Publication: Manila Monitor
Help Rev Up Philippines
Rebecca Bustamante, President
have long held to the belief that working anywhere outside the Philippines
was a better career option than working within.
In the past, there were good
reason for this. In countries like the US, there were more jobs and the pay
was better. Career advancement was said to be more dependent on performance
rather than favoritism.
The result had been one of the
greatness movements of workers in any nation in world history. Even today, a
steady stream of Filipino professionals leave the Philippines for work
elsewhere and few return.
Few, that was until recently. A
reversal of the long-term trend could be felt and seen. Career-minded
professionals have started weighing options of working abroad. More often,
they have opted to stay in the Philippines.
Likewise, many are considering
to return to the home country. A turning point in the
Philippine history could be said to be within sight. A major reason for the change
has to do with an expanding number and range of employment opportunities in
Income levels are rising and
chances of advancement are numerous. People with overseas
professional experience tend to benefit most.
To understand the change, one
has just to look at a couple of key industries. The fastest growing industry
from an employment perspective is clearly Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
From almost zero jobs a few years ago, there is now some 300,000 people
working in the industry.
The Philippines is said to be
the fastest growing BPO destination in the world today.
This growth opportunity has resulted in unrivaled opportunities for
management professionals. Hundreds of experienced managers
are required monthly for this sector that is growing at 10,000 new employees
Semiconductors and electronics
may not promote itself as well as the BPO industry, but it is growing at
double-digit rates and providing 60 percent of the country`s export
earnings. This is significant, given that a short time ago everyone thought the
industry would move to China. Recently, Texas Instruments
chose the Philippines for a new billion-dollar plant, the largest single
foreign investment in the history of the nation.
Other sectors like mining are
attracting interest from the worlds premier organizations. Typical projects of these
companies are $1 billion in size and include tremendous benefits since they
build roads, hospitals and school, in addition to providing jobs for
thousand of people. One Canadian company has plans
to build a $3 billion refinery that will be possible the largest in the
Given that the entire direct
investment for all of the Philippines is just $1.1 billion as of year so
ago, this is a tremendous turn around. It all speaks well of the
country`s near-term future for employment and business opportunities.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
has been making steady progress at improving the country. Gone are the regular mass
protest and coup attempts. Instead, Filipinos are getting
used to a strengthening peso and trade surplus. Even the country's fiscal
deficit seems on track to disappear over the next few years.
Leaders or multinational
companies in Asia have come to notice these positive changes at a time when
other countries are not looking quite as interesting as they did way back.
Thailand's recent military coup
has been disastrous for foreign investment. Other countries such as Vietnam
and Indonesia are said to be over-invested and China has lost some of its
India, the main alternative for
BPO services, is rapidly pricing itself out of the market. Given the alternatives, the
situations in the Philippines looks downright appealing. But the Philippines has a less
than stellar track record in political stability. Nevertheless, the phrase
``sustainable growth`` is being heard about the Philippines for the first
time in a long time.
Call for return
Further Philippine industrial
growth needs the brains and expertise of experienced professionals. Those who went abroad have left
holes in the middle and senior management ranks. The best option is to attract
Filipinos with international experienced back to Philippines.
(Rebecca Bustamante returned
to the Philippines from Canada seven years ago. She is President of Chalre
Associates, a search firm focused on senior management position for
the article above
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