There are many reasons why Filipinos work abroad. Whether it’s their first choice or just forced to do so. Leaving the country means detachment from family members and being contented with long distance calls, SMS or instant messaging conversations. It also means depriving oneself of guiding children and watch them grow. Missing favorite TV shows, going to family hangouts on weekends and many other things are sacrificed in exchanges of life abroad. ” Then why do they do it?”
- Low salary offered by local companies: The single biggest reason why Filipinos are willing to go abroad for work is the generally low salary offered by employers in the Philippines. Even jobs that are sought after and in demand in certain parts of the world like nurses, engineers and teachers are paid poorly. No wonder many would prefer to work abroad as domestic helpers or office clerks and leave their teaching jobs because they’ll get paid higher overseas.
- Unstable economic situation: There is a longstanding lack of confidence in the government’s effort to secure a better future for its citizens may have driven many Filipinos to seek employment overseas. Corruption, gross inefficiency in government functions, relatively high tax rate, and no sound fiscal policy has put a damper on hopes of an ambitious Filipino, who now thinks the grass is greener elsewhere but home.
- High unemployment rate: Perennial high unemployment rate has been a chronic problem in a country that produces almost a million college graduates on courses that are deemed popular but whose demand is on decline. Fresh graduates join the labor force, thereby increasing the competition for jobs available.
- Contractual employment arrangement: The high unemployment rate in the country brings due advantage to employers who simply hire people on contractual basis. From mall sales ladies to fast food servers, the practice is widespread in the country. This brings a great deal of job insecurity for those who are employed under such conditions. Filipinos inherently don’t mind receiving basic salary, as long as there is security of tenure. However, such type of work arrangement is hard to find for many sectors, knowing that the supply of workers always outstrip the demand for their services.
- Poor benefits: Local employers prefer to contractual employees because it is easier to let go of them and — a labor loophole in the country — no health benefits and accident insurance coverage necessary. High unemployment rate ensures a steady flow of applicants, no matter how lame the job offer is. Such unfair situation keeps employers happy almost all the time.
- OFWs are now more pampered: Believe it or not, OFWs are now covered by better protection, offered advantages (hotel offers only valid to OFWs, special lanes for overseas workers at airport and discounted health insurance premiums to name a few) in addition to being heralded as the nation’s new breed of heroes. Heroes in the coffers of the country, pumping in billions worth of remittance dollars.
- It’s not so lonely to go abroad anymore: Before, going overseas is like sentencing oneself into exile into a hostile land. No friends around, will need to deal with unfamiliar language, weather and food. But now times have changed, many overseas Filipino communities have mushroomed all over the world: Tokyo, Barcelona, Sydney, Dubai, Singapore, New York and more. Cultural programs, tours of Filipino entertainers have brought the overseas Filipino workers closer to home. Not to mention the cheaper long distance rates and availability of the web to communicate with loved ones.
- Discrimination in job hiring: This is a sad fact that local job applicants have to deal with. Again this has something to do with the glut of available workers willing to get paid lower salaries and not enjoy benefits and paid holidays. Employers tend to pick the “best” candidates but they’re not necessarily the most qualified for the jobs. They are usually those aged between 21 and 30, graduates of schools like University of the Philippines or Ateneo de Manila, and are at least five foot tall for women, even if the job nature don’t require them. The process leaves qualified but overage applicants in the dark and decide to go… abroad!