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  • Writer's pictureShaun Looi

The 20% salary benchmark is dead

If you are a software engineer in Malaysia, ask for more!

“The maximum that we can offer you is 20% from your current salary”

For many of us that have gone through the process of a job search in Malaysia, you might have encountered the mythical 20% rule. This is a rule that we’ve come across time and time again like this, and this.

A bit of Background

When I started working as a recruiter, we were taught to advise candidates to expect a 15% to 20% increment. It used to work then, when employers held the bargaining chip. With the market transitioning to that of an employee market, the tide has changed, particularly in the Malaysian software engineering space.

In Q1 2022, almost 30% of TRIIIO candidates were able to negotiate for a 50% increment or higher, with the highest increment being 86%.

So then, how do you capitalize on the biggest wage boom in decades?

1. Have a figure in mind.

Instead of working on a percentage, have a figure in mind. Start by researching the market for the salary. You can find data from Glassdoor or even ask the friendly Developer Kaki community. If you still don’t know how much you are worth in this market. Talk to a TRIIIO consultant today!

2. Create leverage.

Your goal before accepting an offer is to get as many offers as possible. This will allow you to first know how much the market values you, then, with multiple offers on the table, you will be able to enter negotiations more confidently. The average TRIIIO candidate receives 3 to 4 offers before making a decision.

3. Be patient

Similar to creating leverage, you have to be patient. Try not to take the first offer immediately. We recommend that you have an internal timeline in your mind, so if you do not get a better offer by a certain time, you can proceed to make the final decision.

There you have it! If you are a Software Engineer in Malaysia, this is perhaps one of the best times to look for an opportunity. There are so many companies out there that are hiring at the moment who are working on meaningful projects, using cool technologies and are willing to pay for the right talent.

Good luck in your search!


TRIIIO is a Malaysian recruitment firm focused on partnering with companies to find and recruit top talent and build their Software Engineering teams. For more information on how we can help you recruit Software Engineers in this candidate tight market, visit our service page. is a curated job board lovingly created by us at TRIIIO Recruitment to make your job search easier! Visit and start searching for Software Engineering jobs today!


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