By Gil Tenorio
Many Filipinos dream of working abroad because of the promise of earning a high salary; even if it means separation from their family and loved ones for a long period of time. I had never thought that I would work abroad; it was never my plan or dream to work in a foreign land. I grew up with my father working in Saudi and I can say that there are advantages and disadvantages to being an OFW.
Lack of a decent job or employment is the number one reason why many Filipinos are now working abroad, away from their families. There are some good and bad effects of this scenario in our society. Based on studies, there is a higher probability of separation between husband and wife if one of the spouses is working abroad. I think you can see it in your own neighborhood and the community you’re living in. Despite these problems, still there are many Pinoys who want to take the risk and work abroad to get a higher salary or a decent employment.
Popular and In-demand Jobs Abroad
Maybe you’re wondering which jobs are the most in-demand by employers outside the Philippines. This list is based purely on what I read in other blogs and on my experience meeting people who worked abroad in the past.
Probably construction workers are the number one in demand jobs abroad especially in the Middle East countries. Since the 1980s, there are many Filipinos who work there as construction workers to build houses, offices and factories. My father worked in Saudi when I was in elementary and his job was a plumber for a construction company.
Filipinos are hardworking and adaptable to their current environment, characterstics that foreign employers are looking for. I know it’s very hard to work in construction because I experienced it when I was in high school and college. I used to work with my father in the construction of residential houses and business establishments.
If you have skills such as carpentry or plumbing, you can apply and easily get employed because there are many who are hiring for this kind of job. The only difficult thing when applying for a job abroad is the processing of documents like passport, visa and other papers you need to prepare to fulfill requirements of the POEA and immigration.
I’m an engineer and working in a shipbuilding company in South Korea, where there are also many foreign workers. In our company, there are only a few engineers who work primarily in engineering, design and business marketing. Other people work as welders, pipe fitters, electricians, painters, grinders, scaffolders and other jobs related to shipbuilding. Usually, the in-demand engineers abroad are mechanical, electrical, civil, chemical and computer engineers.
In the Philippines, I believe we have enough number of engineers who can work abroad and locally. Since there are many industries and factories where they can work, engineers will continue to be one of the most in-demand jobs outside the Philippines.
According to the study, this year 2011, the number of seamen around the world will hit 400,000. Filipino seamen are everywhere and almost in every ship around the globe. One contributing factor for this scenario is the fact that Filipinos accept a lower salary compared to their Western counterparts. I wish our seamen will get a higher salary in the future because they are hardworking and competent in their jobs. They also need to learn financial literacy and personal finance so they can multiply their hard-earned money and return to the Philippines with enough savings and investments.
Medical workers include nurses, physical therapists, doctors, pharmacists and other jobs related to health care. In the early 2000s, there was a high demand for health care or medical workers, which is why, many students took up nursing and physical therapy and that resulted to oversupply of graduates from these fields.
Today, we can see the effects of this situation – there are many graduates without jobs locally. As a consequence, they look for jobs abroad which can give better benefits and compensation. I hope the government can create a program that will ensure employment for our nurses and health care professionals because many people are also suffering due to lack of doctors and nurses in remote places of our country.
Information technology (IT) is rapidly developing these days and many companies need employees to cope up with the increased demand from clients and customers around the world. Because of this condition, many IT companies hire foreign workers that have the ability and competency as the locals. Filipino IT professionals are not be left behind compared with other nationalities. They perform better when given the opportunity to excel in the field they are working in.
Domestic helpers have one of the most difficult jobs among OFWs since they are working for longer hours and the compensation is lower than other jobs. Also, there are many reported cases of maltreatment and abuse from their employers among DH in other countries especially in Middle East countries where many DH are concentrated.
Despite these facts, there are still many Filipinos wanting to work abroad as DH because of lack of employment in the Philippines. I think the government should create a plan to encourage more investors to do business in the Philippines. Tourism will also contribute in creating employment for the locals if we have a good marketing to foreigners. We should also build modern airports, increase our security and peace and order to encourage more foreign tourists to visit the Philippines.
There are lots of manufacturing companies and factories abroad that needs foreign workers to add to their workforce. Most of them are concentrated in Asia like Japan, Korean and Singapore. In the Philippines, we also have many factories and manufacturing firms so Filipinos have the skills and technical know-how. Normally, OFW are hired and work in electronics industry, garments, automotive and the like.
Last but not the least, entertainers are one of the in demand jobs abroad. These include singers, dancers and bands that perform in hotels, restaurants, clubs and other entertainment shows outside the Philippines. We know that many Filipinos are talented in singing or dancing. Most of them can easily learn the language their currently residing. They are friendly and also hardworking.
Gil Tenorio is an OFW and the blogger behind Financial Management Blog (FMB) at learnfinancialeducation.com, a free source of information on financial education that is focused on saving, investing and making money.