As employers in the U.S. and Europe tighten their belts, the best place for Filipino IT workers right now may be home.
“All the jobs are now here… Salaries (and) packages have become very competitive. I don’t see any reason why kids should still leave the country and find work abroad,” said Gina Duminy, president of technology jobs recruitment website ITProsAsia.com.
“The greener pastures they are looking for are actually here.”
The numbers back Duminy’s claim. Entry-level call center agents in the Philippines make more than their counterparts in India, bringing home US$300 instead of $US250. According to data from CBS Interactive, an IT manager with less than five years of experience makes an average of P270,922 per year (P22,577 a month) while a project manager gets P334,854 (P27,905 a month).
People in other industries such as Systems Development (P282,375 per year), Communications (P241,459 per year), Support (P197,453 per year) and Administration (P286,143 per year) make roughly the same amount, with figures rising incrementally according to experience.
Developing countries provide more opportunities
While salaries for Filipino employees remain a fraction of the average earnings in developed countries, there are considerations other than gross income.
Duminy says that workers who migrate to countries like the U.S. have to grapple with a higher cost of living. She adds that developing nations like the Philippines provide more opportunities for IT workers.
RJ, who works for an offshore publishing company, earns P30,000 a month in a middle management position. He asked Yahoo! to withhold his last name and the name of the company he works for. He says that he would work abroad if the opportunity presents itself. However, he says that having to pursue further training is a deterrent. “Masyadong hassle. Kailangan mo pa kasi i-upgrade yung sarili mo.”
Demand surpasses supply
Duminy says that employers are very particular with the skills they want from their new hires. “It’s like ordering at McDonald’s,” she says. Employers often request specific characteristics such as proficiency in certain tools and industry experience. This has led to a shortage of worthy candidates.
“The demand really surpasses the supply. The available workers are not enough to support the business,” Duminy said, adding that Filipinos are the preferred choice compared to Indian workers because of their adaptability to the American language and way of life.
Large companies like JPMorgan Chase and AT&T have set up shop in the Philippines, and more are expected to follow. “Why look outside when they’re all here?” Duminy said.