Yes, you read the title correctly…
Do you hate Filipinos?
What do you mean, Bob, of course I don’t hate Filipinos! If I hated Filipinos, I probably would never visit this site!
Unemployment is high in the USA, and in other Western Countries. In the USA, the official unemployment rate is hovering somewhere around 9.5 or 9.6%. The true unemployment rate is probably quite a bit higher, I have seen some economists estimate it near 20%. Those who have given up looking for a job do not count in the unemployment figures, and thus, the real number of people who are unemployed is always higher than the official unemployment rate. There are also a lot of people who are “underemployed”. In other words, people who have taken part time work, or who have taken jobs well below what they could do. For example, a guy who is a highly educated engineer who is working at McDonald’s. That fellow would certainly be underemployed, but when it comes to the unemployment figures, that engineer working at McDonald’s is not counted at all, because he has a job, even if it means that he is flipping burgers for a “living”.
Yes, Bob, we all know that a lot of people are suffering and have no jobs, what does this have to do with hating Filipinos?
Well, the fact is, a lot of those American jobs (and other countries) are now being done by Filipinos. I’m talking about outsourcing. I’m talking about call centers. I’m talking about business process outsourcing (BPO).
When I first moved to the Philippines more than 10 years ago, as far as I am aware there was no outsourcing to the Philippines. Outsourcing at that time was just catching on, and India was the country where a lot of that outsourced work ended up. The big place in India that was getting those outsourced jobs was Bangalore. There may have been a few jobs being done in the Philippines, but it certainly was not a major industry, and the Philippines was not a major player in the outsourcing industry. Things have changed a lot, though.
Today, every large city in the Philippines has Call Centers and other types of outsourced jobs coming from the USA, Canada, the UK, and elsewhere. In the past few days, I have talked to a few people who are active in IT circles in Davao City to see if anybody knew exactly how many outsourced jobs were being done in Davao. Everybody told me the same thing – they don’t know the answer, because the companies doing such work keep the information as a tightly held secret.
Suffice it to say, though, that there are a LOT of people employed in Davao City alone in these types of operations. I know of one company here in Davao that had 4,000 employees doing call center work about 5 years ago. Since that time the company has moved to a much larger location, so I can only assume that they have more than 4,000 employees now. Also, there are a lot more companies doing call center work in Davao, not just this one. While I don’t know a number, I would guess that the number of people with call center and other outsourced type jobs in Davao City would number in the tens of thousands. And, Davao is not the biggest city when it comes to Call Center type activities. Manila (and it’s suburbs), Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and lots of other places have call centers now. Even smaller cities like General Santos and Iligan have call centers. I recently read an article about a very small town in the Philippines that already has several call centers in operation. The number of people working in the call center industry in the entire country must number at least in the hundreds of thousands. It would not surprise me if it were over 1 million employees nationwide.
So, in my conversations with Americans over the years, I have gotten some real negative feedback about jobs being outsourced to other countries. Of course that would be the case, because if you have no job, or if you are an engineer who is flipping burgers, you would rightly feel put out by people in the India or the Philippines who have taken over millions of US jobs. So, that is why I ask, do you hate Filipinos? Do you hate them for taking your job away?
One thing I often hear from Americans whom I have an opportunity to visit with over the years is that they hate it when they call a support center and they can tell that an Indian has answered the phone. They feel like a person from India cannot understand the issues that they are calling about, or is unable to help them fix the problem. Oddly, the people I have talked to are often very happy when they get a Filipino on the phone, though, at a call center! Actually, this does not surprise me, though, because the people I am talking to are usually here visiting the Philippines and have taken the time to get together with me during their visit. So, these people have some ties to the Philippines. Maybe their wife is Filipino, or maybe they worked here in the Peace Corp or something, and thus formed a bond with Filipinos, and are regular visitors to the country. So, these people are happy to see some extra employment in the Philippines, helping the Filipino people succeed in life. They sure hate it when somebody in Bangalore answers that phone call, but they are very happy with it is answered by somebody in the Philippines!
The average American, though, I believe, probably could care less if it is an Indian or a Filipino on the other end of the phone, they only know that it is one less person in the USA who is gainfully employed, and they resent that. So, I do believe that a lot of average Americans do have resentment or even hate toward Filipinos who are taking jobs away from the USA. Those of us who have some family ties in the Philippines, or good friends in the Philippines are a lot less likely to feel that way, though.
One thing to keep in mind, though. In reality, it is not the fault of the Filipino worker that he is now doing a job that used to be done by an American. I mean, he has a job, and he is happy about that. But, it is the American company who fired his US staff and moved the jobs to the Philippines, so if there is anybody that the average American should be upset with it is the US company who is outsourcing work. And, yes, I do understand that most, or at least many Americans are very upset with US companies who are doing this.
Speaking of outsourcing work to India, or the Philippines, have you seen the new US TV comedy called “Outsourced?” I have seen it, and I kind of enjoyed it when I saw it. It certainly takes some cultural misunderstandings and makes some rather funny situations out of them. Did you know that the concept was originally a movie, also called “Outsourced?” Indeed, I saw the movie last year, and it was pretty enjoyable. If you have a chance to see the movie I recommend it.
So, what do you think about Filipinos taking a lot of US jobs? Does it anger you, or are you happy to see some good jobs start coming to the Philippines? Tell me what you think, and let’s talk about it.