Call Center Jobs for Americans in the Philippines
I thought I was finished with this subject for a little while … just wrote a fairly comprehensive article a few days back:
But I’ve said many times before, sometimes this blog pretty well writes itself. Here’s an absolutely great comment I received from a reader a couple days back. It’s well worth a read and I’ve added a few clarifying comments marked in blue.
The Best Time To Get a Call Center Job May Be Before You Move to the Philippines
Philly, I would concur with your advice. Call Center management work needs to be initiated from the employer in most cases like you said.
However I know a handful of foreigners that have made careers here moving from company to company and have the Philippines as their permanent residence. It is rare though.
As you said, generally speaking there must be a demonstrated need for a foreigner to get a job here, and usually such jobs are on a limited contractual basis for x number of years.
In the call center industry however there is an exception (sometimes) that allows for up to a tiny percent of management to be foreigners.
Generally such people though have a specialty skill set such as training, language development, workforce, client relations, advanced IT or compliance.
As more and more Filipino management become capable in these areas though the demand decreases.
A couple years ago I attended a “Family Day” picnic event at the (a major, international BPO company) where one of my nieces works. Touring some of the office spaces I noticed a large display of all the company management staff, from the president of the Manila division down to first and second line supervisors. About 200 odd people in total.
The display listed all their nationalities, basic university CV’s etc.
A quick perusal showed me about 10 or 15 US citizens, about 8 or 10 Canadians, a few Australians, perhaps 25 or 30 Filipinos and the vast majority of the remainder where Indians, Singaporeans and Chinese.
And the list of the university degrees was mind-boggling. Dozens had PhD’s and many listed even more advanced education.
If you think the major skill you bring to the table is being a native English speaker, better reevaluate your expectations. This is big business done by high-end corporations.
If You’re Married to a Filipina
In the case of a person married to a Filipina and living in here there might be some additional opportunity if they are willing to work at the Filipino pay scale.
But those are rare exceptions to the rule.
Best to find a company that is willing to hire on a multi year contract and with which you are management compatible.
The call center industry can be quite fickle and unpredictable.
Training skills and the ability to train Filipinos not to speak English but to be “Accent Neutral” is always a need, but often can be done by Filipinos who have lived and worked overseas.
Some chance for work but not much.
You Likely Won’t Be Getting American Pay.
Being married would be a plus if willing to work the Filipino Management pay scale.
But again, it is just a matter of “falling into” the right situation.
Getting a contract here with a foreign based company is the best way to get your foot in the door and get known.
Who you know does matter.
Once established it may be easier to to get a long term gig.
The demand for limited foreigner management is primarily that they are more training and education oriented and less dictatorial in their style. Hence popular with employees.
That pattern is changing however as more and more Filipinos learn the Foreigner methods of management.
But it varies dramatically by company.
Finding a compatible long term company can be harder then finding a job.
Best is to get a US, Australian or other company to bring you in for a couple of years and then to demonstrate excellence in your role.
And you must be excellent.
I think this is the most important point. A lot of Americans write to me abut jobs here in the Philippines with no specific skill or purpose in mind. They often say something like, “Well if worse comes to worst, I suppose I can always get a call center job.”
Bzzzt. Wrong answer and attitude, maybe caused by the US impression of call center work as being a step above “bottom feeder” jobs. Sorry to have to tell you guys this, but that’s NOT the way things work here in the Philippines. Call Center jobs in the Philippines are highly sought after work for educated, young and ambitious people. Better wear you “big boy” pany=ts and be prepared to compte if you think a BPO/Call Center job is for you.
One other thing many Americans don’t seem to realize … the vast majority of call center agents here have 4 year degrees or better. Even for Filipino applicants there’s virtually no chance of even getting to the first stage of interviewing without AT LEAST two years of college, and often 26 or 28 years of age is the naximum age that will even make it into the selection process.
Unlike the USA, age discrimination is not only legal here in the Philippines, it’s ingrained into the way of life.
Thanks gain to me excellent, helpful readers and is there anything else I can tell you about:
Call Center Jobs for Americans in the Philippines.