The hiring of Filipino workers overseas has gone up despite the global economic slowdown, according to the government.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported yesterday a 24.4 percent growth in the number of Filipinos recruited to work abroad.
Data from the POEA showed a total of 1,221,829 workers were deployed from January to November this year.
Viveca Catalig, POEA officer-in-charge, said overseas deployment in the first 11 months of 2008 was over 200,000 higher than those of the same period last year.
This year’s figure had already exceeded the annual one million target by 22 percent, she added.
Catalig said close to 4,000 overseas Filipino workers are leaving the country daily to work overseas.
“The country now deploys an average of 3,658 OFWs daily to various countries abroad,” she said.
The number of new hires posted a 15.5 percent growth from a total of 355,637in 2007 to 410,805 this year, Catalig said.
Land-based workers, who accounted for the bulk deployed overseas, registered a 9.4 percent drop in the number of contracts processed this year.
Meanwhile, the business climate in Metro Manila appears to be doing well.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported yesterday more workers were hired than retrenched in commercial establishments in Metro Manila in the past months.
Data from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics showed employment among 500 big establishments in Metro Manila remained on the uptrend.
Based on a DOLE survey done in the second quarter of the year, commercial firms in Metro Manila hired 20 additional workers per 1,000 current employees.
The accession rate or addition to the existing work force among commercial establishments in the National Capital Region was posted at 10.56 percent, according to the BLES.
Accession rate was highest in construction firms at 18.93 percent, followed by hotel and restaurants with 15.83 percent and real estate and renting in third at 14.62 percent.
Separation rate was reported at 8.57 percent during the same period, with most of the termination initiated by the employees.
However, a BLES survey indicated a positive employment growth of 1.99 percent for big commercial establishments.
“During the second quarter of the year, accession rate surpassed separation rate which means that about 20 workers per 1,000 employed were added to the workforce of these establishments,” BLES said.
Employment continued to grow in all sectors, except in private education, mining and quarrying and fishing.
The hiring level in manufacturing remained unchanged.
However, employment growth was slower compared to the first quarter of the year, according to the BLES.
Call centers need employees
Business Process Outsourcing companies are in dire need of workers, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.
The TUCP said BPOs, particularly call centers are recruiting about 3,000 workers despite the economic crisis.
Ernesto Herrera, TUCP secretary-general, said at least 23 BPO providers are hiring new personnel, including contact center agents, as well information-technology and administrative support staff.
“A number of BPO providers are drafting additional staff on account of expansion, while others are requiring fill-in personnel due to attrition, or the loss of employees,” he said.
Among the firms needing new staff are Aegis PeopleSupport Inc., Affiliated Computer Services Inc., APAC Customer Services Inc., Convergys Philippines Services Corp., Dell International Services Philippines Inc., Deutsche Knowledge Services Pte. Ltd., eTelecare Global Solutions Inc., Hinduja TMT Ltd., HSBC Electronic Data Processing Philippines Inc. and ICT Marketing Services Inc.
JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. Philippine Customer Care Center, NCO Group Inc., NuComm International Inc., PeopleTalk Contact Solutions Inc., Stellar Global Solutions Inc., Synnex-Concentrix Corp., Telephilippines Inc., TeleTech Holdings Inc., Telus International Philippines Inc., VXI Global Solutions Inc., West Contact Services Inc. and WinSource Solutions Inc. are also looking for new staff.
Herrera said APAC is recruiting 1,000 agents and support staff, including those for deployment to a new contact center Tacloban City.
Deutsche Knowledge Services needs 900 financial, business and accounting associates to provide back office support to its global financial operations, as well as ICT Marketing Services, which is hiring 400 agents to be assigned to a new contact center in Cabanatuan City, he added.
Most of the firms require only two years of college education or even high school graduates with exceptional English or foreign language skills could readily qualify for employment, Herrera said.
GMA assures Pinoys in Qatar
President Arroyo assured that Filipino workers in Qatar and other Middle East countries will not be laid off.
Speaking before Filipinos at the Sheraton Doha Hotel and Resort on Saturday, Mrs. Arroyo said on the contrary, Qatar needs 37,000 more workers.
“Our nation can be assured that the government will do everything it can to protect our countrymen from the global economic crisis,” she said.
Mrs. Arroyo said the 37,000 new jobs in Qatar more than offsets the displacement of Filipino workers in other countries.
Employers in Qatar and other Middle East countries prefer Filipino workers because of their diligence, trustworthiness, efficiency and skill, she added.
The government will act immediately on problems like delays in the registration of labor recruitment permits and will step up training for Filipinos seeking employment abroad, Mrs. Arroyo said.
Among the companies represented in the luncheon meeting with Mrs. Arroyo were the US-based engineering giant Bechtel Corp., Al Ahli Hospital, Sterling Group of Companies, Midmac Contracting, and Doha Resort and Convention Center.
Laremy Estrada, Bechtel Doha chief executive officer/project manager, cited Filipino workers for their reliability, industry and overall skill.
Filipinos were highly trainable, efficient and trustworthy, he added.
Sixty-five percent of Bechtel’s workers in the construction of the new Doha International Airport are Filipinos, Estrada said.
Estimates of the number of Filipino workers in Qatar vary from a low of 150,000 to a high of more than 200,000.
Labor Secretary Marianito Roque’s own figure is 190,000.
Accompanying Mrs. Arroyo in her three-day official visit to Qatar are Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, presidential adviser on the peace process Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and some members of the House of Representatives.
Mrs. Arroyo arrived in Qatar on Saturday. She was welcomed at the airport by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
From Qatar International Airport, Mrs. Arroyo went straight to the Sheraton Doha Hotel. —-Mayen Jaymalin with Paolo Romero, Philippine Star