Pay still low for fresh ICT graduates

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR

Fresh graduates in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector are still facing salary challenges despite an increase in average monthly salary of professionals in the same field, says The National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom).

According to Pikom ICT Job Market Outlook report, ICT graduates still face hiring and salary challenges as opposed to the increasing average salary of senior manager professionals.

The report shows that ICT job market in Malaysia is showing growth with the average monthly salary of an ICT professional increasing by 4.6% from RM8,114 in 2015 to RM8,484 in 2016.

Pikom chairman Chin Chee Seong said, “These percentages are still considered some of the lowest numbers recorded in the past ten years in the industry.

“Yet, there is still growth amid these challenging times and looking at a period of 10 years, the ICT indus- try average salary has doubled since 2007,” he added.

Pikom’s report last year stated that the ICT salary gap was continuing to widen across all job categories.

Pikom research committee chair Woon Tai Hai said specifically, senior managers earned 6.44 times more than the salary of fresh graduates in 2016.

“The entry level professionals were the hardest hit with a growth rate of only 3.7% in 2016 compared to 5.3% in 2015.

“Though these gaps will always be inherent, the continued widening of these gaps is not healthy, as it may deter fresh graduates from entering the industry,” he said.

Woon also believes local ICT fresh graduate’s basic salary is still lower compared to developed markets.

The gap is expected to be higher at 6.61 this year.

The report is based on raw data col- lated from online recruitment company JobStreet.com and other sources.

It covers 24 industry classifications from four services segment: ICT hardware, ICT software, call centres/ICT-enabled services and telecommunication services.

Pikom also projects ICT contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) would grow from RM152.1 billion in 2015 to about RM164 billion in 2016, which is four times the value than in 2007.

“This projection is calculated on the basis of ICT contribution to GDP’s average annual growth rate of 7.6% for the period of 2010-2015,” it said.

“We also projected the overall share of the ICT industry to the economy in 2016 would be about 18.2% from 17.8% in 2015,” Woon added.

The main driver of the ICT indus- try growth continues to be ICT services, which Pikom says would grow to RM67 billion in 2016 from RM61.4 billion in 2015.

Nonetheless, Pikom said e-commerce will act as growth catalyst for the overall ICT industry.

“During the first-half of the year, we have also witnessed many ICT developments that will have significant impact on the growth and success of the industry.”

Pikom is cautiously optimistic that the economy will improve further this year based on year-on-year GDP of 5.6% in the first-quarter of 2017

“We are revising our earlier projection of 4% for GDP growth in 2017 to 5% based on an improved performance in the domestic demand sector and in most economic sectors,” Woon added.