According to Karen Long, director for Malaysian operations for Kapient, a recruitment firm specializing in the technology, banking and finance sectors: "An annual salary of RM150,000 (US$39,473) ten years ago, would have gotten a company an experienced sales manager but nowadays you have to pay double that amount for someone to fill that position."
"Salaries for skilled technology people have remained consistent and have even risen during slow economic times," she told a press briefing on Tuesday.
Long said a fresh graduate joining an IT firm can now ask for a monthly salary of RM2,000 (US$526) during the good times, compared to about RM1,300 (US$342) 10 years ago.
Kapient was formed in October 2000 by a merger between DP Search, an IT recruitment firm with offices in Malaysia and Singapore, and KPMG Executive Search Singapore, the recruitment arm of KPMG Singapore.
Kapient's chief executive officer Rosemary Chisholm said judging from past economic cycles in the IT sector, there were not too many drastic dips in salary guides.
"In fact we did see an increase in salaries since 1998 ... employers are getting selective about who they hire but they are not shying away from paying top dollars for the right person," she added.
Long also said Kapient has a curriculum vitae (CV) repository containing 10,000 pre-screened, highly qualified ICT personnel in the technology and management levels in Malaysia alone.
"We keep in touch with them and as such, we know where the skilled people are and when they are available."
And what are the factors that attract people to the IT marketplace? Chisholm said people with dynamic skill sets are usually drawn to this sector as it is constantly changing.
"The second reason is sheer pay of course," she added.
Asked about the profitability of the business, Chisholm declined to give any numbers but added that Kapient is already slightly profitable as it was formed by two already profitable companies.