Getting a job as a foreigner in the Philippines

Truth be known its easier to work in McDonalds half a year at a time than it is to find work here in the Philippines. It is a very common question asked though and most Foreigners here are either running businesses with partners or on a pension. Unless you can find some way to make money online or follow an expat round and hope you can drop on work with them your options are very limited. In reality though a lot of people arrive here every year with “great expectations” assuming they will make it or start a business. In reality though there is a huge number of failures here and those that have already left but nobody likes to write about failing only success. You will often hear of people going back to the UK or US as they need more money but not what happened with the funds they arrived with.

The other problem is stability and the fact that ok your now in the sunshine instead of the gloomy UK or other country. But what have you really left behind? your working long hours and generally don’t get to see the beaches. The weekends are always busy or your resting because of having to get up early for a call centre job or whatever role you are doing. Where is the fun? Isn’t it better to save more and plan ahead? wouldn’t it be easier to just save the money before travelling here? You probably notice I haven’t written much about planning if doing something here and there is a reason for that its difficult at best. The goal posts keep moving, prime example is the electricity that jumped from P2,500 to nearly P7,000 this month. Where do you find the extra from if you haven’t budgeted for fluctuations in a corrupt system? You do know that in the Philippines if you lose power you actually pay extra not less. Rewarding incompetenance and poor infrastructure. Wonder where the rest of the world would be if we all take that leaf out of the books. Many people will say if you want a small fortune in the Philippines start with a big one. Which is unfair what is needed is learning curve time as its a completely different ball game to what you would expect. There are many variables and a lot you won’t even think of. The last 6 months for me have been very difficult at best and most of the issues are not my own failings but at the same time I have to take full responsibility as I gave trust and time to people which ended up costing me a lot of money and having to delay or scrap projects. Could happen in the UK but to be honest the Philippines is magnified there are so many variables I have discovered that just wouldn’t make sense anywhere else on the planet.

So if you can find a job all well and good if you go to run a business you will hit the hurdles I am just recovering from. But all in all don’t guarantee or expect as its not that simple especially if you have a fixed amount of money.

5 comments for “Getting a job as a foreigner in the Philippines

  1. Philip Patrick
    June 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    In my case, i had never been to a foreign country, but in my silly mind, i thought well they should all be about the same. Never taking time to experience what I would really face, and the things that would just never happen in the USA. I assumed i could do it on my own. My wife would sometimes say, oh that wont work here, and I would reply. Yes it will, just no one here will work at it, or they do not know how, i will show you.

    Well, it showed me, i did not show it… If i have said it once, i say it a thousand times. If you want to do business in PI. First thing is,,, forget about anything that makes common sense, is convenient, and is proper. Throw all the things you know about doing business in Western culture and common sense, then you are ready to at least start… If you are lucky enough to find a job here being a foreigner, especially if you are a leader or boss, or manager, be prepared to throw out everything that you learned from your home country about doing that job. If not most of the days you will find yourself using the following phrases,
    ” you got to be kidding me” ” huhhhhhhhhhh” ” they is no way ” or my all time favorite, ” I just really cant believe that ” Its taken me 7 years, and i am just now starting to get it… Now i am starting to understand it… Example: for ever i said, they is no excuse for anything being out of stocks,,,, someone is not doing their job, not ordering ahead of time,,,, just being irresponsible…. I decided I would show my staff how the proper way to keep things in stock…. So i took over for one week doing the purchase ordering.. Well let me tell you, I wanted Bailey's, we need it for the bar… Started this morning, spent 500 peso in fair, 6 hours of the day, 10 places from local grocery to SM Mall, to Imported liquor store…. no one has it… I ask each and every single person, if it sells out, why not order more for next time… they said, only a quota of room on each ship, that shipment is divided equally with all suppliers… if it sells before the next ship, you wait…. We do not face that in western culture. If i wanted something and lived in Florida, and it was in California, it would be there next day.. I never thought about the shipping and cargo and way of transport here…. No one told me either, I guess because they assume you should already know that. So now, I know when the shipment comes in, buy it then, do not wait… or you will be one of the ones out of stocks…. So the moral is, being out of stocks is not a failure here, or a bad business practice, its just normal… But how mad do us western guys get when we hear out of stocks.. First thing is we think, someone is lazy, or irresponsible, or why did they not order more. When in fact is just daily business here. With no reason to get a bad reputation, or bad name… Now in the states, if wal mart was out of a stock for more than a few hours, well they would be ready to boycott or burn it down….. Just have to change the way you think about business… Slow, and laid back, and its no big deal…..

  2. Tropicalpenpals
    June 22, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Hi Philip,
    think there is Baileys at Robinsons at the end of the SRP the old central market (near me) i was looking last week as they had different flavours i hadn't seen before. If your desperate let me know ill drop by and grab some.

  3. Tropicalpenpals
    June 23, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Hi John,
    you trying to get me in trouble..lol Cam girls is illegal here and still regarded as prostitution. I know it goes on but its a very risky business. A British IT guy was murdered over it although his wife got the blame and now doing her 15 years in prison. It's another story but not sure if I should publish it as although its a warning to others as the company seemed to be “legitimate” on the outside it was operating out of Hong Kong as a consultancy in reality it was doing the Web Cams and software there is a documentary on it which all blamed the wife but a friend of mine done some digging around and it was very clear not only wasn't it cut and dry but the blue eyed boy of a son was having wild sex parties at the house (with upto 16 girls there at a time) as well as other things going on. Doesn't take someone long to stick people on a slab unless you can do it remotely..

  4. Tropicalpenpals
    June 23, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Thing is also which i didn't mention in the topic is that the Philippines can and does break people all the time financially and mentally. Philip Patrick's post pretty much sums it up as how things can go wrong and in most cases its because of things out of your control but at the same time your working to a schedule which to you seems perfectly fine as it would in the West. But this is the Philippines people generally expect things to go wrong, slow, out of stock as if its ok.. but to us it seems more like WTF! but locally they know its normal and won't change out of frustration so why get annoyed with it. Learn to work round it, Philips point to “overstock” when available is a prime example of working round the problem. Forget everyone else stock yours! as everyone else does exactly the same. Same reason when you go somewhere queuing up is often ignored replaced with pushing and shoving to the front in a group instead its all about forget the next guy this is mine.. Some of the bad traits locally that like everywhere else goes along side the good..

  5. John Hall
    June 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    If you want to make MONEY! This is what you do. Open up a Live Cam Website. Walk up to all these Girls that are pretty and have access to internet and ask them to be cam girls. Tell them they can make anywhere between 1500 pesos to 2500 pesos in hour which cam girls do. They collect 40 percent of what the foreigner pays and you collect 60%. Everyone is rich and getting paid in dollars. They get 40% because you pay for the website, advertising, time, clients etc.. Don't have to rent a store, pay for utilities or furniture. Don't have to pay for much staff because if the girl doesn't work she doesnt get the HIGH COMMISSION. Its a way better opportunity for a girl then any job being offered in the country money wise including prostitution.
    Matt should know way more about the advertising aspect and website creation then me so if u have any questions ask him hes the expert. lol