Overall, the ratio of wages between the top earners and the lowest earners revealed that the highest wage group received over five times the wage compared to the lowest wage group.
Malaysia's formal sector saw a growth of 5.5% year-on-year in its median monthly wages at the end of the third quarter of 2023. According to the Employee Wages Statistic report, it registered a total of RM2,600.
Overall, the number of citizen employees in the formal sector also grew by 1.3% to record 6.68mn persons in September 2023, compared to the same month in the previous year.
A breakdown of the demographic for a better understanding is as follows:
- Male formal employees accounted for more than half of the total (55.4%, or 3.70mn) in September 2023.
- Female formal employees represented 44.6% of the total formal employees (2.98mn persons).
Male formal employees received median monthly wages of RM2,645 (a 5.8% y-o-y increase), while female formal employees earned median monthly wages of RM2,518.
- Formal employees aged 25 to 29 made up 19.9% of the total formal employees in September 2023, or 1.33mn persons; and
- Those aged 65 years and above generated the least number of formal employees with 0.10mn persons or 1.5%.
The highest median monthly went to those aged 45 to 49 years old, amounting to RM3,500. This age group also maintained the highest median monthly wages in July 2023 (RM3,482) and August 2023 (RM3,500). On the other end, the age group that received the lowest median monthly wages of RM1,500 included those below 20 years old, remaining stagnant for three consecutive months throughout Q3 2023.
By sector, median monthly wages witnessed a positive growth across all sectors, with the highest median monthly wages noted in the mining & quarrying sector at RM5,200 in September 2023. This sector also recorded the highest year-on-year growth of 16.5%.
Meanwhile, the lowest median monthly wages were recorded in the agriculture sector, which comprised 1.9% of the total formal employees. Despite this, this was still a 6.3% year-on-year increase in September 2023, at RM1,982.
The data was further broken down by state.
Chief Statistician Malaysia, Dr. Mohd Uzir Mahidin shared: "All states indicated positive year-on-year growth in terms of the median monthly wages. Three states surpassed the national median monthly wages of RM2,600 in September 2023, with W.P. Kuala Lumpur recording the highest median monthly wages at RM3,800, followed by Selangor at RM2,900 and Pulau Pinang at RM2,645.
"In contrast, Kelantan, Perlis and Sabah showed the lowest median monthly wages during the same period, each registering figures of RM1,600, RM1,627 and RM1,800 respectively."
Looking at wage distribution, 4.6% of Malaysian formal employees earned below RM2,000. This marks a decrease from 38.1% recorded in the previous year. Concurrently, approximately 7.5% of formal employees earned monthly wages of RM10,000 and above in September 2023.
As a whole, the 10th percentile of formal employees earned wages equal to or less than RM1,500 per month. However, this group experienced a notable monthly wage increase of 10% compared to the same month in the previous year (September 2022: RM1,364).
Overall, the ratio of wages between the top earners in the 90th percentile and the lowest earners in the 10th percentile revealed that the highest wage group received over five times the wage compared to the lowest wage group.
Lead image / Department of Statistics Malaysia