Jobs with the Highest Starting Salaries for Fresh Graduates in Malaysia

starting salaries for fresh graduates in Malaysia

Following our Nasi Lemak Index last year which revealed that the salary levels of Malaysians have been stagnated over the past five years, we are glad to discover the actual range for various jobs offers a different starting salary range for fresh graduates or entry-level positions.

The more interesting part is, the same jobs offer different starting salaries in the various regions of Malaysia. Why is that?

The answer is simple. The difference in salary offers boils down to one simple economic rule: supply and demand. Whenever an industry needs specific professions more than the other, the companies in that industry are likely to offer a higher salary to attract talents to work with them.

In a free labor market like ours, and of most economies in the world, it is a challenge to set a standardized salary level for job positions and assume this will apply to all industries due to the various skills required in different jobs. Of course, there are also Human Resource practices to help companies and employees negotiate for a salary package before hiring a fresh graduate including criteria like academic qualification and endorsements from referrals.

Thanks to Jobstreet for its latest Salary Report 2017 which has recently shed light on the various salary levels that have sparked everyone’s interest.

With the help of its data and our own research, we would like to compare the industries and regions that offer the best salary for the following jobs/careers at an entry-level position. This way, we hope the fresh graduates or those who are looking to join the labor force soon can have a better view of the market as a reference in the future.  Take note that we only select jobs/careers that represent the majority of Malaysian fresh graduates and you click here for the full report.

Here is the list of jobs:

  • Accounting and finance executives
  • Admin and HR executives
  • Arts/media/comm executives
  • Computer/IT executives
  • Engineers
  • Sales & marketing executives
  • Customer service assistant

1. Accounting/Finance Executives


Accounting/finance jobs are one of the most sought after roles in the country for many business fresh graduates and according to the table above, it is the easiest to get a job in the central region (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor) in Malaysia.

However, this does not necessarily mean that they may get the best salary in that region. If you look closely at the table, companies in the banking & financial institutions and medical industries are offering a higher salary range in the northern region, compared to their peers in the central region. The same goes to banking or financial services, hotel, and oil & gas industries in the southern region that offer a higher maximum salary than the central region!

While this may only reflect part of the industry practices, it seems that insurance industry, banking & financial institutions, call centers, computer/information technology (software and hardware), telecommunication, and IT consulting firms are offering an average of RM2,500 and above in terms of the maximum salary for qualified candidates.

2. Admin & HR Executives


The next common job sought after by most fresh graduates in Malaysia, that is in admin & HR is mostly required across industry and region. Sadly, it is not the most lucrative job in Malaysia.

Referring to the table above, the highest maximum pay you can find for an admin/HR executive does not even exceed RM2,600 in any region. To give you a clearer view, PayScale states that the average pay for a Human Resources (HR) Officer is RM29,277 per year.

According to Loh Jia Yuan, a human resource manager in an insurance company, admin/HR jobs are often underestimated in many companies in terms of contribution, compared to other job positions that offer a direct impact on companies’ earnings base such as operations and finance executives.

Will companies in our country start acknowledging the importance of admin/HR roles in their business/organization and review salary packages for this job position? This doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.

3. Arts/Media/Comm executives


Not exactly a highly favored career for Malaysians, but there is an increasing demand for communication executives, particularly in corporate communication, public relations, graphic designers and even for writers like me. This is supported by the digital transformation of our economy and booming digital business in our country.

In the northern region, it is relatively hard to find an art/media/comm job given that Penang and other northern states are well-established in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. On top of that, most of the exciting events are happening in the city or central region, which is why most of the related jobs can be found in this region.

Referring to the table above, you have a higher chance of scoring good pay for an entry-level art/media/comm job in advertising & PR and also information technology (software) industry.

4. Computer/IT


Almost every company has its own IT team or also known as ‘project’ team to adapt to the digital world we are in today. While northern and southern regions are still picking up in terms of hiring IT talents, it is not impossible to start your career with lucrative pay in the central region.

The highest maximum salary for an IT executive is offered in insurance, telecommunication, and banking industry, which can go as high as RM3,800 if you have what it takes!

5. Engineers


Despite a dip in the oil & gas industry, it is still offering a relatively high average starting salary across industries while the information technology (software) industry takes the second spot. However, an oil & gas engineer who is currently jobless told that it is still somewhat difficult to find a job in the local market given the slow recovery in the industry.

Hence, if you are not convinced of getting an ideal job to start your career journey, it is never too late to consider another industry or job!

6. Sales & Marketing Executive


This list excludes the bonuses, incentives, and also commissions which can be crucial to sales & marketing executives. However, if you are just looking at the basic salary offered across industry and region, advertising & PR firms and also consulting firms specialized in IT, science, engineering & technical services are offering as high as RM3,700 for their quality candidates!

However, you should also make the effort to learn more about the company’s commission structure since most of the sales agent are banking on this to generate most of their income.

7. Customer Service Assistant


This is one of the widely hired jobs across industries considering the importance of customer service for a business to generate sales and sustain a reputable brand. Insurance, call centers, and banks are some of the ideal choices to start your career in customer service line given the well-structured training provided and exposure to the different type of customers to upskill your communication skills.

They pay a decent starting salary too, ranging from RM2,700 to RM3,100 in terms of average maximum salary.

We hope this article helps you to have a better understanding of the market before making your career move! If you want to make your career journey more fruitful, make sure you up-skill yourself consistently to improve your value. Check out 7 Part Time Courses/Platforms You Can Take to UpSkill Yourself here!

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