PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is among the top five countries in the world where employees expect a good pay rise and year-end bonus, according to a survey.
That optimism, however, is not shared by Malaysian employers. They want employees to snap back to reality, saying companies here were unlikely to spend due to uncertain economic conditions.
The survey by international recruitment firm Randstad showed Malaysia ranked fourth in a list of 34 countries with the highest expectations for a pay rise after India, Argentina and Mexico.
Randstad’s Q4 2014 Workmonitor report also found that 83% of its Malaysian respondents were expecting a pay rise and bonuses this year, way ahead of the global average of 50%.
And six out of 10, or 62% of the respondents expect that the Malaysian economy is set to improve next year.
On expectations for a bonus payout, Malaysians also ranked third on the list, after Mexico and China.
The survey was conducted between Oct 23 and Nov 5 and Randstad Malaysia director Jasmin Kaur said with Malaysia gearing to become a high-income nation by 2020, employees here were shouldering a heavier workload and expected to be compensated.
Employers, however, are pouring cold water on such expectations, saying many companies are currently jittery due to global economic conditions and may choose to save instead of paying out higher salaries and bonuses.
Malaysian Employers Federation secretary Datuk Shamsudin Bardan said this year had been “very challenging” for companies and the Government.
“The revenue from petroleum is very much affected with the drop in the price of crude oil and the economic outlook is also not very good.
“Japan is in recession, and other major economies like China and Europe are not doing so well,” he said.
Shamsudin said although Malaysia’s economy was still growing, there was still uncertainty and companies were currently worried about the future prospects.
“This will surely affect the quantum of bonuses and increments that the companies are willing to give out,” he said.
He added that companies involved in consumer products were bracing for a rough year ahead as consumers were expected to spend less next year.
“The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax next year will affect consumers spending as they will be inclined to save rather than spend as prices rise,” he said.
On employees’ expectations for remuneration due to increased responsibility at work, Shamsudin said Malaysia was still far behind.
Malaysia, he said, in terms of average productivity value was at about RM60,000 per employee per year, far behind Singapore which was at RM173,000 per employee per year.
“Productivity levels in countries like Japan, Korea and the US are about seven times more than us,” he said.
He said Malaysia’s skilled workforce was only at 28% and that employees needed to take more initiative to upskill themselves to seek better remuneration.
The Randstad Workmonitor, launched in 2003, covers 34 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US.
The study is conducted via an online questionnaire on respondents aged between 18 and 65 years with a minimal sample size of 400 interviews per country.