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As a generalisation, many people look forward to promotions because of the increase in pay. Other factors that many of us would desire in a promotion are an increased job scope, more experiences and also the opportunity to learn new things.

However, based on a report released by Jobstreet, “Employers [in Malaysia] are challenged by their constriction to dish out increments.” 

Tellingly, the rate of people voluntarily leaving jobs in Malaysia—at 13% in 2016—are quite high for the region.

It’s not that Malaysians aren’t getting “promoted”.

49.6% were promoted without benefits, but when there is an increment, the average increase is by about 17%.

90% of the Malaysians surveyed by Jobstreet reported added responsibilities, and 85% reported an expanded job scope.

Only 60% got job grade increases, and when it came to formal promotions, the number dropped down to 43% (formal promotions were defined as a title or level change plus additional compensation and benefits).

Number of promotion indicators, versus actual promotion / Image Credit: Jobstreet

As you can imagine, it’s this disparity that causes Malaysians some dissatisfaction in their job promotions.

Increments aren’t happening fast enough for most Malaysian employees, and increased job responsibilities don’t pay the bills right now, even if they carry the promise of increments in the future.

Another factor?

It takes longer to get promoted than most Malaysians think. 

Pictured: You.

Most Malaysian employees in the survey think that it’ll take them around 30 months to get that sweet, sweet promotion.

The truth is, it takes closer to 35 months for that promotion to come (and remember, promotions don’t necessarily translate to increments).

So what’s going on here? 

Apparently, a lot of Malaysian bosses don’t have very solid promotions plans in mind for their staff.

And because of this, employees may perceive that as a lack of care towards them, which pushes them to leave the company, particularly those who haven’t been promoted yet.

Malaysian employees also feel like there’s a lot of unfairness in who gets promoted in a company—more-so than other nations in the same survey.

“There is room for improvement with communicating promotion policies and transparency,” said the Jobstreet survey.

“Candidates who are not promoted showed a stronger willingness to leave their company. Those promoted record a neutral sentiment on affinity and loyalty to their company.”

And that’s all important for the employers, but here’s what this means for employees. 

Millennials are known as a generation of job-hoppers, but even with that, millennials generally stayed at their jobs for 4.6 years.

So here’re some active steps you can take get that promotion somewhere in your future.

1. Ask for clarification about your career progression.

Image Credit: Jobstreet

If you thinking of threatening your boss with a resignation to get them to promote you, the survey on Jobstreet tells us that this only works 9% of the time.

However, when it comes to career progression, instead of waiting and hoping that the topic might be brought up, ask about it during that crucial first interview.

  • Ask about a promotion roadmap. What can you expect in the future of this job?
  • Find out if this roadmap is flexible, or if there are options for you to move laterally, if that’s what you’re looking for (but don’t act too gung-ho about this, as it might show your boss that you’re just going in this job as an entry point for another department).

If you’re already hired, all hope isn’t lost.

You can, and should have a sit-down with your immediate higher-ups to discuss your future in the company. When you do this, you’re making your boss put time and thought into your career progression, if they hadn’t before.

2. Be very aware of your immediate superior. 

In the same Jobstreet survey, both superiors and employees tended to agree about the factors that led to the promotion in Malaysia.

They were in unison except for this:

Influencers for promotion in Malaysia.

The survey shows that Malaysians under-rank the importance of the immediate supervisor when gunning for that promotion.

No matter how much you play nice with the guys right on top, they’ll still want the opinion of your immediate supervisor or the people working closest with you, about how you’ve been doing.

And you might not be getting rejected for the obvious reasons either.

In some cases, when you work too effectively for your immediate supervisor, they might torpedo your promotion because they can’t risk losing you.

If you take too much responsibility, and even swipe some of your boss’s job, the department would crash and burn without you—so your boss will just never let you leave.

3. Work on your soft skills. 

Image Credit: Jobstreet

Maybe you can do your job really well, but you’re not getting that much-touted promotion. This might have something to do with your soft-skills.

Maybe you can work really well as an employee—but are you thinking like a higher-up? Are you thinking in the long-run, or are you just looking at things daily?

You can do own your job, but if your boss disappeared that day and passed you their job, can you do that as well as yours, skills-wise?

Or, have you shown to your boss that you can lead a team, if a team is given to you?

Be really honest with yourself here. After all, if an employer without the resources to hire talent discovers that they have the talent growing under their noses the entire time, you’ve just become a valuable asset to the company.


In the end though, a promotion is a two-way street. You could be the best employee with gregarious leadership abilities, and have a career progression plan mapped out to your sunset years. But if employers don’t have plans for employee retention, then your promotion plan means nothing.

Jobstreet has their own suggestions for employers looking for talent.

Image Credit: Jobstreet

So for employers who feel the crunch about hiring good employees, then there’s some value in ensuring that they develop the talent that they do have, instead of having to hire new ones all the time.

Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock


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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)