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Malaysia Salary Question

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by ss529, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. ss529

    ss529 New commenter

    Hello everybody,

    I have been offered an interview as a HOD at an International School in Kuala Lumpur and the monthly salary and HOD allowance seem to be low to me. The remuneration is based on 5 years of completed years of experience:

    • Two year contract, renewable by mutual agreement
    • Malaysia Ringgit (RM) 10,282 a month
    • Head of Department allowance: RM500
    • Housing allowance RM 3,000 a month
    • Employer pension contribution of the equivalent of 12% of your gross annual salary to the Government Employee Provident Fund (EPF). This is a form of compulsory savings that can be withdrawn when the employee ceases their employment in Malaysia. You as the employee would need to commit 11% of your salary each month. In effect you are saving 23% of your annual salary each year. This accumulates between 5-6% interest compounding each year.
    • Group Personal accident Insurance & Group Hospitalisation and Surgical Insurance
    • Education for dependent children enrolled
    • Annual return airfare to the UK
    • Relocation allowance (reimbursement basis) of up to RM3,000
    To what extent would it be common for someone to negotiate their salary if they are offered a position at such a school?

    I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the above if you have any experience of working at an international school in Malaysia.

    Thak you in advance.
  2. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    You accidentally included the name of the school in your post. Edit immediately as not only is it against the rules on the forum but if the school saw it I'm sure they'd be able to identify you immediately.

    As for the package - I wouldn't take it, but then again I'm sure there are people on less
    mermy likes this.
  3. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    I wouldn’t take it either but there are plenty of expats, teachers and others, who live extremely well and save on that or similar. I doubt negotiation is in order as that package is very clearly defined. The housing allowance is adequate, you get annual flights (rare in international schools in Malaysia), the EPF is decent forced saving and the salary isn’t terrible.
  4. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    It's on the low side and there are definitely better offers available in KL. There are definitely worse offers too! Kemevez is right - you can live well on that package.
    The question for you is whether to hold out for something better from another school, because it's doubtful you'll be able to negotiate with this one. Are you highly experienced, with great references and several previous international postings? Or are you on the early side of your career and looking to build your resume?
  5. TheComputingTeacher

    TheComputingTeacher New commenter

    Thats a poor offer. I was offered something very similar and I'm not a HoD and have less experience than you. For being a Hod and having 5 years experience that is very low. The housing is reasonable but does not make up for the low low salary. You need to consider TAX too, which is quite high. I would negotiate.
  6. adrixargentina

    adrixargentina Occasional commenter

    Is that after tax?? Most hods in the UK will be on Ups plus TLR1. That's around £50k gross at least.
  7. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    The salary is obviously after tax.....well at least I sincerely hope so.

    This chain of schools seem to be a little like the Chinese 'bilingual' schools. They don't even seem to have enough non-local students to place at the front of website photos so that would be another consideration if you're taking children. Will they be able to fit in OK if they're the only non-Malaysian in the class?
  8. ss529

    ss529 New commenter

    Thanks for letting me know. I edited the post.
  9. ss529

    ss529 New commenter

    Thank you for your insight. I am currently in my third year of teaching. I have progressed quickly and I am a HOD at a top independent school in London but I am looking to move on as I am only on a one year maternity cover contract. I don't have any international experience.

    I am thinking about proceeding with the interview and then trying to negotiate if I get a job offer assuming that I don't have another job offer by then. I am very relaxed as it is early in the recruitment cycle.
  10. ss529

    ss529 New commenter

    Thank you. I a HOD only in my third year of teaching but they have stated that an offer would be based on having 5 years of experience according to their scale.
  11. ss529

    ss529 New commenter

    It's before tax. Tax is 15%
  12. bobbingtoncrescent

    bobbingtoncrescent New commenter

    That is not a good salary for before tax, especially for an HoD position.
  13. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    You've got nothing to lose by interviewing and seeing what happens. You'll at least have a bit more interview experience
  14. amariB

    amariB New commenter

    You say tax is 15%. Has this been confirmed by your employer? From my understanding, tax for this income bracket is 24%. For the first 6 months you will be taxed as a non-resident which is 28%, although you get the extra back eventually. Worth checking.
  15. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Get the interview first. Then the job. Then start formulating your negotiating skills.

    $0.02 worth: The salary you described was my net. Without any international experience nor any added responsibilities. 6 years experience.
  16. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Tax is gradual, so different parts of your salary are taxed at different rates. You need to consider the effective rate, not the highest rate you'll be paying on only a small piece of your total salary. There are websites that can do the calculation for you.
  17. ss529

    ss529 New commenter

    Thank you everyone for your advice.
  18. adrixargentina

    adrixargentina Occasional commenter

    Did you do the interview in the end?
  19. ss529

    ss529 New commenter

    Yes. The salary was non negotiable. The Head said that it was because the school charge lower fees to students than other schools in Malaysia as the school is marketed towards middle class local people rather than rich expats. The school was not at all for me anyway for various reasons e.g. no A-levels in my subject.
    adrixargentina likes this.
  20. Ryanj1991

    Ryanj1991 New commenter

    I worked in Johor for 5 years. Salary was 10.5k with 1 year experience.

    After your first 6 months, you'll have around RM1k taken as tax.

    First 6 months they will take 26% flat rate... So that's might make thing a bit hard.

    In KL, I'd expect much much more

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