Let’s call a spade a spade. For the millions of Filipinos working abroad, many have to endure discrimination. The same thing is also happening online. In particular, I am referring to the atrocious pay rates. On exploiting Filipino Freelancers, is there anyone to blame?
Before continuing, let me first get three things out of the way.
1. There are remarkable clients. Sad to say, they belong to the minority.
2. Filipino freelancers are NOT employees. Instead, they are individuals providing professional services.
3. Clients hire online Filipino freelancers for two reasons: cutting cost or affordability.
Feel free to comment and let’s have a healthy discussion.
Are Filipino Online Freelancers Cheap?
Clients will not offer compensation based on their standards. If so, then why outsource? Of course, this is not absolute as there are jobs in which they need to hire people in other countries.
In most cases, the reason for hiring Filipinos is the WRONG PERCEPTION that they are cheap. On the contrary, I tend to view such client as a monkey offering a peanut. In other words, they are exploiting Filipino freelancers.
Some people will try to get away with what they can.
A client wants to hire Filipino freelancers to write a 500-word SEO article. It has to be high-quality, and this and that and so on and so forth. Oh, they are willing to pay up to $3 for each article.
How can clients offer such a fantastic opportunity?
As if that is not good enough, I also often see offers of $3 per 1,000 words. Such clients also often state how easy it is to finish each article in ONE hour.
I ought to keep my reaction private. After all, not everyone is comfortable with expletives.
A freelance marketplace is selling the idea that clients can hire Filipinos for as low as $300/month.
$300 is roughly PHP 15,000 per month. On the surface, it appears to be better than the minimum wage in the Philippines.
Of course, that is nonsense.
Clients do not pay for office space or other expenses such as electricity and ISP. They also do not pay for the computer and software needed. WORSE, they do not provide perks and benefits.
Let me do a little math.
A cheap but functional computer costs around $500. Being electronic, it has a one-year depreciation which is around $42/month. The most affordable PLDT DSL plan costs $26/month (3Mbps unlimited data or 10Mbps 100GB/month).
Excluding other costs, the computer and internet connection amounts to $68/month.
$300 – $68 = $232 or PHP 11,600.
At that rate, it is worse than the minimum wage of the Philippines. Clients do not pay a portion of the contribution to government services. Furthermore, Filipino freelancers lose benefits such as paid holidays and leaves.
I call that exploiting Filipino freelancers.
For this marketplace, they earn from the clients who pay a monthly fee to access the pool of freelancers. Hence, they convince clients that they will not find better value elsewhere. In other words, they are shortchanging the Filipinos.
Stop Exploiting Filipino Freelancers
Let me share some of my experiences. I cannot speak for other freelancers except content writers. Even at $500 per month, it is not easy to keep the excellent writers.
In the end, fair compensation is up to the clients and freelancers to discuss.
It is understandable that beginners may be more willing to accept low pay rates. In time, they gain experience and become more proficient and efficient. As they increase their value, what started as fair may no longer be valid.
I hate to see entities exploiting Filipino freelancers. I especially dislike individuals pushing their agenda at the expense of my people.
Forget the employer/employee relationship. If that was the case, as I alluded to earlier, then Filipino freelancers should have benefits.
I implore clients to find people to work with and reward the freelancers on the merits of their skills, not race.