Writing this down from experience….
We’ll I just want to start with the words “nakakapanghinayang”….
Why? Philippines, as history and the current pool of workers coming from this country would prove, is a place where skilled workers come from.
Filipinos who have the right drive would do anything, if not everything, to accomplish their tasks fast and perfect especially when they are abroad.
In short, we as Filipinos have what it takes to win any game we put our heads and our hearts into, and this includes making freelancing “the next big thing” in the country’s economy.
However, the sad thing is, even with so much talent and skills we are only able to bring wealth to our foreign counterparts.
Why? it’s because of culture.
In my many years of service in the freelance industry, I was able to work with both foreign and local bosses. And I have found very distinct markers as to why we love serving foreign client’s more than startup or established entrepreneurs seeking remote workers in our own country.
Here are some of the reasons why foreign clients often receive more positive response from Filipino Freelancers compared to local employers:
ONE: Foreign clients require realistic goals and ask for realistic requirements
I was browsing through onlinejobs.ph, Facebook, and links on lately to find viable job posts to include on my blog. One thing stood out to me. Foreign client’s post jobs with requirements such as must be communicative, must be willing to learn, must be open to adjustment, must be willing to be trained.
Alongside these musts, I saw some that state: minimal experience required but must be willing to be trained.
On the other hand, job posts from local employers on the Philippines almost have one specific thing in common, “must be college graduate”.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw a post about basic feature blog writing on any niche to require a college diploma and offer a pay rate of 12,000 Php per month with eight hours of work for five days.
I could not believe my eyes. I looked again and thought it was an offer from an Indian employer, but it was from a fellow Filipino.
See, we have always been stuck with that “college graduate culture” and yet we are not willing to pay on par with the quality we are asking for. It seems that most, not all, Filipino employers weigh their fellowmen out of their desperation to get a job.
Meanwhile, client counterparts from the other countries do not look for too high of an educational attainment, does not require too high of an experience rate, and are willing to put extra time, effort, and even higher pay grade, just to train a freelancer to match up with the qualifications they are looking for.
TWO: Time Monitoring
It is but a common culture for freelancers to be monitored with their time especially if they opted to take a fulltime schedule with a client. This is an amicable requirment. Tracking time on the part of employers is a critical part of establishing trust between both parties while also helping in the process of keeping a homebased worker focused on the tasks set to be completed for the day.
In my experience, most foreign clients offer having a worker’s time monitored through log-in-log-out system that does not necessarily record everything but makes sure that goals planned for the day are accomplished accordingly.
On the other hand, several local employers I worked for put in place tight monitoring systems such as screen sharing. On top of that, they require constant update of what you are doing by the minute. Again, not every Filipino client require this, but then again, there are a lot who prefer this.
Why? Because basically, we do not trust our own. We seem to know ourselves too much that we assume that a Filipino freelancer will have that supposedly innate culture of Mañana which basically makes it easier and even common for workers to procrastinate and put off important tasks until it is too late.
With this, the freelancers end up getting burned out even at their earlier points of employment. This approach of tight time monitoring may seem productive, but in actuality, it just puts both the employee and the employer in a considerably uncomfortable state.
THREE: Pay Versus Work Completion Demand
I worked for several Australian, American, and British employers and most of them do not want over-supervising. They give you the task to compete and then they except that you’d finish it at the end of the day’s allotted time for duty if there is.
There are others who provide work tasks at more open schedule, giving the freelancer a chance to improve breathe in between days of work. An even greater news is that they are more than open to provide bonuses for a good job done.
Filipino employers, especially those who have been used to the culture of looking at employees as mere members of the company often demand a lot within a limited time and pay as expected, often lower compared to foreign counterparts because of limited financial resources.
FOUR: Working with a Boss versus Working with a Partner
During my first times of working for a foreign client, I had to adjust big time on how I address them. Most of them want to be called by their first name even during the interview. When I asked one of my clients about this, he mentioned it is one way he makes it easier for her remote workers to work with him and be open with him especially when they have suggestions about the work or the business.
They establish partnership with their freelancers and remote workers because they believe in balanced treatment- one that is open for suggestions and open-ended communication.
On the other hand, most Filipino employers are very specific with hierarchy of position and the instantiation of authority. Working for a boss who always wants to be recognized for his position is certainly a require me that causes tension in the relationship that the employer shares with his employees.
So what is the point of all this?
Our culture when it comes to the idea we have regarding employment and control is certainly affecting our chance at using the freelancing industry as a cushion against economic downfall.
We have the manpower, we have the skills, we have the do getter attitude that fuels the success of the freelancing industry. But we lack two factors that establishes the foundation of success: trust and respect between the employers and their employees.
In the end, Filipino Freelancers hope that when it comes to getting better employment option online, we would not end up the same way we do when it comes to favoring work abroad than work at home.
As family oriented as we are, we would love it if we could work for our families without necessarily leaving them behind. But while working at home, we certainly do not want to break our families down just because we are too burned out.
In this case, we merely want to make sure that moving forward, the freelancing industry Jn the Philippines would be more than just a pool of freelancers with skills to offer to foreign clients. We are hopeful that freelancing in the country could provide that all-too-needed boost our economy requires.