Digital Market Insights Q1 2017

Published on 19th January 2017

Digital is one of the most exciting growth industries in Malaysia, driving sustainable development and evolution within the local job market. 

This is contributed to by the emergence of Malaysia as a target consumer market for e-Commerce (and a host of other on-line services), as well its role as a viable regional business hub.

With Malaysia aspiring to have a digital economy that contributes 20 percent to overall GDP by 2020 and policies being put in place to facilitate this, in conjunction with the general economic trends, the Digital industry is destined for rapid growth over the next 3 years.

Digital hiring will continue to rise in 2017

In the next months going into 2017, we expect to see more Digital jobs opening up. Statistics are showing that there are 675 million smartphones in service in Asia today, and by 2017 there will be some 2.2 billion in Asia.  As such, we can only expect the demand for iOS, Android and Full Stack Mobile Developers to be at a peak towards the end of 2017. 

A key precipitator for digital transformation is customer experience and engagement. With investments going into Big Data, mobilisation and content marketing on social media platforms, a rise in the demand for Influencer marketers, Data Scientists and Social Media experts are expected for 2017. A dominant theme that would form very strongly over the next few months would be in the Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality (AR & VR) space, as businesses look to capitalise an immersive experience, as exhibited by the success of apps such as ‘Pokémon GO’. 

Challenges in meeting digital expertise demand

Despite Malaysia being an excellent talent base, we foresee some challenges in terms of its local talent pool's ability to meet digital expertise demand.

Within the MNC setting, we see talent being hired on basis of training up from more junior levels or cross-training into new areas. However, smaller SMEs leveraging on innovation may struggle since a good digital resource fit will be akin to a plug and play solution. Given the emerging nature of web technologies in the market for sophisticated web 3.0 solutions, employers in this space will need to be realistic in terms of expectations.

Hire for attitude and be different

We advise companies to take a mid-term view when hiring for digital talent. Organisations are encouraged to hire based on trainable potential and transferable qualities such as problem-solving or general coding ability, failing which these organisations will likely face a standstill and a faltering process of knowledge transfer to fuel talent growth.

We know that businesses are often looking for Gen-Y talent who can develop, contribute and fit into the company’s culture, as well as be proactive in driving business growth. There is an overwhelming sense that companies are in the hunt for the next Marissa Meyer (circa July 2012), and are running the risk of being too selective for a 'total package’ in areas such as development, testing, data analysis and software engineering. More than ever, there is a need for companies to have a differentiating 'X factor' and not just rely on the notion they are the 'next big thing'.

Furthermore, digital employers in Malaysia should consider investing in creative talent acquisition and retention strategies to ensure they are able to scale their resources in line with strategy. This could include assessment centres that focus on transferable skillsets and problem solving rather than the nuances on one particular framework and extensive personal development programs for existing staff.

Salary Report for Q1 2017*

Job title Years of experience Annual salary range (RM$)
Software Development & Engineering
Java Developer 7–12  80K–145K
  12+ 145K–220K
Front End Developer 7–12  95K–180K
  12+ 180K–220K
Mobile Developer 7–12  80K–145K
  12+ 145K–180K
Development Operations 7–12  140K–240K
  12+ 240K–300K
Software Architect 7–12  140K–240K
  12+ 240K–340K
Ruby on Rails Developer 7–12  120K–145K
  12+ 145K–180K

Digital Marketing
Advertising Operations 7–12  70K–120K
  12+ 120K–145K
Analyst 7–12  145K–180K
  12+ 180K–220K
Social Media 7–12  95K–145K
  12+ 145K–180K
Digital Marketing 7–12  120K–180K
  12+ 180K–220K
Digital Business Development / Sales 7–12  120K–180K
  12+ 180K–220K
Programmatic 7–12  240K–300K
  12+ 300K–360K

Design & Usability
UI / UX 7–12  70K–120K
  12+ 120K–145K
Usability Specialist 7–12  145K–180K
  12+ 180K–220K
Information Architect 7–12  95K–145K
  12+ 145K–180K

Senior & Strategic
Project Management 7–12  95K–145K
  12+ 145K–220K
Product Management 7–12  145K–220K
  12+ 220K–300K
Head of Engineering / Vice President 7–12  NA
  12+ 300K–600K
CIO / CTO 7–12  NA
  12+ 360K–600K
Software Architect 7–12  300K–360K
  12+ 360K–540K


*Notes about salary table:

  1. Titles and levels vary from organisation to organisation.
  2. The salary ranges given are only approximate guides. For tailored salary advice, please contact us directly.
  3. 12-month base salaries are assumed.
  4. All other benefits and bonuses are in addition to these figures.
  5. Bonus ranges can vary significantly from company to company and will be influenced by market conditions, business and individual performances. Bonus ranges from 1 month at the low end to 100%+ at the upper.
  6. Holiday entitlements range from 1225 days with senior executives not usually receiving less than 18 days. Less than 15 is very rare and 20 days is becoming the norm.
  7. Healthcare policies are standard.
  8. Pension plans vary with some companies offering greater than the standard contribution. Top up schemes can increase employer contribution levels as much as 1520% of the base salary for senior executives.