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Philippines – Trends

Dornet Venturanza, Reloc8 Asia Pacific Group’s Philippines partner, shares the trends in Expatriate Assignments in the Philippines.

The constantly growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO industry in the Philippines has turned Manila into a major player in terms of delivering offshore tech or information services.

In 2011, the Philippines surpassed India to become the top call center BPO destination in the world. Growth of the call center industry in the Philippines can be written up to the lower operational and labor costs relative to the US. This is helped by the high proficiency in spoken American­‐style English and idioms (Philippines was a former US colony and English is the language of instruction in schools), a constant stream of college-­educated applicants, and a highly skilled and an overall motivated workforce among a host of other tangible outsourcing benefits. Filipinos are easier to train and they possess flexibility to learn different accents of the English language.

Filipinos welcome new ideas and perspectives and are open in adapting them. Labor cost in­‐country is inexpensive, however, the quality of labor is not being compromised.

As a result of this, flourishing businesses in the country including manufacturing sector steady growth, more expatriates are assigned in the Philippines and increasing tremendously whether on short term assignment or long term assignment. The relative increase of nationalities being relocated suggests that a variety of nationalities all over the world are now considering accepting assignments in the Philippines. This is primarily due to the good image of Philippines projects to the global community as a country because of its stable economy, strong currency and relatively secured peace and order situation. The increase in the number of expats alone in their Philippine assignments shows signs of cost-cutting among companies. They are trying to minimize costs of housing allowance of assignees and eliminate schooling fees for the assignee’s dependents. However this trend in expatriate assignments might also be attributed to the type of flourishing industries in the country wherein this kind of work is popular and common among single individuals and it is likely that the group will be younger, between the ages of 25 to 45.

The critical aspect that a local Philippine DSP should focus on is the housing requirements of these assignees. Since most of them are alone during their assignment, their budget will be smaller.

The DSP should orient them with condominium units and residential areas appropriate for their lifestyle and requirements. Most expatriates also prefer newish and modern housing units which will be available in the new area like The Fort, Global City and Central Business District (CBD) in Makati City.

For expatriates with family, International Schools are starting to become a major concern in view of the fact that there are only three (3) major International Schools in Metropolitan Manila. There’s a long wait list for expat children depending on the nationality, ages and grade level.

Security reports from the international media are a major concern for expatriates assigned in the Philippines. However, the issues that have been referred to in the reports are those that are happening in some parts of Mindanao, the southernmost region of the country. Metro Manila particularly Makati City, the central business and commerce district of the Philippines is free from such security threats. This, together with the stability of the country’s economy, makes it safe and secure to establish business in the Philippines and send expatriates here in the country.

With the Philippines new tourism campaign, IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES, expatriates also find it easy to settle in the Philippines as seen in a holistic perspective, from the continuing urbanization of the Philippines to the warm and welcoming nature of the Filipinos.