Finance & Accounting Market Insights H1 2018

The finance and accounting talent market was buoyant for H2 2017. The second half of 2017 saw the hiring market in Malaysia continue to build on a solid first half, supported by the eagerly awaited 2017/18 Economic Report published by the Finance Ministry of Malaysia in October 2017. 

Robust hiring within corporate functions

Hiring within corporate functions was robust in 2017. According to the 2017/18 Economic Report, the average monthly salaries for employees with tertiary education encouragingly increased by 4.9% in 2017 as compared to 2016. 

Decline in the number of expat employees

From the same report, we also learnt that there was, however, a decline in the number of expatriate employees, with the number of foreign workers decreasing by 10.3%. The main industries supporting expats continued to be significantly led by the services sector at 47.6%, followed by construction and manufacturing at 15.6% and 11.8% respectively.

Demand continued for commercial finance and FP&A talent 

In 2017, the finance and accounting space continued to see the demand for commercial finance as well as financial planning and analysis (FP&A) talent, as organizations continued to seek strong financial business partners to support growth and cost reduction activities across the region.

The trend of regional finance roles being onshored to Malaysia from higher-cost neighbouring countries continued apace, and this looks set to continue into 2018. 

Shared services: Lack of foreign language speakers

Within shared services, meeting the need for foreign language speakers has been a major challenge, with Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese language skills in very high demand. Professionals with verbal and written fluency could expect upwards of RM1,500 per month as an additional remuneration incentive. Established finance shared service centres have been looking for value-added FP&A talent, and there still remains a shortage in this area.

Talent outlook for the first half of 2018

Based on the 2017/18 Economic Report, the outlook for the first half of 2018 looks positive, with a stable economic growth forecast of 5-5.5%. The services sector predicts strong growth of around 5.8%, predominantly led by financial services. Inflation measured by Consumer Price Index is forecast to decrease, and a resilient economy coupled with further job creation should see unemployment drop slightly to 3.3% in 2018. 

Within finance shared services, the growth looks set to continue, however as salaries rise further, some organisations are looking to lower cost neighbouring countries as locations to base or outsource transactional finance roles. The preference to locate value-added, mid-management and leadership positions in Malaysia while offshoring lower level roles may lead to some headcount reduction in the country, however, there will be an increase in opportunities for well-educated finance professionals to pursue their finance and accounting careers in Malaysia.

Finance & Accounting
Salary Report for H1 2018*

Job titleYears of experienceAnnual salary range (RM$)
Audit / Internal Control
Head of Audit12+240K–420K
Internal / External Audit Manager5–1096K–180K
Internal / External Auditor3–560K–102K
Financial Accounting
Finance Director12–15336K–420K
Regional Financial Controller10+240K–360K
Financial Controller8–10180K–300K
Accounting Manager6–10120K–180K
Financial Accountant3–670K–120K
Accounts Payable / Accounts Receivable AccountantUp to 8 years55K–72K
Management Accounting
Management Accounting Manager8–10120K–180K
Senior Management Accountant5–890K–120K
Management Accountant3–560K–108K
Planning & Analysis
Head of Planning & Analysis10–12216K–300K
Financial Planning & Analysis Manager8–10180K–240K
Senior Financial Analyst6–896K–144K
Financial Analyst3–660K–110K
Vice President / Head of Tax / Tax Director12+216K–420K
Tax Manager8–12120K–216K
Tax Accountant / Senior Accountant3–749K–102K
Head of Treasury10–12+180K–300K
Treasury Manager7–1096K–180K
Treasury Accountant3–654K–96K
Finance Shared Services
Shared Services Head / Director15+420K–600K
Head of Function / Process  - RTR, PTP, OTC10–15180K–360K
Team / Function Lead5–1084K–180K
Accountant / Senior Accountant0–536K–84K

*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 15– 20% of the base salary for senior executives.