While 2020 has been a year of great uncertainty for job seekers, employees and businesses alike, 2021 marks a positive start for the post-COVID economy.

After a year of navigating the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, companies now have a clearer understanding of their business vulnerabilities and priorities. They now know how to reinforce their businesses, mitigate risks and create long-term positioning strategies to emerge stronger after any crisis.

While the coronavirus crisis has caused dire economic consequences and drastically reduced job opportunities and salaries in 2020 – especially in agriculture, mining, construction, it has also shone a spotlight on jobs that are hiring. These growth sectors include financial services, healthcare and services.

Related: How to negotiate for a higher salary in 2022

As Malaysia’s economy slowly recovers from its worst performance since the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, it is reasonable to expect a minimum salary increment in your current job or when moving to a new company. However, some companies and sectors are still willing to offer competitive salary packages to suitable candidates, as reported in our Talent Trends 2021 report based on responses from 390 companies and 2,160 employees in Malaysia and 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees across the Asia Pacific. This comprehensive survey report provides fresh insights and market sentiment for the hiring market in key industries. 

Your salary is a significant deciding factor when evaluating any career path or job opening. That is why we have put together this list of the top 10 highest paying jobs in Malaysia for your reference. While our list showcases senior roles, it also highlights the sectors and industries that are more well paid to give you a head start in your job-hunting process.

Related: 10 important career lessons most people learn too late in life

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Top 10 highest paying jobs in Malaysia

1. Medical Director

Earning up to RM620,000, a medical director is an experienced doctor or surgeon who also serves as medical leadership for all things related to medical care in a medical facility, from monitoring quality, overseeing clinical peer reviews, developing and approving procedures and policies, to managing physician relations and assisting with clinical patient complaints.

2. C-suite roles

These executive positions in a company typically come in at the top of the highest-paid jobs lists. As the top stakeholder for their function, with high levels of responsibility, complex teams and in some cases, management across multiple countries, those in the C-suite report salaries of up to RM600,000.

The salaries of Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operating Officers range from  RM300,000 to RM600,000, in disciplines from Financial Services, Engineering and Manufacturing, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical, and Technology and Telecommunications (TMT). And like other roles, remuneration for c-suite roles is also based on the candidate’s experience, company size and sector.

3. Head of Shared Services

Malaysia remains an attractive country within APAC for many companies to place their Shared Services Centres (SSC), especially if they have business operations within South East Asia. It is a key role that must manage all support services, including finance, technology, procurement, legal, HR and marketing. Head of Shared Services Professionals can expect to make up between RM360,000 to RM540,000. (Browse jobs in Shared Services here.)

4. Head of Sales

Responsible for the leadership of a sales department within a company, the Head of Sales earns from RM360,000 in Business Services to RM500,000 in healthcare industries. With skills like these, these sales directors manage the strategic efforts of a company’s sales team and ensure the team meets projected sales targets. With the growth of digitisation in sales, sales heads have to lean into digital transformation and at the same time, not lose the human touch when it comes to managing clients. (Browse senior sales roles here.)

5. Finance Director

The finance sector in Malaysia is growing, ensuring that the finance director or head of finance for any organisation is key to moving the organisation forward. Professionals at this level can expect to make from RM325,000 in the healthcare sector, RM390,000 in tan FMCG business, to RM395,000 in a regional role, or in technology and telecommunications, and business services.

6. Head of Banking

The Head of Commercial Banking can command up to RM350,000 and for the Head of Corporate Banking Head position, RM390,000. The key differences between corporate and commercial banking is the clientele and the amount of money involved. Corporate bankers work with business, small and large, and therefore deal with larger loans, while commercial bankers work mostly with individuals and work with smaller loans. These senior roles usually work on strategies to improve the relationship between respective banks and customers, and may include a regulatory and risk management focus. (Browse banking roles here.)

7. Engineering Director

The director of engineering leads the engineering department of a company. Like any head of a department, plans and directs all aspects of engineering activities from hiring and training new team members to managing engineering projects and budget. An engineering director in different industries can earn varying amounts, from RM325,000 in the healthcare industry, RM480,000 in FMCG and RM540,000 in business services. (Browse engineering job openings.)

8. Human Resources Director

Human Resources is more than an administrative support function that doesn’t generate revenue in a business. It has evolved to become an essential business partner to help identify problems in the corporation, develop and sustain employee engagement, retain talent, and plan for the workforce’s future needs. And that is why HR Directors are in high demand and can expect to make anywhere from RM288,000 in the business services sector to RM330,000 in the FMCG sector. (Fast-track your HR career with these tips, and click here for HR job openings.)

9. Head of Procurement

The Head of Procurement requires a professional with a good network of contacts who has good negotiation, relationship building and project management skills and oversees a company’s purchases. Earning between RM270,000 to RM330,000, the procurement head collaborates with the finance and logistics teams to set purchasing strategies and policies while meeting a company’s budgetary and other operational requirements. Aside from making profitable decisions, the procurement head also requires a combination of market research, management, negotiation and communications skills. (Browse procurement job openings here.)

10. Head of Compliance

This role ensures that the company and its employees comply with legal requirements, industry regulations, internal policies and bylaws. As the future of work evolves in a globalised economy, managing bylaws and regulations become increasingly complex. The Head of Compliance, who will need to have vast knowledge about compliance in many countries in the region, can make up to RM360,000. (View compliance job openings here.)

Click here to download our Talent Trends 2021 report today!

Disclaimer: Salaries can differ from one company to another, and depending on your skills, knowledge and experience. To find out how your salary compares to other roles and industries in Malaysia, go to our Salary Comparison Tool

Read more:
8 must-have qualities of an effective leader
10 most common interview questions in Malaysia
3 impactful resume templates for your 2022 job search

Join over 60,000 readers!
Receive free advice to help give you a competitive edge in your career.