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Spotlight on the Philippines

The Philippines have made the news this week due to their strong economy and improving employment stats. However, figures aren’t all they have to smile about as Filipinos have also been voted the happiest workers in SE Asia, according to the Asian Journal.

But first, let’s look at those employment figures. The government has reported that in addition to a booming economy, both the amount of Filipinos without jobs and the number of those looking for better work dropped in July to an 11-year low.

Falling unemployment rates

According to the July 2016 Labour Force Survey (LFS), conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and reported on Nation Multimedia, the unemployment rate was found to have declined to 5.4 per cent during the first month of the Duterte administration, compared with the 6.5 per cent unemployment rate recorded in July of last year.

Moreover, in a statement made by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the unemployment rate is now at its lowest since 2005. Currently the Philippines have an employment rate of a huge 94.6 per cent, which is equivalent to 41 million Filipinos in the workforce. This, too, is at its highest in July since 2011.

More interestingly however is the change in the underemployment rate, which fell from 21 per cent to 17.3 per cent, also making it the lowest figure in 11 years. Underemployment is a key concern for gradates globally, but this lowering figure is indicative of an improving job market.

Happiest workers

According to the 2016 Happiness Index Report, compiled by JobStreet, Filipinos take first place for happiness in ASEAN with an impressive 73 per cent happy with their current roles. After the Filipinos, came the Indonesians (71 per cent), Thai (61 per cent), Vietnamese (60) and Chinese workers in Hong Kong (57 per cent).

The report follows a particularly prosperous economic period (the economy saw an increase of 7 per cent), but there more happening here than profit alone. Participants were asked to complete a satisfaction rate on a 10-scale, with the 12,796 Filipinos asked averaging at 6.25.

When divided by industry, it was found that state workers were happiest (6.7), followed by those in the education and oil sectors (scoring 6.53 and 6.49 respectively).

Philip A. Gioca, the country manager for, noted that employees who were just starting in their respective industries (namely recent university graduates) and those in higher-up positions were found to be the happiest. Part of this positivity, he added was due to Filipinos being “genetically” happy workers who “see their future brighter than the rest.”

He also emphasised how camaraderie, quality of life and convenience of job location all played a role in employee happiness.

“When output is growing, productivity is there, targets are met, and you can see happier people,” Gioca said. “It’s actually a virtuous circle. When you have happy people, you have more productive people. And then the companies grow, and they want to invest more in their people.”

Don’t forget that, as a UK graduate, you are in a unique position to really utilise and enjoy this cultural boom, so check out our job listings today and see what opportunities may be waiting for you in ASEAN.


By David Gee Published: September 23, 2016


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