Salary Negotiation In Malaysia: How To Get The Salary You Deserve

We believe that people should find employment that serves them beyond just monetary gain. Doing work you enjoy in a company with a culture that fits you is a foundation for a fulfilling career.

It’s also a lot easier to excel in the right environment and grow your salary as your career progresses. Having said that, it is still very important to understand your worth and fight for fair compensation.

Below are some tips to empower you to negotiate for a salary that matches the value you have to offer:

1. Understand your value

Never be the first to bring up salary during an interview. Instead, focus on making sure the interviewers like you and understand that you are there primarily for the role, not the salary. 

Even so, you must recognize your own value. Being able to articulate your value is one of the best ways to increase your marketability as a candidate. Begin by asking yourself: What problems are you able to solve? What can you offer to the employer? What qualities do others admire about you? Use these answers to market your value as a potential employee. 

How valuable you are to an employer will depend on your impact on the organization. Communicating this successfully will let the employers understand your worth which will lead to an easier negotiation!

When the subject of pay does come up, insist that you’re more interested in learning if they think you’re the right fit for the position. This, of course, has to be true. Until you are certain that they will be making you an offer, you should avoid discussing salary and focus on marketing yourself as a valuable asset to the employer. 

2. Find out the average salary range for the role

The first step is to do your research on what the general salary range is for a particular position. You can start by looking up salary information using online tools like Payscale. Some employers on Hiredly even list the salary range for the advertised position which can help with your research.

Typically, there is a standard salary for new graduates. However, it’s important to note that it largely depends on factors like industry, job scope, as well as location. Job seekers in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, or Penang can expect to start with a salary of RM2,500 to RM3,000 a month. Keep in mind that it could be slightly difficult to negotiate a salary comparable to the locations mentioned if you are applying for jobs in areas further from city centres.

If you do want to push for a higher salary, be prepared with a valid reason. Besides demonstrating your value to the company, you may need to justify the higher salary request by citing expenses required for you to come to work and do a great job. This may include travel expenses, parking fees, or student loans.  

Another factor to consider is the company’s size. A smaller company may not be able to afford comparable pay. You may then assume that choosing to work for a larger company is the way to go, but keep in mind that it may be more competitive in terms of career progression. You may have more opportunities to shine in a smaller company (but don’t expect to be promoted without any effort!).

As a fresh graduate, it’s normal to not have enough experience to set yourself apart from other applicants. We recommend starting your career with a salary that is around the average market rate while prioritizing the job scope you see yourself growing in. You can always negotiate for a higher income after delivering good results, which will be a lot easier in a role and company you are happy to be in. 

3. Request for a 30% salary increase

In Malaysia, whatever role you take on, your salary offer will almost always be based on your previous salary. This raise typically ranges from a 10% to 30% increase of your previous salary.

When they make you the offer, be the first to propose a number. If an employer proposes a number first and you start requesting something higher, you might receive some pushback. It also helps to centre the negotiation around the salary amount of your liking.

Request that 30% increase from your previous salary. If you believe that you deserve a higher increase, be prepared with a strong justification or else risk losing the job. 

Then tell them that you are willing to entertain something a little lower because you really enjoy the job. The closer they are to 30%, the happier you will be. This will also make it easier for you to decide which roles to accept.

By doing this, you will encourage employers to offer the highest salary they believe to be your value while keeping the door open for you even if they think your initial expected salary is too high.

The takeaway:

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Expecting fair compensation is a right to all employees and we implore that you do the research necessary to ensure you are paid your worth.

If you want to find new ways to get ahead of the competition, have you considered polishing your personal branding? Find out how in this article.