Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Exhausted...

I am exhausted. I must share here what I have been saying to everyone who asks me how I find working in Malaysia, having worked overseas for so long. My response,"Malaysians work too hard!"

And if I may add, for a pittance. Malaysian pay still ranks among the lowest in Asia on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis and probably the lowest among executives of equivalent economies. I had read somewhere that despite this, KL was seen as one of the hardest working cities in the world. I could only witness it more plainly and indeed experience it over the last 7 months since I've been back. Certainly our pay to work ratio is too small...

I expressed a belief before that this low pay, which I suspect is due to the low benchmark due to relatively low exec pay rates at GLCs and of course the public sectors, is one of the key reasons for our country's 'brain drain', especially of mid-level execs between 5-15 years of experience. Well, the economic crisis has come around, so perhaps companies, especially GLCs, should consider boosting pay with a Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) in leu of actual pay hikes?

Certainly GLC deposits in GLC banks aren't getting interesting returns and are probably placing added risks to said banks due to shortage of good borrowers these days! And why should GLCs pay staff higher now, when even the global job market is awash with newly jobless high-quality recruits? Well, how else are you going to get these high quality people back, let alone stem an exodus of our best brains especially when their local pay is too low!

I risk repeating myself... I'm too exhausted...

8 comments:

whackthembugger said...

Money is not everything especially at the earlier part of one’s career. I started in my career in practice practice to gain the necessary exposure and experience earning less than half the pay of my friend who at the same time worked with a state agency and not even fully qualified. 41/2 years later, after changing jobs twice (and leaps in salary), I applied for loan/ scholarship to do my Masters and was told by the interviews that they were perplexed that I would sacrifice my high pay job to do the program. I was unhappy then about my professional career. Finishing my masters, I changed career and over the years and with further exposure, invaluable experience and prospect,I was ahead of my peers. Money was not the key factor that drove me in my career but instead I was driven by career development and of course happiness at what I am doing. I became happy with my achievements (not without several ups and downs) and rewards without comparing with others including my peers. Of course I had faith and patience believing that ‘someone up there’ is always watching my well being. If you are not happy with your job, better change but not after you have gained the much valuable experience that you can regard yourself as a professional and the next one offers more prospects. My wife would say ‘buat sembahyang istiharah’ I hope my little life story will assist you in your predicaments.

A M Ubaidah S said...

whackthem...... Thanks for your comments, but fyi, I have been working for 11+ years now and am certainly out of the 'early career bracket' and into mid-career. And whilst it's true money isn't everything, it is the main reason workers work, for livelihood so one may pursue one's real life, however much one wishes to espouse the joys and benefits of work...

My expression yesterday was not just of my personal view of working life in Malaysia, but was benchmarked against my overseas experience (in one occassion, gained for less money than was offered by some local options), then reflected against what I understood where Malaysia was on the pay to work ratio regionally, somewhere at the bottom...

This has to change, and this is when the economy needs such change...

Gekko said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A M Ubaidah S said...

gekko. Sorry, but had to delete you as you were off topic. Happy for you to comment the same at a more relevant posting.

Baharudin said...

Salam Akram,
I felt that way too (you know, having to leave house after fajr to avoid the back-breaking jams and coming back, literally crawling for another couple of hours), until I made the decision to accept a job as a researcher in Saudi early last year. And to my surprise we have >50 Malaysian families next door (and its growing with more than 30 more coming Q1 next year) in Saudi Aramco who made that same decision 1-8 years ago, moving from Petronas, Shell, Exxon, etc... I'm sure more and more Malaysian professionals are making same decision... brain drain? unpatriotic? Heck, the gomen is NOT doing anything about it... just same ol' lip service, as they always do over upteen years! Now we have more and more "Panglima Awangs" going global!

Tze Khong said...

young man ... some short term prescription fr doktor jiwa:
1) try sleeping later and not blog at 4 in the morning
2) i'll pick u up saturday morning 7.30am for a jog to build up yr fitness level

Deal?

kluangman said...

Berusaha lah menang sebagai Exco Pemuda dan dilantik mengetuai biro biro tertentu, ikut di belakang Hishammudin, belajar dari KJ, dalam usia 32 sudah menjadi jutawan.

Anda sudah berada di jalan yang betul..

Selamat Bertanding.

wankongyew said...

It seems a little facile to criticize the issue of low wages in Malaysia. Who's fault is that, really? Comparing pay across countries isn't really meaningful. What would be interesting would be to compare productivity.

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