A job postings for full-time graduate research assistants at Universiti Sains Malaysia have surfaced with a shocking minimum salary of just RM650 which is lower from Malaysia’s minimum wage of RM1,200.
The job description requires at least a bachelor’s degree in biomedicine, molecular biology, medicine, dentistry, or any other related subjects plus a minimum CGPA of 3.0.
RM650 for a full time job is also quite illegal, as the minimum wage in Malaysia is now RM1,200. Usually, jobs with higher requirements in terms of education and skills should pay more as well, but it’s well-documented that our fresh graduates are just barely making more than the minimum.
Netizens were quick to shake their heads at the low wage provided, which spawned a larger conversation about how the sciences are under-appreciated in Malaysia.
Some noted that this is a short-term grant, which usually serves as opportunities for young researchers to start off small.
In the USA, the average hourly rate for a graduate research assistant is about $19, while the minimum wage there is $10/hour. For such a role in academia which requires higher education, the hourly wage is almost doubled.
Not the norm
Luckily, it seems that this job listing for USM is not the norm for graduate research assistants. Other open job listings at local universities for the same graduate research assistant position start their offers from RM1,400 to RM1,800. Some even provide more than RM2,000 for the job.
Research grants are usually provided by institutions, and not all grants are made equal. More popular research topics are given larger grants, which can also mean a better salary for the researchers.