Filipino labour force not up to par: Philippines ready to host foreign workers

The Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is reportedly considering opening the country to foreign workers. A list of occupations for which there is a “shortage” of local people qualified to fill has been released by the DOLE…

Architect
Chemical Engineer
Chemist
Environmental Planner
Fisheries Technologist
Geologist – Geophysicist, petrogeochemist, petrophysicist, micropaleontologist, engineering geologist
Guidance Counselor
Librarian (licensed)
Medical Technologist
Sanitary Engineer
Computer Numerical Control Machinist
Assembly Technician (Servo-actuator/ Valve)
Test Technician
Pilot
Aircraft Mechanic

According to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, it may be time “to liberalize the labor market and allow entry of foreign workers with the required skills so we can fill up those hard to fill occupations due to shortage.”

The DOLE chief explained that an occupation can be considered to be experiencing shortage when there is a high demand for the position but there are very few applicants, or when there are few qualified applicants compared to the number of available jobs.

“This is common in occupations which are numerically small within the total workforce, but the function is central to company operations such as pilot and geologist,” Baldoz said.

“Since there is a shortage, these occupations can be opened potentially to foreign skilled workers,” she added.

Talent sinkhole: 'Outsourcing' firms suck in the Philippines' best and brightest.
Talent sinkhole: ‘Outsourcing’ firms suck in the Philippines’ best and brightest.
All this, amazingly, in a country burdened by a severely-idled workforce and a population of 100 million largely dependent on foreign remittances to prop up more than 10 percent of its economy. But then is it really just a matter of employing the vast pool of unemployed Filipinos sitting around drinking beer in the nation’s corner stores?

Not really.

Most of the jobs in the DOLE list are jobs that require highly-skilled professionals that require huge sums of money to educate in the STEM fields (i.e. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). As such, in a country renowned for its pwede-na-yan philosophy, skills, are not a bright feature of the local labour force. Those who do possess such marketable skills are sucked up by the overseas labour market where these professionals are more highly-valued, as measured by the big salaries awaiting them there.

And whatever talented graduates the few good universities in the Philippines turn out who are willing to stay in the country are soaked up by the nation’s growing carpet of call centre and ‘business process outsourcing’ (BPO) firms which dangle offers they simply can’t refuse. Suffice to say, an immense pool of talented Filipino graduates who could’ve gone on to invent that longer-lasting light bulb and make billions for the Philippine economy are now languishing in little cubicles talking to whiny Australians about the latest iPhone plan in exchange for enough money to fund their latte and smartphone habits.

So tough luck. Commies like Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairperson of the leftist group Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1 Movement) can stomp around all they want crying bloody murder over alien workers “stealing” jobs from the hapless Filipino. There are deeper causes for the chronic idleness that has characterised Philippine labour for decades that simply cannot be solved by the idiotic notion of “creating jobs”.

[Photo courtesy PlanetPhilippines.com.]

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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65 Comments on "Filipino labour force not up to par: Philippines ready to host foreign workers"

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joeld
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Many years back, as an engineer working for a large japanese electronics in the Philippines, I chose not to leave the Philippines. Well that was the idealistic me. It was all shattered to pieces when back during those days, electronics and semiconductor industries suddenly found themselves on shaky ground and I woke up one morning to find myself unemployed, even with job seeking months before. I couldn’t even get myself hired as a mall manager because I didn’t have the “right experience” even with me highlighting how I can be an asset in the said position, and so it became… Read more »
libertas
Guest
Innovation creates jobs, and in the absence of home-grown talent, any external help should be utilised, particularly in the sunrise sectors. That is assuming there would be any demand from overseas, where such people are already highly prized and highly paid. The strategic issue is to create, and retain, locally. India had a similar problem where only 5% of those who studied abroad for science % technology degrees returned to india. In recent years they have not only reversed that trend but are becoming a rising star in technology and research related fields with the accompanying benefit of new higher… Read more »
Dirch
Guest

This feels like a bit of good news to me. Means companies are growing or new ones are being put up. But some of the positions in the list puzzle me. Guidance counsellor, Librarian and Sanitary Engineers? We lack janitors? Really? Everyone in Phils. want office jobs now?

janitor
Guest

sanitary engineers are not janitors. Like wow, like wow. I’m speechless.

David
Guest
I am British, and moved to the Philippines from Hong Kong in May 2001, with a Filipina I met there. After my divorce was finalised, we married in June 2002 and I obtained 13A Visa in November of that year. I was Engineering Manager – Asia Pacific, earning US$85,000pa, but effectively retired early in Cebu Philippines. I was obtaining good income from Peso Time Deposits in Rural Banks. That is until the Monetary Board closed all 12 Banks of the Legacy Group in December 2008. It took the PDIC from 6 months to 22 months to pay out the Insured… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest

And this just illustrates how foreign workers will receive even LESS protection under Philippine law. How does the DOLE expect to attract foreign workers under these conditions?

Aegis-Judex
Guest

Hell, the Constitution even sticks it sideways to foreign professionals.

Sanzo
Guest
Even if they try to sugacoat everything else, that won’t stand a chance unless someone is dumb enough to bite the bait. The only thing that laws protect around here are the ones that can pay the law to protect them. Those that can’t pay are relegated. Speaking of that…anyone read this? http://www.heritage.org/index/country/philippines Perfect description of our Rule of Law… “Corruption and cronyism are rife in business and government, with a few dozen leading families holding an outsized share of wealth and political power. Judicial independence has traditionally been strong, but the rule of law is generally weak. A culture… Read more »
bluedestiny
Guest

They don’t… they’re probably thinking: We’ll worry about it when it happens to someone important enough

MumbaY
Guest

Do you want to teach Russians/Chinese online?

You can make USD 2K a month online.

Give me an email to send info. to, if so, please.

John
Guest

Hi MumbaY, I’m interested in your teaching offer.

Send me some info on xexo26@yahoo.com.ph

Johnny Saint
Guest
Good news? Please! This is ludicrous! In 1986, Cory Aquino presided over the passage of a constitution that effectively bars the easy entrance of foreign direct direct investment into the Philippines. Then proceeds to craft an onerous regulatory framework that prevents locals from easily starting new businesses and limits market participation to the established oligarchy. Those companies that remain open are eventually taxed to death and local entrepreneurs are unable to turn a profit unless they participate in the black market. Instead of encouraging innovation or fostering a competitive business climate, the Philippine government tells “heroic” professionals (like joeld) to… Read more »
Richarddr1234
Guest

When I saw this on the news, I was shocked as well. To my mind, aside from a large nuber of talented and educated Filipinos languishing in call centers, there are many more holding professional jobs abroad. Indeed, many Filipino teachers, nurses, doctors, scientists now reside abroad. The song “walang natira” by gloc9 and sheng belmonte immediately comes to mind. Haha

libertas
Guest
“Oligarchy is the politics of wealth defense by materially endowed actors.” Jeffrey winters The 20 or so families which control the political agenda, economic direction/progress, and social culture through the media have only one objective – grow the pie but make sure others only have the crumbs – and avoid direct foreign competition at all costs. Economic liberalisation, and inclusive growth cannot occur under the current system, and the political will is to ensure that the status quo is maintained whilst hypocritically preaching change/reform. A country run by a criminal elite, greedy politicians, and incompetent bureaucrats has no desire to… Read more »
Jetlag807
Guest
I’ll re-post this from a comment I made on the same story from ANC… “This comment is for the multitude of people who will be against this “possible” adjustment in the law… Oh! So its OK for you guys to go to the US (my home country) and work but its not OK to allow that same courtesy here in the Philippines? As a ‘foreigner’ who possess skills and experience very few Filipinos have, I am all for this policy.” That being said, this policy shows the lack of forethought in the Philippine Education System. Who would have thought that… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest
No one should have any illusions that a trade war — in either goods or services — is the best way to conduct foreign policy. It’s not even sound economic policy. — We should also be aware that the United States is not unfamiliar with protectionist policies. Early in the 20th century, President Hoover passed the “Buy American Act.” America’s trading partners retaliated and US exports dropped by 64 percent. Unemployment rose above 20 percent. The last two US presidents enacted their own protectionist policies. Pres. George W. Bush raised tariffs on imported steel. Pres. Obama included a “Buy American”… Read more »
Jetlag807
Guest
@Johnny We’re (per the article) not talking about Marco Economic Trade Policies are we. We’re talking about jobs. However, the so-called “protectionist policies” of the US notwithstanding; we have and still do open our domestic job market to qualified foreigners in order to fill positions that otherwise would remain vacant due to a limited pool. The Information Technology sector (in the US) has benefited greatly from this.It should be noted that this policy has not, for the most part, met any resistance from the US population in general. Our belief is simple; if you have a needed skill and are… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest
Jetlag807, As I stated in my other posts, the problem here has always been poor policy planning by the Philippine government whether it be on a macro level or job creation. The shortage of skilled labour decried by the DOLE is a direct, if unintended, consequence of those policies. I’m a firm believer that we benefit more from free trade, whether in goods or services. I have no problem with foreign companies or workers setting up shop legally in the Philippines. And any moves by either the US or the Philippines that create even the perception of protectionism makes our… Read more »
macoyski
Guest

ok so they are opening up to skilled foreign workers. and if the hiring companies can give these expats huge amount of salaries (plus allowances to boot), why can’t these companies give the same value to an equally-skilled Filipino professional so the Filipino doesn’t have to leave for overseas?

joeld
Guest

The people form DOLE do not have a clue why a company would prefer hiring a relatively young, inexperienced (3 years work experience to me is “inexperienced” in my field of discipline) guy against an OFW proven old chap.

joeld
Guest

The thing is, filipino professionals are up to par, and yes, they exist, and there is no shortage of such professionals.

The question is, could the Philippines even make it worth their time? Well, if they could, then these professionals would still be in the Philippines.

Sanzo
Guest

Last time I saw one, he told me he was just taking a vacation here and he’ll be back in Australia in a few weeks to go back to work. I asked him if he plans on staying here, and he told me no..actually hell no.

The smarter ones who were able to get out of this country were better off.

libertas
Guest

The cost of a western manager level expat in singapore is close to 500,000 us$ per annum. ( 20+ million pesos)
Salary plus 20% overseas uplift
Taxes/overheads
Accomodation
Car
Childrens private schoolings
Return flights home
Miscell. expenses.

filipinos are not up to this level of capability, otherwise they would be rapidly employed at high level in singapore with significant cost savings.

g2b
Guest

what no label of capability? are you not aware of rose
osang fostanes, the filipina who recently won x factor?

Johnny Saint
Guest

I’m certain as to what YOUR “LABEL” should be.

libertas
Guest

am sure the job offers from mckinseys and j p morgan israel will be flooding in. karaoke at corporate events. a new career beckons.
shalom

joeld
Guest

So can the x-factor winner be an aircraft technician? Or at least at the same LEVEL to complete globally?

Talk about twisted minds….

Johnny Derp
Guest

*facepalms*

Look, if you’re gonna join in the comments here, make your post at least an intelligent post not something that’s not related to the topic here.

Besides, your post fails the So What? question.

Sanzo
Guest

And then what? Does it have anything to do with the labour force or does it even have anything to do with the topic?

17Sphynx17
Guest

Question, regarding this supposed “shortage”, is it for government related jobs or does it reflect as well with private enterprise?

I am just curious where the shortage supposedly is.

Johnny Saint
Guest

It’s a shortage in the labor force for workers with highly technical skills.

Sanzo
Guest

I think this means both government and private sector. The problem with having those highly technical skills is that most of them are being groomed for working abroad and not locally.

Johnny Saint
Guest

This government doesn’t hire people with technical know-how or we would have had a contractor for the MRT maintenance by now. Instead they fill technical positions with…lawyers.

Sanzo
Guest

Well that’s the problem..they solve problems with another problem. No wonder the holes sink in even deeper and I could not fathom how deep the problem has been.

Johnny Saint
Guest

In a speech to the IBP last year, Budget Secretary Butch Abad said it was government’s “technical deficiency” that was to blame as to why our infra projects are stalled. He admitted we don’t have the local expertise in these areas. (So it’s not something new; they actually acknowledge that the bureaucracy is populated with incompetents.)

That’s a lame excuse for failure. We have local experts in transportation and communications. But the way the Aquino government handles its projects makes you think they simply do not trust what is homegrown.

ChinoF
Member

I once thought it would be a good idea to remove those limits on professional jobs. But under today’s context, it seems off. Seems to me jobs are actually the ones lacking. As in, jobs that pay enough. They say workers with skills are lacking, probably because they’re all going abroad where they get that sufficient pay.

Sanzo
Guest
There is a lot mismatch with what the employers require for their prospect employees. That’s where training goes in, the problem is the cost now I know there is TESDA but sometimes even having that isn’t enough especially with IT courses that need more in-depth training and development. Jobs may seem to be the ones lacking but there’s a lot more jobseekers compared to jobs..I’ve been through a lot of job fairs back then..red tape still seems to exist since there are some who have been hired on the spot because of someone’s recommendation. One of the things I got… Read more »
joeld
Guest

Well, I do not know how the government plans to give jobs to the next batch of graduates this coming March, or do they even care?

Sanzo
Guest

They don’t care. The irony of this was during my graduation..one of the speakers was a well-known congressman in the south. And he said in a depressing voice that as much as he’d like to congratulate us for graduating he’s saying a lot of negatives with regards to the job market..and our batch suffered that.

When I took up freelance, that was me saying F U to the system. Anyway, it’s all behind me now..

Johnny Saint
Guest
Chino, That’s exactly the kind of populist thinking that got us into this mess in the first place. The conventional wisdom was that local industries need to be protected. The unintended consequence of this policy was that our trading partners bypassed Philippine businesses and invested in our neighbors. Malacañang celebrates the forecast of up to US$4 billion in FDI over the coming year. Meanwhile up to US$80 billion has been invested in Vietnam. It has meant fewer business opportunities at home and consequently fewer (higher paying) jobs. And even fewer opportunities to develop local industries. With no jobs available the… Read more »
Sanzo
Guest

And with that no wonder we can see the country here -> http://www.heritage.org/index/country/philippines

Aegis-Judex
Guest

And talent follows money.

Nils
Guest

Another half-baked baked plan to provide damage control over the country’s brain drain problem. DOLE should come to their senses and demand the lawmakers up at the government to revise labor and business regulations to be more open and competitive. That’s what every self aware nation in Southeast Asia is doing nowadays and look at them now. Nope, all this would shake up the crooked oligarchs too much from their lofty mansions and those same people also run the country. As things are now, it’s a hopeless case.

Sanzo
Guest
I doubt that foreign workers would like to work here, unless there’d be some kind of an increase with the payment scale, the bs requirements that everyone has to take imagine them lining up for a freaking NBI clearance at 1:00 AM anyway I just don’t see it. Filipinos leave for abroad because it’s obvious, you can’t live and support a family with minimum wage with all those gimmicks they call bills, taxes, and all the other things you need to make it through the day. I applaud those who chose to stay behind but eventually they are also thinking… Read more »
MumbaY
Guest

Russians would not mind working in the PH. Also, Indians, because the rupee is now 60 to the dollar.

Sanzo
Guest

Well that would depend though for as long as the crappy system(that protectionist thing going on) here remains the same we can’t really expect them to be here.

Toinks
Guest

You can be sure that the Philippines would attract foreign workers when they open the floodgates..just not from Western countries.

We’ll be seeing a lot of Africans like Kenyans and Nigerians as well as Indians who will use the Philippines as a stepping stone to gain experience to get employment in other countries (Singapore, Malaysia, UK, Australia, etc).

Sanzo
Guest
Most likely. I’ve been seeing a lot of them here studying in schools, marrying into the populace but some of them have been involved with illegal activities which has been documented over the years. Yes..that’s the same thing that is happening in Singapore..people are just using the PR status or even the citizenship to get ahead and move on to bigger pastures. It is no wonder why the locals there call the foreigners “FT or foreign trash” instead of Foreign Talent that their government calls. The difference with that place and here though is they are a progressive nation unlike… Read more »
MumbaY
Guest

Hey, it works both ways- 10 million Filipinos ” stealing” jobs from natives of other countries; time to pay the piper and let some “banyaga” “steal” Filipino jobs, too.

In all fairness, most Filipinos treat foreign workers very well and are happy foreigners work there. But salaries are still small by Western standards. Even those big ones for foreigners. And work permits are expensive.

David
Guest
As I am Permanent Resident with a 13A Visa and an ACR I-Card, I am exempt from having to obtain an AEP (Alien Employment Permit). Hopwever shoud l be offered Full Time employment on a permanent basis, I would need an ‘Employment Certificate’, I understand. I applied for a Job with ‘Sykes’ (Call Center) and the take home pay for the 1st 6 months would only have been Php17K. To ‘Westerners’ this sounds pretty low, as under USD500 per month. But that figure is after Income Tax, SSS (Pension), and Pagibig deductions. Other Call Centers, such as ‘Convergys’ for example,… Read more »
Zorak
Guest

David, the minimum wage is 327 per day not per hour. It’s actually far worse than what you thought.

David
Guest

@ Zorak
“David, the minimum wage is 327 per day not per hour. It’s actually far worse than what you thought.”

Yeh, my step-daughter said that would be the daily rate, not hourly (that most countries quote minimum wage in)!

UK National minimum wage
The rates below apply from 1 October 2013 and are likely to change again on 1 October 2014

Category of worker Hourly rate (1 Oct 2013)
Aged 21 and above £6.31

GBP6.31 = PHP465.45

MumbaY
Guest

Two more fields not mentioned:

1) Native English teachers. Yes, call centers need native trainers and most native speakers who looked for work in the PH, found jobs. There are even classes to be given at regular companies on how to speak proper English. Salaries for native speakers are in the Php 35-50K per month.
2) Foreign language specialists- call centers and other companies look for natives in Spanish, Russian, Malay, etc. They pay Php 60-70K.

MumbaY
Guest

It is a shame that the extremely nationalistic, dictatorial Communist China, Communist Vietnam and even fanatically hermit-like Saudi Arabia have doors wide open to foreign investors and foreign workers.

And a highly cosmopolitan PH does not.

Hyden Toro
Guest
A country that exports the brains of its own, that would be needed for its development; is now opening its door to replenish what is lost. Skilled and talented foreign workers from other countries; usually go to the: U.S., Canada, European counties,Middle Eastern countries, etc…where the exchange rate or pay is higher. These high skilled professionals are offered: perks, immediate citizenship, bonuses, housings,etc…even yearly paid vacations… I am sure they will not work in a country with backward technology. Something wrong with the way we educate people. Programs from the Department of Education do not respond to the needs for… Read more »
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