Day after day they come … and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they do … people searching for information about Jobs For Americans in the Philippines.
Although I Am NOT About Finding a Job Here, More About Making a Living
Often they ask me about finding a job in a call center here in the Philippines. After all:
- The market here is heavily, very heavily English-oriented. (and most of my readers are native English speakers)
- There’s little technical or academic perquisites for the typical call agent’s job.
- It’s no secret there are thousands and thousands of openings every month
- Pay and benefits, in Filipino terms are not bad … certainly better than trying to sell pineapples off a cart on the street.
But there are some hurdles that many Americans need to consider:
- Having normal English skills is an advantage … but it doesn’t make you unique
- Foreigners are a big liability for many companies. In paperwork and benefits demands alone, the bias is normally going to be towards qualified Filipinos. Taking on employees in this country is much more expensive and restricted than the same issues in the USA.
- Most Americans who contact me are not prepared to apply for a job as a street sweeper.
- They don’t have resume’s ready to send out,
- They can’t express any specific skills or interests they can bring to the table,
- They seem to think that “needing a job” is a qualification.
Folks, “needing a job” is not a qualification, it’s a liability … you’re “needy” and let’s face it, personally or business-wise, who wants to deal with a “needy” person.
Instead of Telling an Employer You NEED a Job, How About Telling Something You Have Done?
What can you bring to a prospective employer’s bottom line? What experience do you have in helping a business earn, rather than just being another guy who stands in the pay line every two weeks expecting his sweldo (oh you didn’t know what “sweldo” meant? See what I mean?)
Some Thoughts From An Experienced Reader
My friend Mike is a regular reader here and he’s also a foreigner (US) who has landed a good “foreigner job here in the Philippines”. A job far, far above the call center agent level I might add.
Here’s a few snippets from a conversation Mike and I have been having about Americans working here in the Philippines and their chances of find good one. Thanks, Mike.
I agree with you that if you hire in as a local hire at a call center you’re unlikely to rise into middle or upper management. I suspect that it’s tough to avoid being stereotyped as a worker bee. You probably know better than I do that class distinctions and perception can be a big deal here, more so than in the US.
This is a big deal here, fellows and gals. In the USA who your father is, what work he does, what high school or college you went to, etc. is seldom even considered. In the Philippines it can be a big deal. A Really Big Deal.
Also cost cutting is the name of the game, and Americans have a reputation for being expensive unless they are on local scale. Whether you are willing to work for less or not, again that may be a tough perception to shake.
Most Americans are not going to be able to do what it takes to live on Filipino wages. But even if you are one of the rare ones who can and will di so, there’s a huge chance no Filipino hiring official is going to believe that you are. They’ll pass you buy in a heartbeat to hire a Filipino who may, in your onion, be less qualified, but in their opinion … which is the only one that counts … will not cause them any “trouble” and hard feelings.
I saw very much the same thing that you have during my 25-odd years working in high-tech in the US. I definitely see a big difference between now and when I started. Back then the focus was mostly on whether you could do the job or not. Now every hiring manager has a huge stack of resumes of people who are qualified at least on paper, so they look at things like degrees just to cut down the stack. I have a friend who is quite capable but only a high school graduate that has been underemployed or unemployed for several years since being laid off from Intel.
I think that as you said in your post, and as you, I, Bob Martin, and others have said many times, the best way to find a job in the Philippines is to import or create your own job
My friend Mike, who is an American living in the Philippines with a good expat job, writes often about Jobs For Americans in the Philippines. I thought it would be illuminating to highlight a recent conversation we had on this subject. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, I’ll make my point here, first. The degree of success you are going to have in finding a job here in the Philippines, as a foreigner, has a LOT to do with your qualifications, both academic and technical.
One of the things I’d like to steer people to are ways to find foreign companies located in the Philippines, so that they might then identify potential job targets of opportunity. The Chambers of Commerce I have come across are hopeless, and many companies apparently don’t want to advertise their foreign presence … wonder why? 😉
One thing many Americans in particular may have an issue with is the level of skills as well as educational background that their fellow foreigners bring to the table.
One of my nieces works for a big call center/BPO provider and while I was visiting there I saw a big list on the wall of all their management people, including a little ‘capsule CV’ as well as their countries of origin.
There are a lot of foreigners in management with that firm, but a large majority are from India … the US representation on the list was about 10%. And based on what my nieces have told me … I have insight into three big companies through them … the Americans often don’t rise above trainer and trainer/supervisory levels.
They’re hired for their accent, but they all wind up working for Indians, Brits, Singaporeans and Chinese. You Are Not “Special” because you are an American.
Jobs For Americans in the Philippines — Aren’t Americans Always First?
I think a big problem is that as a country we Americans don’t realize how times have changed. When I started in government service 50-odd years ago, a degree in anything was totally unnecessary.
When I finally retired in 2003, a major reason I left was because I had been passed over three times in three years for supervisory jobs that were not ever going to be open to me again … and my bosses even told me, straight out, the law dies not require a degree for these jobs (yet), but senior leadership has directed that we don’t fill them with anyone not holding a 4 year degree. End of discussion.
The funny part is, I’m not upset about it, I very likely was not as good a prospect for any of those three jobs as the folks they picked … all of whom had bachelor degrees and two of whom were well along working on their masters.
The world is a changing and many of us, especially guys like me in the “target market” age range for moving to the Philippines have had our head in the sand and not kept up with the times.
So what are your thoughts on Jobs For Americans in the Philippines