Why Overseas Filipino Professionals Won’t Return to the Philippines

While more overseas Filipino professionals want to return to the Philippines, some factors stop them from doing so.

A recent poll conducted by Robert Walters Philippines shows that 62% of overseas Filipino professionals want to relocate back to the country in the next five years. This figure is an increase from two years back when only 54% of respondents expressed any desire to return home. 

A mix of personal and economic reasons have been given to explain the urge to head home. Poll results show that 56% of those who want to return are motivated by the desire to take care of their family. The remaining 44% are motivated by their strong emotional, social, and cultural connection to the country. 

Moreover, many overseas Filipino professionals have a positive outlook on the country’s economy, which contributes to their desire to head home. 46% of those with a positive outlook cite the Philippines’ economic stability, growth prospects, and opportunities for entrepreneurship or business projects as encouraging factors for their desire to return.

However, despite all these, there are poll respondents who have expressed reluctance to return to the Philippines from overseas. In fact, 30% of the respondents have absolutely no intention to return to the country. 

But what exactly is stopping them from heading home? 

3 Reasons Why Overseas Filipino Professionals Refuse to Come Back

Low Confidence in the Country’s Economic Stability

Poll results show that 38% of its respondents are reluctant to return home due to economic concerns, while 80% reason that overseas economies are more stable than the Philippine economy. 

Some also believe that there is a more favorable salary-to-cost-of-living ratio in other countries. Aside from this, better government initiatives and incentives in foreign countries also contribute to the reluctance to return to the country. 

Salary and Compensation

Unsurprisingly, salary is also a major contributing factor that hinders overseas Filipino professionals from returning. In fact, 75% of respondents who don’t want to return to the Philippines have emphasized the differences in salary and compensation as a major issue for them. 

What’s more, 33% of respondents said they would accept a compensation package from a Philippine-based company—only if it meets certain conditions. For them, the salary and compensation package should be market-aligned for their experience and the role being offered.

Lower Standard of Living Conditions

Those reluctant to return home also believe that there is a lower standard of living in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, 56% of the respondents have provided this as a factor that contributes to their reluctance. 

According to the poll, this impression of the country’s living conditions is based on public facilities (like transportation, roads, and infrastructures), security concerns, and community resources.

Why Returning Overseas Filipino Professionals Benefits Employers

The increasing number of overseas Filipino professionals who want to head home despite these challenges can help the Philippine economy. As Robert Walters Philippines Director Alejandro Perez-Higuero notes, “As business priorities undergo continuous transformations, it becomes imperative to address the ongoing shortage of highly skilled talent in the country.” 

Because of this, the return of overseas Filipino professionals is believed to be a very valuable opportunity for local employers. This is because these professionals usually return home with enhanced technical skills, which they acquired during their time abroad. These enhanced skills are valuable assets to employers here in the Philippines. 

Returning professionals are also seen as having a more adaptive mindset. “Their agility in responding to the changing business landscape can provide a significant advantage to organizations as they can come up with innovative strategies to help achieve business objectives,” Perez-Higuero explains. 

How Employers Can Help Encourage Filipino Professions to Return

Employers play a crucial role in encouraging overseas Filipino professionals to return home. How? By addressing the prevalent issue of salary and compensation packages that hinder their return. 

No employee wants to feel that they are not properly compensated for their experience and the skills that they can offer a company. This is why employers should make it a point to offer salary and compensation packages that are market-aligned and match the job description. 

Benefits are also a huge factor that employers should not disregard as they influence an employee’s decision to stay, leave, or even apply for a job in the company in the first place. With that, employers who can afford to give great benefits to employees should not skimp out on them if they want to entice returning professionals to work in the country instead. 

At the end of the day, the employer-employee relationship is give-and-take. Returning Filipino professionals are willing to give their time, skills, talent, and effort in exchange for proper compensation and a healthy work environment. If local employers want to take what these professionals have to offer, they must be willing to give what is fair and due to them.