MEF warns wage transparency could 'discourage qualified candidates'

'Is our society prepared for this level of openness?'

MEF warns wage transparency could 'discourage qualified candidates'

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has expressed its disagreement with wage transparency as it claimed that doing so could deter qualified candidates and worsen employee dissatisfaction, according to reports.

The New Straits Times reported last week remarks from MEF president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman who argued against wage transparency on job ads amid a recent proposal advocating for it.

"At the end of interviews, salary expectations are typically inquired about. Including a specific number in the job ad might discourage qualified candidates who could otherwise merit higher pay," Syed Hussain said as quoted by the NST.

According to the MEF president, not having pay ranges on job advertisements will also allow these qualified candidates to justify their salary expectations based on their experience and skill sets.

"This is why employers prefer to keep it open. Discuss, negotiate, and justify," he said as quoted by the news outlet.

Higher dissatisfaction

Syed Hussain also questioned whether Malaysians are prepared for a Wage Transparency Law.

"Are Malaysians comfortable with the people around them, their neighbours, and others knowing their salaries?" he said. "Is our society prepared for this level of openness?"

The MEF president noted that wage transparency previously carried out by multinational organisations only placed unnecessary stress on employees.

It also hiked dissatisfaction as comparisons of compensation packages among employees in the same position took place.

Pay transparency in Malaysia

Pay transparency has been gaining momentum across workplaces across the world. In neighbouring Singapore, 35% of employers on employment website Indeed are now including salaries on job ads.

In Malaysia, the Muar member of parliament Syed Saddiq Syed Abd Rahman previously proposed the introduction of the Wage Transparency Act.

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress has also been advocating for the introduction of a Wage Transparency Act to ensure no employees are oppressed on wages, the NST reported.

But private companies are already carrying out annual market research that assess employee and worker remuneration expectations, according to Syed Hussain.

This ensures the alignment between what employees want in terms of wages and what employers offer, he added.

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