Outsourcing To The Philippines, Filipino Workers and Your Online Business

Outsourcing-to-the-PhilippinesDid you know that many online businesses now hire Filipino workers to take away the bulk of the daily tasks from the business owner?

A few years ago hiring staff from the Philippines was seen as a ‘must have’ addition for the aspiring, online entrepreneur; mainly due to the low cost of labour, but does it really work?

Well, I have hired Filipino staff in the past, and it wasn’t all plain sailing, not by a long shot, so if you are considering this increasingly popular method of ‘virtual’ staff, then you may want to know what the pitfalls are also.

How To Hire Staff From The Philippines?

It is fairly easy to find such staff, and there are now a few core websites online that make it their sole business to attract such workers with the idea that they can then charge online businesses a fee to access their database.

These websites advertise themselves in the Philippines, and even fly over there to advertise, and entice the workers to join their website with the promise of ‘as much work as you need’ from Western businesses looking to hire.

Also, the websites that advertise staff from the Philippines catagorise their skill sets, including:

  • Marketing & Sales
  • Web Developer
  • English Writer
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Blogging Assistant
  • Project Management
  • Advertising
  • Basically anything you need.

Costs of Hiring From The Philippines?

Let’s make no bones about this, the main reason why online businesses in the Western World hire staff from the Philippines is down to cost saving. Yep, you can hire full time staff from the Philippines, on an array of different ‘skills’ for as little as £35 a week!

You really did read that correct, you can hire Filipino workers, for 40 hours per week for as little as it would cost you to pay for a a McDonald’s meal for your family.

Here is just a quick example of what you will find on the websites advertising Filipino workers:

Filipino-Worker-Example-1

Surprised? Let’s say this worker agreed to work for you at their absolute minimum, then at the time of writing, this is approximately £35 per week for a full 40 hours of that worker’s time.

Obviously the above worker is at the bottom end of the scale regarding their capabilities, and you are probably looking at blog writing, and the more menial tasks being completed, but even so, to be able to gain somebody’s full time and attention for that type of money is crazy – but very enticing to an online business.

Here is another example, for skilled Filipino workers:

Filipino-worker-web-development_001

The above worker is advertising his skills as a web developer, and the cost is approximately £52.5 per week.

Now you can easily see the attraction of hiring from the Philippines when you can hire a full time web developer for such small amounts, when if you wanted a fully qualified UK worker with similar capabilities, you would be looking at around £600 a week!

Why Are Filipino Workers So Cheap to Hire?

Excellent question, even though I wrote it myself 🙂

But I will assume that it is also a question you will be asking after seeing the above workers, their qualifications, and why they are willing to work so cheaply.

It is all relative really, because obviously the standard of living in differing countries will determine what an individual is willing to work for. I remember once asking some of my own Filipino workers what would be classed as a decent wage over there in the Philippines, and I remember the answer was quite surprising.

The Filipino workers stated that a worker making around £15,000 would be considered at the ‘wealthy’ end of the pay scale, and that if a family member was earning such a salary, then they would be very comfortable.

It all really comes down to the cost of living. The cost of living in the UK is far, far more than the cost of living in the Philippines, and thus this sets a precedent for wages, and what workers are prepared to work for.

One of the last Filipino workers I had, I was paying her around £50 per week, and the lady stated that this was the equivalent of what a fast food worker would receive, so if you compare that to the fast food outlets in the UK, then that gives you a very good idea of the similar pay lines between the two countries.

onlinejobs.ph Review, and Who They Are?

One of the main websites I used to find Filipino workers was onlinejobs.ph, who is one of the most widely advertised of the websites who have a large database of such workers.

Would I recommend onlinejobs.ph? Difficult question really, because the rest of my review will detail why I would not recommend Filipino workers at all; and this is based on my personal experience with outsourcing, and is obviously not a global reflection on Filipino workers in general.

But yes, onlinejobs.ph do give you all the tools required in finding, and sourcing a particular skill set you may need in your online business, and for the right salary grade, should you not wish to pay UK prices for staff.

They allow you to filter the qualifications you need in a worker, as well as their ‘experience’, and when I say ‘experience’, I would take that with a huge pinch of salt, because I also found that many Filipino workers will tell you they can do anything, and what this may mean, is that they have read about it once, and thus this may make them ‘experienced’ in completing the job now 🙂

Why Did You Outsource to the Philippines, Ben?

It is actually very straight forward why I personally decided to outsource, and some of the reasons are as follows:

  • UK red tape when hiring UK workers.
  • The nanny state we live in, in the UK government dictating what employers can, and cannot do.
  • The cost of hiring in the UK, and this might actually surprise you!
  • The ease of finding a worker in the Philippines, without all the nonsense involved in doing similar in the UK.

Let’s just dissect some of the above points.

UK red tape when hiring in the UK. One of the main problems with hiring staff in the UK, especially to a new business, is the red tape. I see the UK government as wanting to hand over full responsibility to the employer when they decide to take on an employee.

Look at pension contributions. In the UK the government is now forcing employers to participate in a pension scheme for all it’s employees, which costs time, and money to set up, and well as costs – The employee pays in, and so does the employer. A perfect example of a nanny state, and the government no longer willing to take responsibility – in my eyes, they are now seeing businesses in the UK as cash cows. No thank you!

The cost of hiring in the UK is getting to silly levels. Even for unskilled positions potential employees are often demanding unreasonable pay, and again, this is being dictated by the government with ‘living wage’, and other such nonsense.

I know many may not agree with this, but unless you have had employees, and run a business then this section of the review may not relate to you, but what ever happened to an employee dictating their own wage with sheer hard work, and initiative?

The other problem is in how are you going to find UK workers? I have tried this myself, and this is what I found:

  •  The job centres were a waste of time – literally zero response.
  • Agencies are charging ridiculous amounts of money for finding staff, and then charge you an ongoing rate for the length of time the employee is working for you. This usually runs into the thousands of pounds before the employee has even started! Madness, but that is why the recruitment industry is flying at the moment, but as a small business, you really cannot afford such fees just to find willing workers who actually ‘want’ to work!

I am digressing slightly, as the above is a review, and topic all by itself, so I will not go into any more detail on that than I need to, but this is all why hiring staff in the Philippines was, and is still so attractive.

Does Hiring Staff From The Philippines Work?

Over a period of 12 months, I must have hired around 15 Filipino workers, and believe me, it is not all plain sailing, and the problems are plentiful. Here are some of the issues I found when hiring staff from the Philippines:

  • Over inflation of skill sets. Basically most Filipino workers I found would tell you anything to get the job, and would state they had skills that they simply did not have.
  • You would spend an hour ‘interviewing’ via Skype, and everything would be fine, and a job offer would be accepted, only for the worker to simply not start on the agreed date – seriously time-wasting, and annoying!
  • Many lies told about why the worker ‘could not work that day’, this ranged from the whole country’s internet going down that day, hurricanes, flooding, and many more spurious excuses that simply were no true.
  • Poor quality of work. Often the work was just not up to standard, and as you are dealing with people with totally different expectations, and experience to what a similar worker in the UK would have, then you really are sailing without any wind.
  • Leaving the job without any further contact. Even when I had workers who seemed happy (I would ask them every day if everything was fine), they would simply vanish of the face of the earth without any contact whatsoever, which is not great when you have issued projects, with your own deadlines, and yet another worker lets you down without communication.

I could list an endless catalogue of the problems I had when hiring workers from the Philippines, and now the low price for the labour does not seem so ‘cheap’ does it? 🙂

Sure, it all sounds enticing; great staff for low prices, but the reality, in my experience, is far from the truth, and it was simply a disaster, and not an experience I will be repeating any time soon.

Most of the time, the Philippines workers who you have working for you, will still be searching for other employers, mostly on the promise of higher pay, and it is like an employment merry-go-round.  You end up literally chasing your tail, losing money, vast amounts of time, and wish you hadn’t fallen into the trap that is being offered.

is-out-sourcing-worth-it

Conclusion on Outsourcing to the Philippines?

Personally, I would advise against it at all costs. The savings you make will simply be eaten up by constantly having to hire new staff, and when all these hours are added up, you find that the whole process has been a complete waste of time.

In fact, at one time I thought I had found the perfect Filipino employee, she was bright, bubbly on Skype, and made all the right comments; had the experience, and for about 3 weeks everything was going great.

The work was fantastic, so much so that I completely left her to her own devices, only to one day check the quality of her latest work, to find it had been cut and pasted from the internet – Arrrggh! To say that was the final nail on the outsourcing coffin, would be an understatement.

The idea is a good one, and the relative pay means it can work, but the reality of the situation is that you are unlikely to find suitable workers from the Philippines to enhance your business.

There will be exceptions, of course, but like I said, I spent a whole year looking at employing this way, and it left a very sour taste in my mouth 🙁

….But, of course the attractions, and ‘benefits’ of using Filipino workers will continue to be an easy sell for the websites that promote it.

 

 

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