There are millions of Filipinos abroad, across all continents (except Antartica, of course!). Our Overseas Filipino Worker (OFWs) are known for bringing in revenue for the country, effectively shielding the country from the worst of the backlash of the world economic recession and even pushing the Philippines as an emerging “Tiger Economy of Asia”. Our OFWs are, in other words, our saving grace.
There are several reasons why Filipinos are preferred by foreign employers.
1. Filipinos are able to adapt to different cultures easily. Thanks to our history of ties with different cultures, we are a little bit of everything. If you go around a mall, you will see that food served vary from Asian to Mediterranean to Western. We watch films from different countries and not just our own. And the fact that there is the internet means that we make friends not just with our countrymen but of other countries’. This makes it easier for Filipinos to adapt to both culture and environment of their foreign employers.
2. Filipinos have relatively good English proficiency. English is the language of trade. Even those from non-English speaking countries appreciate the Filipino’s communication skill. This ability is one of the major reasons why employers from other countries – English-communicating or otherwise – put preference on Filipinos. Regardless of the level of education, employers can be sure that the Filipino worker is able to communicate with their colleagues and supervisors. English proficiency is also much easier to develop because of an almost life-long exposure to the language. Also, because Filipinos are relatively proficient to the language, learning how things are done in that specific country would not be much trouble. For instance, Filipino nurses who wish to practice in Australia would need to undergo a bridging course. Because are able to understand the medium of instruction, their progress to be a nurse in Australia would be faster and more cost effective. Employers who sponsor the bridging course for foreign nurses would most likely prefer Filipinos for this reason.
3. Most Filipinos are dedicated to their jobs. We always hear of stories of Filipinos going beyond the call of duty – nurses extending extra hours to take care of patients, domestic helpers and nannies loving their charge like their own kids. This is something that foreign employers appreciate.
We can say that in some aspects, Filipinos are a cut above the rest. Let us remember, though, that at the end of the day, employment opportunities and a better future are achieved with diligence, skill, and a little bit of luck.