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Is Hiring Virtual Assistants From The Philippines Economic Development?

Since the first time someone worked virtually from their home computer, new work opportunities have transcended borders and opened up global pathways for millions of workers. The Philippines, a hub of skilled, college-educated professionals, is leading the charge in one such avenue—virtual assistants and virtual talents like marketing professionals, website designers, and e-commerce specialists. This growing industry is creating lucrative opportunities for Filipino workers, while also presenting businesses worldwide with a cost-effective means of leveraging top talent. So, how does hiring virtual talents boost economic development in the Philippines and for Filipino workers? Let’s investigate first the average salaries of workers in the Philippines.

Average Salaries in the Philippines: Why It Matters

How Much Do Filipino Professionals Make?

The average monthly salary in the Philippines as of 2020 was PHP 15,200 or USD 308 for non-agricultural sector jobs. It is way cheaper compared to the average salary in India and its outsourcing markets, including the US and Australia.

Based on data from Indeed, the following are the average monthly salaries of workers in the Philippines. The data varies depending on the position or level of employment, but we present the 2020 averages here.

RolesMonthly Salary (in PHP)
in the Philippines
Monthly Salary (in USD)
in the Philippines
Maintenance and cleaning crewPHP 8,420$166
Service personnel (driver, cashier)PHP 12,885$253
Office clerk (entry-level)PHP 15,686$308
Security guardPHP 17,174$338
Construction workerPHP 18,824$370
TeachersPHP 18,998$373
BPO employeesPHP 25,519$500
Licensed Professionals*PHP 45,423+$893+
Source: Outsource Accelerator via Indeed.com

Traditional job opportunities in the Philippines, especially in major cities like Manila, often yield wages that do not align with the rising living costs. For instance, a hotel receptionist in Manila, despite shouldering significant responsibilities, earns an average of about 18,000 PHP per month, or approximately $360 USD. General office workers fare somewhat better, bringing in around 15,000 – 20,000 PHP or $300 – 400 USD monthly.

These monthly earnings fall short when compared to the escalating living expenses in cities like Manila. High transportation costs, coupled with long, grueling commutes due to Manila’s notorious traffic, further diminish the quality of life for Filipino workers.

Virtual workers don't have to commute in Manila's horrendous traffic

In stark contrast, the rise of the virtual assistant industry is offering a far more appealing alternative for many Filipino workers. At Global Hola, for example, we pay our virtual assistants $1,000+ per month—a sum that triples the earnings of many traditional occupations in Manila.

But the advantages extend beyond superior wages. The flexibility of remote work eliminates the costs and stress associated with daily commutes, leading to a marked improvement in the workers’ quality of life. Moreover, by providing higher-than-average salaries, businesses like ours contribute to a more balanced and prosperous economy in the Philippines.

How Hiring Filipino Virtual Talents Can Become Economic Development

How hiring virtual assistants leads to economic development in the philippines

To start, the increased demand for Filipino virtual assistants and talents is a significant job creator. With the rise of remote work and global outsourcing, the opportunity to work as a virtual assistant has opened doors for many individuals who might otherwise struggle to find employment. This expansion of job opportunities reduces unemployment rates, which in turn leads to increased spending and fuels economic growth.

Secondly, as discussed before, the wages offered to virtual assistants often surpass those of traditional jobs in the country. These higher incomes not only mean an improved standard of living for the employees and their families but also increase the spending power of these workers. Increased consumer spending stimulates the economy, as money is circulated back into local businesses and services.

In addition, these superior wages help combat income inequality, a persistent issue in the Philippines. By providing earnings that surpass the country’s average for similarly skilled workers, the virtual assistant industry can help bridge the economic divide, promoting a more equitable distribution of wealth.

Furthermore, the development of the virtual assistant industry encourages growth and investment in related sectors. For instance, the need for continuous skill development and training for virtual assistants has boosted the education and training services sector. Similarly, the increased use of digital tools and platforms stimulates the IT sector, fostering innovation and digital transformation.

Finally, foreign investments, like those from businesses hiring virtual assistants, bring in capital that can be used for further development. This inflow of funds can be utilized to improve infrastructure, enhance public services, and invest in other sectors that boost the economy.

Hiring Filipino virtual assistants contributes to a cycle of economic prosperity for millions of Filipinos and businesses. From job creation and income inequality reduction to stimulating consumer spending and fostering growth in related sectors, these opportunities are helping to drive the economic development of the Philippines. It’s a testament to how globalization, when harnessed correctly, can lead to shared growth and mutual benefit.

Is The Philippines Caught in a “Resource Curse” of Labor?

An Honest Discussion

The Philippines has a substantial advantage over Western countries in one key resource: a vast pool of educated, skilled, and English-speaking workers. This workforce is often hired by foreign companies mainly due to the lower labor costs compared to Western countries, but has this scenario led to a form of economic dependency that mirrors the classic ‘resource curse‘.

Instead of fueling growth and development within the country, a resource curse leads to stagnation and economic inequality if done poorly by the resource country. Many local industries struggle to compete with foreign wages, even when they are considered low by Western standards. This results in an economic paradox where the Philippines, despite its rich human capital, finds it challenging to ascend to higher levels of economic prosperity because it focuses on its core advantage: cheaper labor inputs.

However, the virtual assistant industry can help break this cycle. By offering competitive wages that are above the average salaries that they could make in the country, companies like Global Hola are contributing to an economic shift where higher-than-average wages allow them to save enough to improve their economic outcomes, education, and overall job skills. Additionally, since many of these talents cannot find ways to attain work visas to work in countries like the United States, having an above average salary (sometimes 3X what they could make in a comparable local position) can provide workers with ways to upscale their talents and break free from economic constraints brought to them only by their birthplace.

The virtual assistant and global talent industry, if done in the right way instead of abusing labor, can be a way for the Philippines to escape this potential ‘resource curse’ in the labor market, leading to more economic empowerment for Filipino families. In turn, this will drive the country toward a more prosperous and balanced future. However, it does not guarantee that, especially with many virtual assistant companies paying virtual talents poorly for their contributions.

The Case For Higher-income Country Businesses to Hire From the Philippines

Does hiring Filipino virtual assistants help economic development?

Engaging virtual talents from the Philippines presents an attractive proposition for businesses from higher-income countries—access to skilled and dedicated professionals at a fraction of the cost, compared to hiring local talent. Simultaneously, this opportunity provides much-needed economic liberation for the Filipino worker, yielding returns that far outweigh the norm in the traditional local job market.

Engaging talents from the Philippines, if done via an outsourcing agency like Global Hola, can also reduce often long hiring processes, legal tax requirements, and other lengthy considerations that come with hiring a full-time employee. These and many other benefits are a great reason behind hiring talents from the Philippines, in addition to the economic benefits to the talents.

The Over/Under

The decision to employ virtual assistants from the Philippines goes beyond mere cost-benefit analysis. It is about enabling economic empowerment, fostering a positive work culture, and facilitating mutual growth. By offering superior wages and flexible work conditions, we contribute to creating a brighter future for our employees and their families.

The rise of the virtual assistant industry continues to reshape the job market in the Philippines, offering benefits for both businesses and college-educated workers in the country. As employers, when we choose to hire virtual talents from the Philippines, we are not merely investing in our businesses—we invest in people, their futures, their families, and the future of the Philippines.

We at Global Hola embrace the global talent market and how it can improve lives for millions of Filipino workers and those from other countries as well, and although it is not a perfect industry, we believe that the positives of global talent hiring profoundly outweigh the negatives for Filipino workers and foreign businesses.

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