The job market in Malaysia continues to remain upbeat, though employers are still facing challenges when it comes to securing and retaining talent, with most sectors struggling with staff retention as employers compete for talent and multiple opportunities available to strong candidates. Local businesses are emulating multinational companies (MNCs) by offering more non-financial benefits such as a clear career path and building a stronger company culture to encourage greater loyalty. As revealed in our 2015/16 Michael Page South East Asia Salary & Employment Outlook, 57% of Malaysian respondents rate career progression as the top motivator for employees.

Malaysia benefits as an increasing number of regional and global positions are being moved to Malaysia to reduce costs. As the country increasingly seeks to become a manufacturing and logistics hub, demand for talent with these appropriate skills increases, with 31% of respondents seeking top manufacturing talent and a further 22% seeking candidates in the logistics space. On the other hand, the construction industry seems set to cool as large numbers of properties are completed, possibly leading to a shift in demand towards management and maintenance to handle the new buildings coming on stream.

We have observed an increase in hiring on a national basis rather than just Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding area. While Kuala Lumpur remains dominant, we’re seeing key decisions and investment being made in other parts of the country.

The Malaysian government continues in its effort to encourage Malaysians working overseas to return home, through tax incentive schemes and the Returning Expert Programme. However, most Malaysian expatriates are attracted by the opportunities and lifestyle abroad, with the weak ringgit further dampening salaries if they return.

The Michael Page South East Asia 2016 Salary & Employment Outlook is a report based on survey findings of more than 850 employers across a range of industry sectors in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Insights drawn from a series of roundtable discussions with employers further enriched the report. The report aims to provide an overview on market and employment conditions, wages, and an outlook across the different sectors. The report can be viewed in full here.

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