Chairman of PIKOM
The National ICT Association of Malaysia, PIKOM, together with KPMG and Jobstreet.com's latest report of the Malaysian job market shows that ICT remains in the top five paying sectors in the country with ICT professionals seeing an average salary increase of 8.7 percent over 2011.
PIKOM chairman Woon Tai said the 2013 ICT Job Market Outlook, which was produced in collaboration with KPMG and Jobstreet.com, was an overall study on the job market in Malaysia but with a focus on the salary component of ICT jobs and showed that the sector's job outlook remained positive.
"Despite the challenging economic state and uncertainty in the political scene last year, there is still an upward growth in the average salary for ICT professionals, be it junior or senior level," he said. "We expect this positive growth to continue for the remainder of 2013 with a projected increase of 8.9 percent."
Woon said the overall average salary of ICT professionals increased from RM6,240 [US$1.957] in 2011 to RM6,782 [US$2,127] in 2012, a rise of 8.7 percent. The average entry-level salary for fresh graduates continues to grow from RM 2,238 [US$702] to RM2,343 [US$735], albeit only a marginal increase of 4.7 percent.
"Looking at a five-year trend, it appears that sales, marketing and business development continue to be highly sought after jobs," he said. "Meanwhile, jobs for Customer Service seem to be losing their shine as the hottest job in the country."
Employability, supply of ICT fresh graduates in question
"The survey results also indicate that ICT technical professionals with Java, C#, C++, dotNet, SharePoint and Web Application Development skills are very much in demand," said Woon.
"In the business applications area, there is a fast-growing demand for skills in 'Big Data' analytics and Quality and Process improvement skill sets," he said, adding that rapid technological advancements in analytics and business intelligence as well as "structural changes in the employment and business environments" could be fuelling this demand.
"Although there has been improvement on the average salary, the supply of ICT fresh graduates continues to decline," said Woon. "At the same time, enabling the employability of our fresh graduates is still an ongoing discussion and debate."
He added that senior IT engineers earn about 46 percent higher than their junior counterparts. "Also, typically ICT professionals with more than 20 years of experience will earn 5.22 times more than those with less than a year experience; and by 3.39 times for those who have 10 to 19 years of experience respectively."
Size matters, positive confidence index
Woon said that similar to the previous years, the report shows that big companies in Malaysia continue to pay more as compared to smaller organisations - to an extent of 1.88 times more.
The report also once again demonstrated that companies in Klang Valley offer comparatively higher salaries: up to 1.75 times more compared to the lowest paid location, he said. "Within the region, with a Purchase Power Parity (PPP) adjusted data it shows that countries like Indonesia, Philippines and India are paying relatively lower salaries for ICT professionals while Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand continue to attract ICT professionals into their countries because of higher salaries."
"By 2018, the salary gap is likely to level up among booming Asian economies such as Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam. Malaysia will have to stay ahead of this salary curve to prevent further exodus and erosion of our talents to these economies," said Woon.
"In addition, some good news from the report is that the Job Sentiment Index in Malaysia remains positive," he said. "Not only had the Job Employment Confident Index moved up from 48.8 to 49.1, but the Job Hiring Index also improved from 2.62 to 2.96, (2012 to the first quarter of 2013).
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