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How much do the Government and Employers think you're worth?

Are you worth your weight (skill, education, experience) in gold, peso or dollar by government and business standards? Find out how you may tip the scale.


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How much do the Government and Employers think you're worth?
Written by Crispin Aranda.
Updated August 26, 2018 | AustraliaCanadaPhilippines

Wages and salaries of workers (skilled, professional) and those in different occupations are set by public policy as well as market forces – respectively, taking into consideration factors such as supply and demand, education/qualification and experience.

Hence, the government agencies involved in setting the minimum wage or workers are those under the Department of Labor particularly the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) created in July 1989 by Republic Act No. 6727, also known as the "Wage Rationalization Act."

Minimum wages are determined by NWPC and the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) in all regions of the country.

Employers in the Philippines are generally categories as belonging to agriculture, fishing, forestry or industry. Industries are further subdivided into various sectors including services, manufacturing, construction among others. The government is the biggest single public employer in the country.

From the private side, employers in various industries set the standards of duties and salaries. In September 10, 1975, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) was officially established and recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as” the umbrella organization and a single voice for the entire business community.”

Within each sector of an industry, individual employers are free to comply with the government and employer confederation standard or raise the ante. The degree of competition is influenced by the supply and quality of workers for employers within a sector.

Employers use the wages set by the government in various regions as the standard or base. Each company or employer in each region may then set its own minimum or average salaries, based on its need and the skills set of applicants they believe can perform the job well in accordance with duties and tasks prescribed in the Philippine Standard Occupational Classification (PSOC).

The most current description of duties is enshrined in the 2012 PSOC - a statistical classification of the different occupational groups of the working population, including the military work force in the country. The 2012 PSOC is “basically patterned after the 2008 International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) but with modifications to suit the national situations and requirements.”

How much do Philippine employers and government believe Filipinos workers and professionals are worth?

The table below, shows the average wages/salary of ten occupations included in the Top 20 vacancies listed by the Bureau of Local Employment through the PhilJob.Net.

Then we also show how the government and employers of Australia and Canada believe the same occupation are worth to them.                                                                                                                   

Occupation

Australia

Canada

Philippines

  1. Call Center Agent

1,768,330

1,456,540

206,099

  1. Sales Associate (Promo)

1,799,560

1,475,810

192,573

  1. Domestic Helper

1,873,980

953,502

120,000

  1. Cashier

1,390,330

847,998

142,863

  1. Service Crew/Food Server

993,080

993,763

181,434

  1. Staff Nurse

2,304,500

2,457,550

172,889

  1. Customer Service Asst.

1,737,680

1,470,450

199,966

  1. Cook

2,077,530

1,210,100

111,657

  1. Real Estate Sales Agent

1,906,350

2,426,740

305,000

  1. Administrative Assistant

1,779,770

1,609,180

178,640

Exchange rate, 8/26/18

39.0454

40.9107

Some notes:  Australia and Canada have different categories for home or personal support workers. Hence, the duties of a domestic helper in the Philippines is not the same as those described for Aged Care or Personal Support Worker in Australia or the duties of a Caregiver in Canada.

Also, in the two countries, Real Estate Agents are licensed and regulated.  In the Philippines a “real estate agent” can be loosely translated as someone who facilitates the sale of real estate transaction.

Officially, the “real estate agent” is officially called a real estate salesperson who should be registered at the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) through the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (PRBRES); “must have at least attended two years in college education with 120 CPD units and has to be under a licensed real estate broker.  Passing a PRC examination is not a requirement.”

Food servers, fast food workers in Canada and Australia are also strictly bound by industry and government regulations. Other than those working at national fast food chains restaurant workers are loosely monitored for skill, training and customer service.

Working Abroad

The wages and salaries of the 10 occupations in Australia and Canada immediately shows the disparity of recognition and respect for the worker or professional.

Filipinos intending to work abroad must also take into consideration the fact that while the salary or wages in Canada is four to five times higher than what he or she is receiving from a Philippine employer, the income received is spent in the place of work. 

Simply converting the peso equivalent from a Canadian or Australian dollar is a common mistake. Of course, an OFW scrimps on expenses to send higher amount of remittances. Unlike OFWs in the Middle East countries where accommodation costs are either part of the employment package, temporary workers in Canada and Australia do not enjoy the same privileges. 

The POEA has a template master contract which describes the accommodation arrangement for temporary workers with individual employers in a specific industry such as swine or poultry raising. Otherwise, workers have to make their own accommodation arrangements after a certain period upon initial entry.

But the attraction of a better paying job, better working conditions and the opportunity to save and provide for the family back home keep the hope of working abroad alive.

In fact, despite wars, pestilence, disease outbreaks, ethnic conflicts, few Filipino workers choose to return home (despite free airfare and repatriation benefits).

“I’d rather die here working or looking for a job, than die of hunger and poverty for lack of opportunities and decent paying jobs in the Philippines,” is the common reason for staying overseas.

The Top 20 Vacancies listed by the Bureau of Local Employment through PhilJob.Net as of August 26, 2018, are the following:

Occupation

Vacancies

Occupation

Vacancies

  1. Call Center Agents

2,253

11) Salesman

273

2)  Sales promo

1,926

12) Cook

241

3)Domestic Helper

545

13) Retail Trade Sales

224

4)Cashier

526

14) Real Estate Sales

200

5)Service Crew

440

15) Housemaid

198

6) Staff Nurse

421

16) Waiter

187

7) Sales Clerk

407

17) Warehouse Helper

175

8) Cust. Service Asst.

401

18) Carpenter

153

9) Construct. Laborer

308

19) Admin. Assistant

136

10) Bagger

295

20) Merchandiser

134

The number of job openings may increase or decrease, but the list basically remains the same, except for a few changes.  In August 24 for example, Financial/Accounts Specialist was ranked 15th. At time of writing (August 26) Housemaids rose to the 15th slot and the 20th spot – then occupied by Sales Associates Professional was replaced by Merchandiser.

For wage and salary comparison, 10 of the most recent Top 20 listing were selected as these are occupations that are in demand or in short supply in Australia and Canada.

On rare occasions, the government and the employers engage in finger-pointing, such as the “endo” or contractualization issue, with the latter claiming that the government is the biggest employer of contract workers, even as the administration (through the Labor Department) go after “erring endo employers.”

What they agree on, however, is what the workers are worth.

About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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