URUS bersama Suraya | 3 Ways to Get Rapid Salary Increase in Malaysia

3 Ways to Get Rapid Salary Increase in Malaysia


Do you desire a higher salary? Most people will say yes, of course! The extra money can help you get better protection plans for yourself and your family—giving them a more comfortable and safer living environment—and increase your contribution towards retirement funds, and more.

The question now is, what are you willing to do to get that salary increase?

In this article, we will break down 3 methods that are proven to give you a salary hike. None of them is easy—some action is required, but as they say, nothing worth having is easy.

If you are not happy waiting for salary increments and/or promotions via the traditional ‘do good work, wait for performance reviews, be loyal to the company and get rewarded in due time’ approach, use one of these methods below.

Note: For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that all job opportunities are comparable in benefits, including, but not limited to, a supportive working environment, great colleagues and more.


Method #1 - Negotiate a higher salary from the beginning when you get a job offer


Negotiating a high salary from the beginning is ideal because your salary will compound faster with every annual increment. For example:

  • A job offering RM2,500 starting pay with 5% annual increment will be RM3,000++ at Year 5
  • A job offering RM3,000 starting pay with 5% annual increment will be RM3,600++ at Year 5


In Malaysia, it is not uncommon for employers to promise a higher salary upon the employee completing the probation period, usually between 3-6 months. In this case, it is better to negotiate for a shorter probation period rather than a longer one.


There are many negotiating strategies that you can use, including demonstrating how your skillsets would be a valuable addition to the company, as well as having more than one job offer to choose from (sometimes, employers are willing to increase or at least match the salary offer so you join them instead of their competitor).


Caution to women – be careful when using the same negotiation strategies that men use as it may backfire on you. Harvard researchers found that ‘when women bargain like men, they can be perceived as pushy. Women can be penalised for trying to negotiate, even by other women.


Therefore, do not bargain as a man. Negotiation is one of those things which requires women to tweak their approach. During negotiation, you have to frame your ambition as wanting to serve the community or for the better good.


Tell the potential employer you are able to serve the company’s customers better in the new role, thus making them more money. Tell them you deserve to be in a higher-ranking position so you can nurture new hires better. It is less of ‘I want to get ahead’ and more of ‘we get ahead together’.


Women are not bad at negotiating, not at all. In fact, ‘women outperform men in representational negotiations—that is, negotiating for someone else. As a woman, it is unacceptable to be ‘greedy on my own, but it is completely acceptable to ‘negotiate for someone else’ because that is ‘a caretaking thing—a communal thing’.


Method #2 - Do some job-hopping


If you have been in your company for a while and the management is not interested in promoting you nor giving you a salary increment, then you may want to try the second method: job-hopping.


Essentially, job-hopping comprises:

  • Continuous improvement of your technical and soft skills.
  • Sending out your updated resume to job openings that you are interested in (you can also get in touch with a recruiter).
  • Leaving your current employer to accept higher-paying work opportunities offered to you.


Does job-hopping work? Yes, it does. It ranges by industry, but according to the jobs and recruitment agency, Michael Page, it is typical to get a 10-25% salary increase by hopping around. Assuming you are earning RM3,000 a month, that is a cool RM300-RM750 in additional income per month. Some people have also successfully negotiated a 100% increase and more!


Previously, people who do a lot of job-hopping may be accused of having no loyalty. However, things have changed and many private companies no longer reward loyalties with higher pay, benefits and pensions. It is okay to be loyal to a company but make sure, they too, take care of you and pay you what you are worth.


Method #3 - Work remotely


It is common to hear of Malaysians who choose to migrate for better opportunities, especially if their skillsets are chronically underpaid in Malaysia, or worse, job opportunities in their field of specialisation do not exist.


However, not everyone wants to migrate, due to family or personal reasons, in which case, they can do the next best thing: find international job opportunities which allow remote-working. These jobs tend to pay in USD (or other strong currency) which, when converted to local RM, translates to a higher purchasing power!


There are many platforms that list remote-working jobs, including weworkremotely.com and remote.co. The only downsides to these jobs are they tend to have high competition from the global market, and you need to possess extremely niche skillsets. However, the upside is that you can learn anything online.


What would you do to increase your salary?


As you can see, it is not impossible to earn a high salary in Malaysia. All you have to do to start at this point is to choose one method and work on implementing it.


Want to earn even more? Pick a job that respects your off time. The uninterrupted and consistent free time will be invaluable to pursue your other short-term and long-term goals, whether to work on other side income or business opportunities or to rest and recuperate so you can function at your peak performance and get compensated better even sooner!


Happy job hunting!




This article is contributed by Suraya Zainudin—writer, speaker and digital marketer for one of Malaysia’s top personal finance websites.




The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Credit Counseling and Management Agency (AKPK).