For your company to successfully attract and retain employees in the Philippines, it’s important that you don’t simply apply internationally accepted recruitment practices.

Across regions, differences can be more defined than you think. Failing to properly recognize and respond to them, meanwhile, can lead to problems with talent acquisition.

Today, we’ll discuss the topic in detail, and show you how to improve your recruitment in the Philippines.

What generally attracts and motivates workers?

Today, it’s widely accepted that it takes more than just great salaries to effectively motivate your workforce and maximize their performance.

A 2022 study by McKinsey & Company, in fact, found that employees don’t only yearn for stronger relationships and a sense of connection, but also want to feel valued by their organizations:

  • Over half of workers, for instance, left their jobs in a six month span because they didn’t feel appreciated by their company (54%) or manager (52%), or lacked a sense of belonging (51%).
  • 46%, on the other hand, stated the desire to work with people who trust and care for each other as a reason to quit.

In the Philippines, many variables come into play

Across regions, however, you have to consider various nuances, as the differences are influenced by their cultures and values.

When dealing with more specific job and labor markets, it isn’t about why issues arise, but more how to appropriately respond to their needs and preferences.

Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that your organization recognize what motivates Filipino professionals and devise ways to address them. Here are key ones you should take into account.

Filipino employees favor familiarity

A survey conducted by the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Philippines found 3 out of 4 employees claiming they would rather work in their locality than relocate elsewhere.

This outlook comes from locally employed individuals who prefer to stay in the country as well, despite promising opportunities in other regions, as they consider their family and friends, work environment, culture fit, and work-life balance.

But, they move due to financial needs and a lack of opportunity

Though job seekers strongly favor gainful employment in their hometowns, opportunities are typically limited, or worse, and this compels them to work in areas like Metro Manila or overseas.

Respondents from the previously mentioned study even cite their families’ financial needs, as well as poor salaries, benefits, and incentives offered by local employers as reasons for leaving their localities.

Today’s Filipino workforce values flexibility

A survey by Philippines revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic led to remote work becoming a vital piece of workplace practices. Years of lockdowns and quarantines have also gotten professionals accustomed to working from home.

As a result, many are now unwilling to experience the grueling commutes and traffic conditions, making them prefer more flexible work setups and hours. From its 15,178 respondents, gathered the following figures:

  • 49% of Filipino employees want to work completely remote five days a week, much higher than 24% worldwide
  • 48%, meanwhile, are open to work via hybrid setups, which is also greater than the global average

Opportunities are also becoming plentiful, as Filipino remote workers are now sought after by countries seeking overseas talent, among which include Canada, Belize, Argentina, and more.

The country is filled with educated candidates

Education is highly valued in the Philippines. In fact, employers seek individuals with educational attainment, as they see the college diploma as a signal of higher productivity.

As the country boasts close to 2,300 higher education institutions that produce a steady stream of graduates, there is an abundance of qualified talent. This explains the healthy demand for them as well, especially from larger companies.

Filipinos are motivated by a clear purpose

An article published by BusinessMirror states that 79% of employees in the Philippines are fueled by developing a conceptual understanding of a project.

This means they heavily lean on grasping “why” their work must be done, which serves as a strong indicator of how purpose-driven organizations may seem more attractive to job seekers in the country.

Beware the pressures of a competitive labor market

The Philippines’ employment quality, as well as its overall job market, is steadily improving, as a December 2023 Labor Force Survey by the country’s Department of Finance (DOF) recorded:

  • A historically low 4.5% unemployment rate
  • A continually decreasing underemployment rate of 11.9%

With work availability becoming more sufficient and the number of companies offering competitive opportunities increasing, finding the right candidates is now exceptionally critical for those looking to secure and develop long-term talent. Such organizations must also be able to:

  • Navigate labor market trends
  • Foresee labor shortages
  • Access global talent pools
  • Utilize various recruitment, development, and engagement strategies

Filipino professionals have a strong digital footprint

Statistics from Meltwater show that social media usage in the Philippines is extremely high, as it accounts for 86.75 million unique identities on various platforms, which also amounts to 73.4% of the country’s overall population.

29.2% of Filipino users aged 16 to 64, meanwhile, maximize social platforms for work-related networking or research—a clear indicator of how recruiting through such channels is highly beneficial.

Popular professional platforms and online job boards even boast a deep pool of Philippine talent:

How to improve your recruitment in the Philippines

Considering the different factors we’ve discussed, attracting top talent in the Philippines may seem like a challenging task. There are, however, many strategies you can employ to ensure the success of your efforts.

Prioritize comprehensive salaries and benefits

Since workers in the Philippines are willing to relocate for more gainful employment, you can easily appeal to local talent by making competitive compensation paramount. Besides offering healthy salaries and providing statutory benefits, consider additional ones such as:

  • Additional healthcare coverage or life insurance
  • Performance-based incentives
  • Work allowances
  • Yearly bonuses

Recruit more locally

Seeing how many Filipino employees, given the chance, would rather work in their hometowns, try to localize your recruitment efforts.

If your headquarters is right in the middle of Quezon City, for example, look for qualified candidates that live in the area.

You can, of course, take it as far as the other cities in Metro Manila, or even the provinces right beside it (think of Bulacan or Cavite), but retention may become an issue if your potential employees have to regularly endure hellish traffic and commutes just to work on-site.

Offer flexible work arrangements

As we mentioned, today’s Philippine workers greatly value flexibility. If your open role requires candidates to report to the office, offer them a more versatile set up.

For instance, you can allow them to work from home two to three days a week and spend the rest on-site. If that isn’t possible, give them more flexible hours, particularly in Metro Manila, as it lets them avoid the region’s most hectic rush hours.

Spot talent early

With the Philippines being home to thousands of higher education institutions that produce promising talent, you can discover and tap into qualified individuals early by:

  • Joining campus events: Establish your presence at university job fairs, career talks, and the like.
  • Developing internship programs: Offer students opportunities to gain real-world experience, as these can act as a pipeline that acquires and trains future hires.
  • Partnering with educational institutions: In collaboration with universities and colleges, tailor curricula that develop job-ready graduates able to meet industry needs.

Such activities also allow you to hire fresh graduates for company fit, then maximize their potential through mentoring and learning opportunities.

Establish an attractive employer brand

Employer branding is critical in a competitive job market like the Philippines. Besides excellent compensation, you must also showcase and offer other elements that make your organization a desirable workplace:

  • Mission and vision: Since Filipino employees are fueled by a clear “why”, a strong organizational purpose can help you attract some of the country’s most driven talent.
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR): Your business’s environmental initiatives and community involvement can add to its overall sense of purpose. Showcasing such activities, meanwhile, can compel socially conscious individuals to send an application.
  • Growth opportunities: Many Philippine workers leave their hometowns to earn a better living. Learning and development opportunities can entice those with similar motivations, and even retain them. You can share employee success stories to attract them as well.
  • Make work-life balance a part of your culture: Filipinos cherish their family and friends, so give them opportunities to spend time with them. Limit overtime hours, provide ample vacation leaves, and offer wellness resources as well.

HR planning is key

HR planning is extremely useful for navigating the Philippines’ competitive labor market. The process involves analyzing labor market trends and forecasting your organization’s staffing needs, then formulating plans of action that address them.

As a whole, it’s about aligning human capital with your company’s goals, and ensuring that the right people are filling the right jobs.

Leverage online job portals and social media

Recruiting via social media and online job boards such as LinkedIn, JobStreet, Kalibrr, and is essential in the Philippines, as a significant chunk of its population is active on such channels. To maximize your company’s online presence, do the following:

  • Craft compelling job descriptions: A job description delivers your company’s first impression, so clearly define a role’s responsibilities and qualifications, then include information about your culture and benefits to attract the right candidates.
  • Utilize various platforms: Platform usage varies based on demographics, so share updates, job listings, and employee testimonials on multiple. For instance, younger candidates are more active on Instagram and TikTok, while older ones on Facebook.

Streamline the recruitment process

60% of job seekers say they’ve abandoned an application due to a lengthy or complicated process. To streamline yours, consider these helpful tips:

  • Utilize technology: Specific HR tools let you manage job applications, track candidate progress, and streamline communication.
  • Improve your interviews: Typical questions will net you generic answers. Ask more specific ones that are appropriate for the open role, and check if the interviewee has questions for you as well.
  • Be timely and transparent: Regularly update candidates about their application status to show respect and maintain their interest.
  • Make it mobile-friendly: An astounding 98.8% of Filipinos access online material via mobile devices, so ensure your recruitment process accommodates such users.

Foster employee referrals

Current employees can be excellent ambassadors that help your organization gather talented individuals. Since workers in the Philippines value their relationships, they don’t mind putting in a referral for people they know, so long as they’re sure of the person’s competence.

To encourage your personnel to do the same, offer incentives or bonuses to those who can refer successful hires. This establishes a referral-friendly culture and compels your employees to share job openings with their networks.

Dig deeper to measure candidate quality

Candidate quality can become an issue when using conventional recruitment methods. Some can excel during interviews, for example, but do poorly when performing the actual job.

Your recruitment efforts in the Philippines, meanwhile, won’t be truly successful until the candidates you attract meet your standards. To ensure that they do, dig deeper and take them through a comprehensive evaluation process.

Profiles Asia Pacific’s extensive assessments can help you in that regard, as they measure various aspects that determine an applicant’s job and cultural fit, some of which include:

  • Their aptitude for learning
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Core behavioral traits
  • Teamwork and leadership
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving and strategic insight

If you want to maximize them, and confirm the quality of your potential employees, simply get in touch. We offer proven HR solutions as well!

Wrapping up—Successful recruitment in the Philippines requires an attention to detail

Improving your recruitment efforts in the Philippines requires a multifaceted approach, as you have to navigate the country’s nuances.

For example, many relocate to Metro Manila or overseas due to their financial situations and the lack of local opportunities. Yet, Filipinos also favor flexibility as they’ve gotten used to working from home and want to avoid exhausting commutes and awful traffic conditions.

Your strategies will vary due to such considerations, but by properly addressing them, your organization can attract and retain the talent it needs, despite the Philippines’ competitive labor market.

Published: January 17, 2013

Updated: May 29, 2024

About the Author: Joseph