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ICT Job Market continues on Positive Growth

  1. IT Call Centres/ IT enabled services have the biggest jump of 51% from 2012. Albeit a flat growth, Oil and Gas still maintained as top paying industry.
  2. Average salary of local ICT professionals increased by 7.2% in 2013; Expected to increase by further 8.7% in 2014 whilst salary gap between fresh graduates and skilled ICT professionals widened further.
  3. Salary of our ICT professionals continues lagging behind of Thailand and Vietnam, earning 1.43 and 1.50 times lesser respectively and best paying cities are in US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Kuala Lumpur, 04 July 2014 – PIKOM, the National ICT Association of Malaysia and the ‘Voice of the ICT Industry’, today unveils the key findings of its latest ICT Job Market Outlook 2014 - a study done in collaboration with JobStreet.com and supported by Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).

In the release of the PIKOM ICT Job Market Outlook 2014, PIKOM Chairman, Cheah Kok Hoong is pleased to announce that the average salary of ICT professionals for 2013 has again netted an upward movement of 7.2% to RM7,152 from RM6,673 in 2012. It augurs well for the industry as this is above the country’s recently reported Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and inflation rate of 5.5%¹ and 3.5%² respectively.

Cheah further commented “Given the positive local economic growth outlook (as marked by increased in export earnings and other statistics reported recently) and an improving global economy, we anticipate that a further 8.7% salary growth for the ICT industry is achievable by the end of 2014.”

However, Cheah highlights a continuing concern on the potential issue of ‘brain drain’ within the industry as the report consistently shows a widening gap in the remunerations of ICT practitioners between Malaysia and countries in the region including English-speaking countries such as Australia, US and, UK. “If this continues, it can potentially impact the national agenda under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) which aims to boost skilled workers’ percentage up to 33% by 2015 and as much as 50% by 2020 with the objective to turn Malaysia into a high income economy”, he further added.

Salient Points

PIKOM Research Committee Chairman Woon Tai Hai (PIKOM chairman 2011-2013) who has been helming this research project for the past eight years; shared some salient points of the findings from the study.

“Over the past 8 years since the inaugural launch of this report by PIKOM, the employment rate within the ICT industry has been enjoying impressive growth rate and 2013 is no different, clocking up a 7.2% growth and expected to grow a further 8.7% in 2014. The imminent implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Malaysia on 1st April 2015 will also provide an impetus to the ICT industry for 2014 and 2015, as organisations ‘rush’ to replace and/or upgrade their systems to be in compliance with the GST requirements, resulting in a demand for software developers”, Woon commented.

Oil and Gas still most attractive sector - The Oil and Gas sector continues to emerge as the highest paying sector for ICT professionals in 2013 averaging RM8,324, albeit a flat growth from 2012. But a significant 51%3 salary hike was noted in the IT Call Centres / IT Enabled Services industry for 2013.

Average ICT Salary increased by 7.2% in 2013 - Senior managers registering the highest pay rise of 9.6%, followed by senior executives at 7.5%, junior executives and managers enjoyed a 7.3% and 7.2% increase respectively and fresh graduates have a decent 4.6% rise with an average salary of RM2,451 in 2013. ICT Project Management jobs earn significantly higher salaries (average of RM8,947) than other technical or engineering fields. However a widening salary gap between fresh graduates and their more experienced colleagues is also apparent.

Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya cities pay higher – The typical salary of ICT professionals in major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya is 1.75 times higher than of those who work in smaller cities and towns in Malaysia. Comparing to 70 cities around the world, Kuala Lumpur is ranked 53th in terms of remuneration scale.

Benchmarking with other countries - Vietnam and Hong Kong topped the scale - Among Asian countries, Vietnam and Hong Kong topped the salary scale, where the salary was 2.19 and 2.12 times (with PPP adjusted) higher than Malaysia. Similarly, Australia and USA also topped the list among the English speaking nations.

Hot ICT jobs - ICT professionals equipped with Java, C#, C++, dot Net, SharePoint and Web Application Developers are highly sought after including IT Security Analyst and Big Data Analytics.

Albeit a heighten euphoria on the overall 7.2% salary growth, Woon raises a number of concerns for the industry:

“In addition to the threat of brain drain caused by a disparity in remunerations, there is an ever growing issue with the declining computer science graduates emerging from our universities including the challenge of unemployment amongst ICT fresh graduates due to misalignment of skills and expectations of employers. Perhaps this also explains the reason for the widening of gaps between salaries of ICT fresh graduates and their more experienced colleagues in the industry.”

Woon also alluded to the fact that computer science discipline is perhaps too generic with no differentiating factors within itself. Often employers cannot distinguish between skill sets of a computer science (CS) and software engineer (SE) to an Information Systems (IS) and Information Technology (IT) practitioners. (CS and SE skills are normally associated with ‘creator of technology’ whilst IT and IS skills are inclined towards ‘expert users of technology’) This again may be the root cause to the declining ICT fresh graduates as it is deemed not attractive to pursue these studies.

Cheah further commented, “The PIKOM’s ICT Job Market Outlook 2014 has certainly raised some pressing issues for the industry especially the continuing brain- drain overseas and the widening salary gap for the fresh graduates”. To this end Cheah is happy to note that PIKOM is working with Malaysia Quality Accreditation (MQA) body via our PIKOM Government Affairs Committee (headed by Dr. Dzaharudin Mansor – PIKOM Councillor) together with various ministries and agencies to address the computer science curriculum problems”. He concluded, “The key challenge to addressing some of these pertinent issues is to consistently grow and sustain the local ICT industry not only in size but quality as well. PIKOM within its capacity as an association will continue to be supportive of initiatives to overcome these hurdles.”

  1. Malaysia's GDP revised upwards to 5.5% on increase in exports
  2. Malaysia's inflation up 3.5% in March
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