US-based technology-driven solutions provider and consultant, Mercer, is projecting Malaysia’s overall salary increase to remain stable at 5.2 per cent in 2019 but surpasses countries such as Australia (2.6 per cent), New Zealand (2.5 per cent) and Japan (2 per cent). In its recently released “Compensation Planning for 2019” study, Mercer has forecast most industries in Malaysia to maintain similar salary growth rates next year, with the exception of the consumer goods industry which is expected to have a slight increase of 0.3 per cent.

“Life science and technology industries are at the top in terms of the highest base pay and total cash increases for executive roles in 2019,” it said in a statement today. On the other hand, Mercer said legal, finance and research and development functions emerged as the top three roles most likely to fetch increases. “Positive signals of revival in the semiconductor and biotechnology sectors also implies that specialist engineering and sales talent will be in demand. “Bucking the trend of muted growth in the rest of the banking and financial services industry, the insurance industry is also projected to see healthy growth,” it said.

Meanwhile, Mercer said Malaysia remained a highly competitive economy, with 38 per cent from Generation X and 44 per cent of millennials occupying the workforce in 2018.
“The current focus on restructuring the economy, promoting diversity and raising productivity by the Malaysian government is taking light as the country takes progressive strides to be a highly competitive nation globally. “This means an increased focus by companies to further invest in building their workforce for the future,” Mercer Malaysia chief executive officer Hash Piperdy said.

According to the study, among emerging markets, Bangladesh (10 per cent), India (9.2 per cent) and Vietnam (9.8 per cent) are forecast to have the highest salary increases in 2019.

The study also revealed that highest-ranking executives in China out-earn their peers in the US and UK. “Although it is important to note that this picture changes once long-term incentives and European social security benefits are factored in,” it said.

The study, which identifies key remuneration trends and makes hiring and pay increase predictions for the coming year across Asia, Middle East and Africa, was based on the Total Remuneration Surveys, Mercer’s flagship annual compensation and benefits benchmarking study participated by over 500 companies in Malaysia across 12 industries.