What would you say is an acceptable starting salary in Malaysia? Most of us wouldn’t even dream of saying anything above RM5,000. But according to Universum’s Malaysia Top 100 IDEAL Employers talent survey, 30% of graduates are asking for a starting pay of RM6,500!

The survey had 1.3 MILLION respondents around the world, including close to 17,000 undergrads in Malaysia alone.

R.AGE was given exclusive early access to the survey results, and here are some of the most interesting bits:

1. Young Malaysians have unrealistic salary demands

Like we said – asking for a starting pay of RM6,500 is pretty unrealistic – especially if you consider 88% of Malaysian youth earn below RM1,500.

The average expected annual salary is a bit more realistic – RM41,762, which comes up to around RM3,500 a month.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, unemployment is highest among Malaysian youth (15-24), 6.7%, compared to other age groups, which average out at  3.2%.



All visuals from Universum

2. Everyone wants a friendly work environment

The respondents to the survey, from 27 universities and 105 different areas of studies, were also asked what they look for in their future employers.

They were asked to rank 40 career and workplace-related attributes on a scale of 1-5. Guess we Malaysians must be a pretty friendly bunch, because the attribute that topped the list was “A friendly work environment”.

Even after Universum calculated the scores separately for male and female respondents, the answer was still the same – young people want to work somewhere with friendly colleagues.


3. The ultimate career goal – work/life balance

For the third year in a row, the survey respondents said the top goal in their careers is to have work/life balance. In fact, they crave it even more than job stability, which came in at second place.

Sadly, the career goal “to be dedicated to a cause or to feel that I am serving a greater good” has dropped really far down on the list, making it the biggest loser over the past three years. Looks like young Malaysians are losing their idealism…

One thing to take note: the results were for business and engineering students. Interesting side note: Bank Negara Malaysia was ranked the most ideal employer among business students, while Petronas was ranked highest among engineering students.



4. Banking rules

In terms of the respondents’ most preferred industries, banking received the top vote, with 19% of respondents picking it as one of the three industries they would want to join the most.

The public sector and government agencies fell out of the top ten completely, with only 10% of people choosing it as their top three, a steady downward trend from 19% in 2014 and 14% in 2015.

Luckily for us, “Media and Advertising” is still up there in the top ten, coming in at a respectable #7.


5. The most common career profile is “Careerist”

Universum categorised the respondents into seven different “career profiles”:

  1. Careerist
  2. Entrepreneur
  3. Harmoniser
  4. Hunter
  5. Idealist
  6. Internationalist
  7. Leader

Careerist was by far the most common career profile, with 17% of the respondents falling in that category.

What’s a careerist, you say? We asked the same thing. According to Universum, careerists are future-oriented and career focused. They are fine starting at the bottom and working their way up the career ladder, something they often feel makes them a better and more rounded leader when they eventually get there.

What do you think? Are fresh grads crazy for expecting RM6,500 a month? Is a friendly working environment really that important! Let us know in the comments!


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