11 Reasons Why Filipinos Want to Work Abroad

Leaving to work abroadNowadays, it is very common to see most of the people from my home country wishing to work overseas. The question is why most of the Filipinos have the urge to work abroad? Even myself was craving for it back when I was still employed with a local company before, but here I am now working in a foreign soil. Though I currently do not have the best job that I want, still I have my own reasons and some reasons I observed from other Filipinos why we choose to work abroad.

Please be informed that everybody has his or her own different reasons for working with foreign employers, but these are most likely the 11 main reasons why Filipinos want to work abroad.


1. Higher income and salary

One of the main reasons why Filipinos are willing to go abroad for work is the low average salary and benefits offered by local employers in the Philippines. Jobs that are in-demand and should have a fair compensation such as nurses, engineers, accountants, and other professionals are inadequately paid compare with the compensation that are waiting for them abroad. Even for skilled workers, such as housemaids and other laborers are well compensated in abroad than the professionals in my home country.

The truth may hurt, but let’s face it – being employed abroad and doing the same work that we do in the Philippines provide us double or more income and salary than being employed in our own land.


2. High unemployment rate in the Philippines

Every year many are eager to graduate from college with the hope to finding a well- compensated job. But unfortunately, with less available jobs and declining work demand in the market, a number of college graduates are now only good enough to work at fast-food chains, supermarkets or some other minor roles less than the true value of the graduates’ abilities.

High unemployment rate and less job opportunities for new graduates are unending problems in the country. These increase the competition among Filipinos who are looking for available jobs in the country. With such high competition for career opportunity, some applicants are desperate to have a job that they are willing to get paid for lower salaries and not enjoy benefits as long as there is security of tenure. Sad to say, these will make most of the employers and businessmen grab such inequitable condition that keeps their businesses save labor cost and earn more profit.


3. Unstable economic condition

Many Filipinos are already becoming hopeless to see the country’s economic condition attain significant progress. Let’s face it again, having a corrupt government, mismanagement of the country’s assets, gross inefficiency in government functions, and other things that stop an entire country from developing due to self-interest and greed, what else can we expect from these? Every one of us will always be frustrated with such condition for we know that we will not grow under these circumstances.

There has been already a longstanding lack of confidence in the government’s effort to secure a better future for its citizens that many Filipinos have to make they own actions by seeking better opportunities in overseas.


4. Pressure from the family and peer influence

If you’re not coming from a wealthy family, having severe economic burden, and considering your role within the family (bread winner), such pressures gives you a perspective that working abroad seems to be the only way out. Another thing also is when most of your friends have already flown to work abroad and their having a good time; somehow it gives you the insecurities, and with the right invitation, you are enticed to follow them.


5. Enhance career and professional marketability globally

Nowadays, the world is so very competitive that having a global experience will give you a big career edge among other professionals. Having a worldwide perspective not only broadens your horizons, but also offers you a unique understanding of the skill sets required in a global economy. Furthermore, it can demonstrate to future employers that you have the ability to adapt to diverse workplaces. Whether you like it or not, your skills and experiences are always accounted.


6. Discrimination experienced when applying jobs locally

Alongside with the reality and another sad fact that local job applicants have to deal with are the instances of discrimination in the hiring process, both with the private and government agencies in the country. Employers tend to choose the “best” (but how do we define “best”?) or their favored candidates (locally known “backer” approach) but they’re not necessarily the most qualified for the jobs. Of course there are also companies and agencies that are fair enough to their job applicants. However, we can’t deny the fact that there are employers who are discriminating hopeful job applicants. This process often leaves the qualified applicants to choose the option to go abroad and look for better work opportunity.


7. Opportunity to travel and experience abroad

Working overseas gives you the best opportunity to travel and experience life abroad. It gives you the opportunity to discover new places and people. A chance to meet other people, learn their culture, traditions and ways of life. In addition, working abroad gives you an opportunity to see the other side of the world with your own eyes, then taking pictures of your own adventures and showing them off to your friends and relatives back at home.


8. Government supports OFWs

Government have already acknowledged the importance of OFWS (Overseas Filipino Workers). OFWs are now covered by better labor protection, better healthcare and insurance plans. Also, they are considered as the nation’s newest breed of heroes because they are pumping in billions worth of dollar remittances to the Philippines.


9. Lack of public support for local entrepreneurs

If the government is treating OFWs as modern heroes, it may not be giving enough recognition and support to Filipinos who are striving to start a small business although entrepreneurship will help the country create more jobs and attain economic development. There are actually government laws and programs that aim to help small Filipino entrepreneurs and micro-business owners. However, these are not adequately implemented enough to cater all Filipinos who want to start a business in the Philippines instead of working abroad.

Aside from the government, the masses are sadly not giving due honor and recognition to Filipinos who reject to work abroad and who instead risk everything to create a living in their home country. There are even instances that Filipinos are being ashamed to be called “makabayan” or martyrs – one who strives to create wealth out of the Philippine resources. For these reasons, to avoid being mocked for being a martyr, many Filipinos choose to leave their country and work abroad.


10. It’s their personal dream since childhood

When we were child, every one of us has the ambition to become successful in the future, agree? Working abroad gives us the opportunity and the confidence to pursue and realize our own ambitions. It maybe the house, car, own ideal business, and other things you dreamed of. It may not seems to be a very good reason but still I count them for we know in reality working abroad give us the edge to earn more and gives us more possibilities of advancement than what you will find in the Philippines.


11. It’s the trend now

Everyone’s doing it right now. You’re not the only one who dreams of becoming rich and living in the greener side of the hill. A lot of Filipinos are already out there and somehow you don’t want to be left behind.



There are many other reasons why many Filipinos want or need to work abroad. Some of these reasons are personal, others are financial, and there are also reasons that are only temporal. Although working abroad is very rewarding, there are also a number of disadvantages in working in the foreign lands, such as the loneliness of being away from your family, discrimination from overseas employers, and the high cost of living abroad. Finally, this post doesn’t encourage or discourage Filipinos to work abroad. We only give you the realities, both sad and rewarding, of what is happening to us Filipinos locally and abroad.

So how about you, what do you think are the other reasons why many Filipinos are working abroad?

Fritz Natividad is an experienced accountant and seasoned auditor for various companies, organization, and institutions in different industries. He shares his expertise in accounting, audit and other business related matters towards his clients and other interested individuals. He is proactive and always willing to learn new things. Connect with him at LinkedIn


  1. ruperto nambio says

    I love always saving your blogs by way highlighting it and saving it to word document.
    I think it would be easy then that in additional to “in share + others”, please put “PRINT”—this will help me and others faster than highlighting before saving it to word document. Thanks and more power to your social bloggings.

  2. abel langbid says

    great post man! i totally agree with number
    9.Lack of public support for local entrepreneurs.

    anyway, this is a BusinessTips website so, i might as well add this part.

    12. It’s our culture to work under other people.
    -Since childhood, we are not taught of being independent, most of our parents and relatives always encourage us by saying: “you need to study hard, so that after you graduate, you can work in a big company or work abroad and have a high paying job (which they think is highest achievement).” As a child, we always think about the people that are working abroad has the best life and earning big income that can last a lifetime.

    I’am also currently working abroad for the past 6yrs now, i think. For me, the only best part in working abroad is the realization on how our Filipino culture/mindset is really different from others. I realized that we are too scared to be on our own ground, start our own thing (now I’m still figuring it out on how to change my mindset, slowly and hopefully I can go for it).

    Even in decision making, we are like, “I cant do that yet, i need to this first, i don’t have this, what if, what if i can’t” sad truth.

    That’s why, every time i see Filipinos doing there own business from scratch, with not much money, i look up to them.

    You see, most of us spends PHP100K+ just to apply work abroad. And we all know PHP100K+ is large amount of money to start our own business, but still we choose no to. You know why? We are not trained too, we don’t have the courage to do that, it’s not even in our plan to start our own business, it’s all about “job”, “great career”, “big companies to work with”.

    We all think that its a great deal to just have a great job. “Job = Converting Time for Money”

  3. says

    Thanks Fritz for this post. From the OFW point of view, many ofw’s actually want to return but due to lack of security and infrastructure, they decided to stay abroad.
    Example is internet connection here in Singapore is quite fast, imagine 100MBPS for 2,000 pesos. For security, you can eat in any restaurant and you can put down your phone in your table with out fear. In trains and buses you can text freely and display your smart phone.

    Hope we can reach this stage.

    • Frtz says

      Thank you also PinoyBizness. I totally agree with you that another big issue in the Philippines especially in the Metro Area is the Security but somehow I have less hope on this matter for we know (I hate to admit it) somehow (generally) we lack discipline and commitment for moral action.

  4. says

    Most people would go abroad to seek higher income. But there is also a sort of good side effect – Many Pinoys tend to thrive abroad than here.

    Perhaps it is because we tend to be more discipline and more resourceful when we don’t have backup support (meaning relatives).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *