GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The phenomenon of Filipino workers in the GCC
Paper Proposal Text :
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies are home to a considerable number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) for the good of both sides.

Benefits entail enhancing competitiveness for desirable jobs in GCC economies. Also, the Philippine's economy earns a substantial amount of remittances, in turn helping meeting needs of a sizable number of families. Conversely, GCC carriers benefit from sustained businesses provided by movements of OFWs.

Much to their credit, Filipinos have largely succeeded in making the first impression in the GCC regarding their working habits. At the onset, OFWs are admired for possessing traits of the likes of productivity, discipline, customer service, attentive to details, and ease of communicating in English; other qualities entail being presentable in terms of attire, applying cosmetics, and cleanliness, and viewed as fit rather than fat.

Still, another desirable quality of Filipinos relates to the practice of spending in local economies rather than focusing on saving; this quality is not necessarily true of all other foreign workers.

Against this backdrop, OFWs popular for employment in diverse sectors in GCC economies including medical professionals, automotive workers, engineers, telecommunications and transportation, to name a few such areas. And increasingly Filipinas are traveling to GCC economies to work as housemaids and care takers, partly reflecting job market conditions in the Philippines.

Amongst others, presence of Filipinas helps in the way of streamlining the demographic make-up of total workforce. Available statistics suggest that the number of OFWs stands at 2.1 million, divided between 1.1 million males and 1 million females.

Nonetheless, males compromise the majority of the national workforce in GCC countries partly reflecting traditional factors. A good number of graduating female nationals confine themselves to household matters after marriage to the loss of local economies. So is the case, as females are noted for their academic achievements.

Official Filipino figures suggest that Saudi Arabia is the second best source of remittances sent to the Philippines by OFWs, only after the US. This comes as no surprising, as Saudi Arabia serves as the largest hirer of OFWs.

In fact, GCC nationals find themselves competing with OFWs for certain desirable jobs. Undoubtedly, competition posed by OFWs for jobs is a healthy matter.

Still, OFWs must now cope with challenges relating to implementation of the Nitaqat scheme dealing with regularization, and indigenization or Saudization of certain jobs in the kingdom.

On the other hand, presence of OFWs is not without challenges to GCC economies including coping with minimum wages imposed by Filipino authorities. Certainly, the Filipino authorities cannot be blamed for advancing the well-being of their nationals working abroad.

Undoubtedly, business is a two-way street, something clearly applying in the case of OFWs in GCC economies. GCC carriers benefit from movement of OFWs in and out of the Philippines. It is suggested that at the moment Manila-Dubai is the largest long-haul sector out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Clearly, presence of OFWs represents as a win-win situation for the Philippines and GCC countries.