Malaysian Graduates Have One Of The Lowest Expectations In The World For Starting Salaries

Fresh graduates are not so demanding after all.

Cover image via New Straits Times

On 18 January, Universum Global, a human resources consulting firm released its annual “Cost of Talent” report

The report is based on the feedback from 533,351 Business and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students from 29 countries that participated in Universum’s 2017 Talent Survey.

The breakdown of the surveyed students

Image via Universum Global

Malaysia has one of the lowest salary expectations among other countries

Respondents were asked, "What salary do you expect to earn in your first job after graduation?"

On average, Malaysian business students expect an annual salary of USD8,765 (RM34,700), which translates to RM2,875 per month while STEM students expect a monthly salary of RM3,050, or USD9,285 (RM36,600) a year.

Only students from Kazakhstan and Indonesia have lower salary expectations as compared to Malaysia.

Business students and STEM graduates who expect the highest salaries are from Switzerland, followed by Denmark and the United States

University of Zurich, Switzerland

Image via Swiss Info

To put the numbers into perspective, business students in Switzerland expect a monthly salary of USD6,200 (RM24,400), while STEM students expect USD6,275 (RM24,700) a month. On average, business and STEM students in Denmark and United States expect a starting salary of USD5,300 (RM20,900) and USD4,800 (RM18,900) respectively.

“The current global cost of talent is very much aligned with the cost of living in each country, so the differences between markets make complete sense."

Universum’s MD for the Americas, Jonna Sjövall, added, "The most sought-after talent are well aware of their market value – this year we are seeing interesting differences between STEM and Business talent that varies market by market based on the scarcity of jobs."

Discussing this trend, Universum’s CMO, Jonas Barck, said “Over the past two years it has been well publicised that just about every industry is seeking to recruit more STEM talent. Even industries that were traditionally dominated by business talents like the banking and financial sectors are trying to compete with the IT sector for STEM talent.”

On a positive note, Malaysia has the smallest and second smallest disparity in terms of salary expectations among male and female in business and STEM respectively

Simply put, both male and female Malaysian students in these sectors have almost identical salary expectations

However, based on Universum’s survey results in terms of gender, every country's male students on average expect to make more than their female counterparts in both the business and STEM categories.

"There is no clear-cut explanation as to why male talents have continued to demand and negotiate higher salaries. If female talents do not demand higher wages during negotiations, the gap will not be narrowed unless employers are proactive and voluntarily provide higher wages to women without being asked for them," Universum Global stated in its report.

You can download the full report by Universum Global here.

Fresh grad salaries and increments have always been a hot topic among Malaysians. People are usually divided on whether fresh graduates in Malaysia are demanding too much or getting paid too little. What do you think?

Tell us your opinion in the comment section below.

Staying on the topic of graduates and jobs, Dr Mahathir gave his opinion on the current state of job opportunities in Malaysia:

And then there's the never-ending debate on fresh graduates unable to land a job due to attitude problems:

Know your value! Find out the highest and lowest paying entry-level jobs in Klang Valley:

You may be interested in: