OFW Dreams Declining? Only 54 Percent of Filipinos Are Willing to Work Abroad


We’ve already discussed talent trends on a global scale, but now, let’s zero in on Filipinos and their desires to work and live abroad. JobStreet and Seek Asia, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group and the Network, have laid out the general job climate of Filipinos during this pandemic era.

According to JobStreet’s Decoding Global Talent report, an average of 54 percent of Filipinos would like to work abroad. If we break down the talent segments in the Philippine pool of respondents, 61 percent of highly educated Filipinos and 57 percent of young Filipino employees are willing to work abroad.

These numbers are notably lower than the results of previous years’ reports. In 2018, 75 percent of Filipino wanted to work abroad, down from 86 percent in 2014. But the Philippines’ 2020 average is still higher than the global average, in which only 50 percent of the world’s workforce were willing to leave their countries to work overseas. The pandemic has certainly dampened dreams of aspiring OFWs and expats, but that's still more than half of Filipino respondents who say they are willing to brave the risks to work outside the Philippines.

JobStreet’s report broke down the jobs and industries of respondents and found that of the 23 “roles” that were surveyed, 22 want to work abroad. These roles willing to work abroad include: those with engineering and technical jobs, digitalization and automation jobs, IT and technology jobs, arts and creative jobs, health and medicine jobs, and even students. Only the respondents who were not working responded that they didn’t want to work abroad, but those with current jobs were more willing to leave the country.


As for where these Filipinos want to go, Canada tops the list.

Here are the top 10 work destinations specifically for Filipinos:

  1. Canada
  2. Australia
  3. New Zealand
  4. Japan
  5. U.S.A.
  6. Singapore
  7. South Korea
  8. U.A.E.
  9. Switzerland
  10. Germany

Due to the pandemic, remote working has become normalized, leading to more employers hiring foreign remote workings, including those in the Philippines. While 54 percent of Filipinos would like to live and work abroad, only 49 percent are willing to work for remote foreign employers while staying in the Philippines.

The top 10 countries for remote employment for Filipinos are:

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. S.A.
  4. Japan
  5. New Zealand
  6. Singapore
  7. K.
  8. South Korea
  9. A.E.
  10. Germany

However, these are top 10 countries prioritizing the Philippines for remote employment:

  1. Belize
  2. Cuba
  3. Brunei
  4. Palestine
  5. Togo
  6. Canada
  7. Afghanistan
  8. Andorra
  9. Antigua & Barbuda
  10. Argentina

Suffice to say, global talent trends have certainly changed due to the pandemic, affecting even the fervent dreams of Filipinos to work abroad.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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