For Tenants

Can Fresh Graduates Afford the Living Cost in KL?

Are you a fresh graduate who is wondering how much will your first salary be and whether it is enough for you to move into the big city of Kuala Lumpur? Or perhaps you are a student trying to figure out which major should you take in university in order to get the highest paying salary for fresh graduates?

Although the minimum wage for fresh graduates in Malaysia has increased to RM1,950 – RM2,836 according to the database in “Jobstreet 2019 Salary Report“, many people still think that it is below the estimated living wage in KL. The huge influx of expatriates who choose relocate to Malaysia has exponentially increased the cost of living here. You will be able to find expat communities of retirees and digital nomads in all the larger cities.

How Much Can You Earn?

So, will a fresh graduate be able to afford the living wage in KL on his/her own? Before that, let me explain the meaning of these terms. A minimum wage is the lowest wage permitted by law. Let us see look at these tables below which show the minimum salary for fresh graduates based on industries:

How Much Is The Living Cost?

Whereas, according to Wikipedia, a living wage or cost of living is “the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs”. Basic needs include food, housing, and other essential needs like clothing. The purpose of this is to allow employees to earn enough income for a satisfactory standard of living. Below is a comparison table that shows the cost of living in the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur and in the city-centre:

Based on the chart above, we can calculate that the minimum cost of living for a single person living in a studio apartment in Kuala Lumpur city-centre is at least RM3,240. However, the minimum cost of living for a single person living in a studio apartment in the outskirts of KL is at best RM2,397. Even though experts have said that the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is cheaper than in 67% of cities in Asia and 73% of cities in the World, our low minimum wage especially for people with no qualifications have made it really hard for Malaysian citizens to afford the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur. This is because the amount that you pay for rent is a huge factor in determining your overall cost of living. The lesser the amount of rent, the lesser your cost of living. So my advice is to not overspend on your rent no matter how wonderful that place sounds. You can calculate how much you should be spending on your rental using our rent affordability calculator. Alternatively, you can rent the place with a roommate if personal space isn’t as important to you so you can both share the cost of rental. Make sure that your landlord knows about it, though!

Considering the tables that we have shown you above, you should have a clear idea on whether it is suitable for a fresh graduate to move to Kuala Lumpur. Do you think that our estimated starting salary for fresh graduates is accurate? Comment down below and tell us what you think!


One thought on “Can Fresh Graduates Afford the Living Cost in KL?

  • No fresh graduate will ever dream living in a studio apartment. There are very few studio apartment in KL anyway and literally non existent outside of KL. Most fresh grads rent a room. Which they can easily find between 500-600. And which restaurant cost 16-20 ringgit? Only high end restaurant charge that type of price. You can easily get an RM 10 meal in majority of Malaysian restaurant. A RM 2500 is enough and maybe u can save a little bit if you are really frugal. Its always better if salary goes up though. I hope with the economy at full employment, wages can go up faster.


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