Colony CEO Timothy Tiah offers fresh grads RM3K salary so they can live comfortably in KL

Image adapted from: Digital News Asia and Colony

The average fresh grad salary for Malaysians is said to be about RM2,500. Some could be earning even less. How do graduates make ends meet while trying to be financially independent then? With bills to pay – the bulk of them presumably petrol and student loans – it surely isn’t easy these days. 

Image credit: Ringgit Plus

So it’s a big win for jobseekers when a company takes the time to consider problems Malaysian young adults face. Co-working space provider Colony is one of them, having decided to offer fresh grads a minimum starting pay of RM3,000, regardless of their roles.

Colony is a co-working space

You’ve probably heard of co-working spaces by now: They break away from conventional offices as they’re often modelled after avant-garde workplaces like Google and Buzzfeed. You won’t find cramped cubicles among the “hip” amenities co-working spaces offer, such as nap rooms, gyms, and snack bars.

While other co-working spaces seek to provide fun, community-based spaces to target young startups, Colony has designed super atas workspaces that feels like 5-star hotels.

An elegant meeting room with floral accent walls at Colony Mutiara Damansara
Image credit: Colony

A library-style working space at Colony Star Boulevard, KLCC
Image credit: Colony

RM3K fresh grad salary concept inspired by a graduate who skipped meals

According to Vulcan Post, it all started when CEO of Colony Timothy Tiah had a conversation with a colleague, who revealed she had to skip meals because her RM2,500 salary just wasn’t enough for the big city, especially since her family doesn’t live in KL.

Tiah then did a calculation of his own and came to a stark realisation that it was true. One can barely manage to survive in KL with a RM2,500 salary especially if you have education loans, bills and rent to pay off. At the end of the month, there’s really not much left from their earnings to save in the long run. 

It was this conversation that inspired Tiah to implement the RM3,000 minimum wage for all entry-level positions in his company.   

Ensuring employees’ happiness

Tiah told Vulcan Post that he believes people will do their best work if they earn enough to take care of their basic expenses. So when employees are free of financial worries, they can start hustling at work with a clear mind. There won’t be instances where employees have no choice but to skip lunch and go half a day on an empty stomach, like what Tiah’s colleague had resorted to.

With RM3,000, not only do Colony employees have an impressive starting salary, they also have a whole career progression path set out for them by the company. Employees will get fixed increments that ranges from 15% to 25%. 

A couple of other benefits that Colony offers are company laptops, gym memberships, a snack bar where you can wish-list your cravings, and even birthday leave so that you won’t have to pull a Cinderella and leave early on your big night. 

The happy team at Colony
Image credit: Colony

More companies should follow suit

Many have publicly debated that the current average fresh grad salary does not match with today’s rocketing cost of living. Case in point, a tweet from a fellow Malaysian who aptly pointed out inflation rates over the years.

Image credit: @InjangNation

The tweet in Malay can be translated as:

So, 19 years ago a plate of fried rice cost RM1.50 – RM2.00 and the average salary was RM1500 – 2000. Now a plate of fried rice costs RM5 – RM6.50, so the average salary should be RM5000 – 6500 right? I don’t know if i’m dumb at mathematics but I think only prices of things are increasing while salaries are still the same as the past.

We’re sure fresh grads everywhere would want more companies to follow Colony’s lead in providing a working environment that is appropriate for this day and age. Here’s to seeing a better market for Malaysian jobseekers in the near future!

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