#edGY: How to find out what you are worth

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EVER looked at your pay cheque and wonder if you are being paid enough? Are you underpaid for the amount of work that you do? Or, might you even be overpaid for doing what an intern can manage?

Unfortunately, there are no simple answers to these questions. And, there are no formulas that can calculate what a fair wage is.

Salary comparisons are relative on so many different levels.

On a macro level, one’s salary depends on the country you work in, the health of the economy, the industry’s landscape as well as the size and type of company you work for. There are also demand and supply forces at play.

On a more personal level, it depends on your qualifications, skills and experience as well as employee benefits and career development opportunities. Also, how well you have negotiated your remuneration package.

To find out how much others are getting paid for doing the same job, the simplest way is to ask your peers, both in and outside your organisation. Nevertheless, some people are uncomfortable in disclosing how much they earn.

If you fail to get answers this way, try these other methods to get an estimate of how much you could be earning. This week, #edGY searched for salary reports, websites and apps to satisfy that curiosity.

The Robert Walters Salary Checker

Global recruitment company Robert Walters has a nifty mobile app, called Salary Checker 2014, which is free and available on the App Store and Google Play. The data is based on its comprehensive Global Salary Survey 2014 report and saves you the trouble of going through the 499-page document.

The app allows users to select their country of workplace from a list of 25 nations and two regions — the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Malaysia is among the countries listed, alongside the likes of Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, the US, the UK and Indonesia.

This is useful if your present job is in the corporate sector. There are only seven industries or “specialisms” listed: accounting and finance, banking and financial services, human resources, information technology, legal and compliance, sales and marketing, and supply chain and engineering. Some specialisms allow users to specify their expertise, sector and job title.

Using this app, we tried to look up the salary comparisons for an auditor in Kuala Lumpur. The app displays a simple bar chart of the annual salaries in ringgit for an auditor over three years.

For 2014, the app tells us that an auditor typically earns between RM48,000 and RM102,000 a year. That’s a significant jump from the RM48,000 to RM88,000 range for 2012 and 2013.

This app gives a quick overview of the salary ranges for specific jobs in certain industries in different countries.

Data source is important and we take comfort in the comprehensive global survey as its base.

But where the app disappoints is that it does not allow for deeper customisation based on years of experience, size of organisation, bonus and other employee benefits.

Hays APAC Salary Guide

Recruitment specialist Hays publishes an annual salary guide that is easily the most comprehensive around.

Various industries are covered in this report: accountancy and finance; banking; construction, architecture and engineering; contact centres; education; energy; healthcare; human resources; information technology; insurance; legal; life sciences; logistics manufacturing and operations; office support; oil and gas; policy and strategy; procurement; property and facility management; resources and mining; retail; and sales and marketing.

Hays has also made it easier to browse its salary guide by offering a free mobile app for iOS devices.

The app’s interface is simple to use and covers a wide breadth of industries across Asia. Users can find out typical salaries by selecting the country, industry, sector and position. Malaysia is one of the countries included in this report and app.

For those without Apple devices, there is a full report available for free download upon request.

The report offers country-specific salary and recruitment trends for each of the industries.

What is most valuable are the in-depth average salary listings for specific jobs and specialities, seniority and size of company (SMEs, mid-size and multinationals).

For example, the report shows that a senior associate or assistant manager of audit in Malaysia typically earns RM72,000 to RM108,000 a year while a senior manager takes home between RM144,000 and RM204,000 in 2014. At a glance, readers can see what a similar executive in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore can earn.


Glassdoor is a US-based job listing site that allows employees to anonymously review their employers, salaries and interview process. It was the glimpse into other people’s salaries that generated a lot of buzz and controversy when Glassdoor was launched in June 2007.

The site has gained traction in the US, but not quite in Asia. Nevertheless, international expansion is on the cards.

Users in Malaysia might be pleased to know that data has been submitted for 3,849 salaries and 1,900 companies.

The catch is that users have to sign up for a free account or log in via their Facebook or Google accounts to view the full list of salaries. Once you get past that, you will find Glassdoor’s salary information rather fascinating and useful as a guide. But be mindful that Glassdoor does not verify the submissions as the information is volunteered by its users.

At a click, users can see the different salaries for different jobs in many big companies. These include the Big Four accounting firms, major telecommunications companies, banks, national oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd, Intel Corp, Bursa Malaysia, Genting Group, Sime Darby and Starbucks.

There are a lot of details in the salary reviews: they tell you the company, role, average salary and the pay range for a certain job. It also shows the number of employees at that level who have submitted information to generate what is displayed on Glassdoor.

For example, Glassdoor claims that in Malaysia, a senior associate in audit at PricewaterhouseCoopers earns an average of RM52,905 a year, although it can range from RM40,000 to RM70,000 a year.

This works out to RM4,221 a month, but at that level, salaries can range from RM3,300 to RM5,000. It also shows that the average senior associate at PwC gets a bonus of about RM8,000 a year.

Apart from salaries and bonuses, there are options for reviewers to disclose their stock bonus and profit-sharing, if applicable.


Over the last 12 years, PayScale.com has been gathering and evaluating data on job market compensation. Unlike Glassdoor, PayScale does not just rely on reviews. There is a methodology to it.

PayScale starts with its salary survey for people who are weighing up a job offer, evaluating their current salary or researching other jobs.

Data from each survey is cleansed, analysed and run through its MarketMatch algorithm to make compensation predictions for individuals based on different factors. The data-crunching capabilities and salary survey reports are what makes PayScale such a useful resource for jobseekers.

This survey saves you the trouble of browsing through lots of salary listings. But it does take a good 15 minutes to answer several questions about your current earnings, what your role entails, how many people you manage, the employee benefits and leave days entitled and your qualifications.

PayScale promises that its salary report compares your pay cheque with that of other people with similar education, skills and experience. It will tell you exactly where you stand on the scale and advise you on how to move up the ranks, perhaps by moving to another city or gunning for a promotion or personal improvement.

Beware, though. This survey only works if you are having a job that other people are likely to have. Otherwise, you will come to the end of the survey with no report shown.

This article first appeared in #edGY, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 13 - 19, 2014.