Malaysian CROs worst off in survey of five countries

Money, dollars, cash

The top chief risk officers (CRO) in Hong Kong earned more than their counterparts in other Asian countries last year.

The 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide found that the best paid chief risk officers in Hong Kong earned $HK2,000,000 ($US304,000) in 2015.

The guide surveyed more than 3,000 employers in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and Japan, representing six million employees as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles.

Malaysian chief risk officers were the worst off of the group, earning an average of $MYR324,000 ($75,000).

This could negatively effect the progression of risk management as a recognised profession in the country, said Sterling Risk chief operating officer Zalina Jaflus.

“Not many organisations in Malaysia even have a CRO position in their structure,” she said.

“[There is a] lack of recognition of the importance of this discipline to be in the c-suite. Hence, I am not surprised if the current salary for those organisations with CROs pay comparatively lower than other countries in this region.

“This leads to one of the top risks in 2015: failure to attract and retain talented workforce, including good risk managers or potential CROs.”

A risk manager from a Malaysia-based development firm added that it was important to consider how CROs in Malaysia compared to other senior management positions.

“In the worst case scenario, it may show that Malaysian companies do not see value in risk management,” she said.

It’s not all bad news, however.

Most Malaysian firms, alongside those in Singapore and in Hong Kong, are planning pay increases for their employees of between 3%-6% this year according to the survey.

Chinese CROs are set to enjoy the largest salary boosts this year, with some 60% of employers in the country planning to increase salaries by 6%-10%.

In Singapore, only 11% of firms plan to increase salaries by the same amount.

Hays Asia managing director Christine Wright said: “We will see some tension this year between employers taking a cautious approach to salaries to help navigate economic conditions in [Asia] more generally and candidates hungry for advancement.

“Employers are telling us they expect skills shortages to be a challenge this year and while this will only add to salary pressures we expect most employers to still keep salaries in check. To fill shortages, Singapore’s employers will need to focus more attention on other strategies such as developing their pipeline of female talent and remaining open to recruiting from overseas.”

The survey also found that pay is the key reason that most candidates (43%) start job hunting.