I spent my day reviewing an employment contract. The offer is generous enough that I can accept it right away, except for very few queries.
A few months ago, I wrote about being an expat.
Life of an expat (expatriate) is defined by contracts. Term of employment can be as short as three months or if you’re lucky enough, a year or two. It could only be me but being an expat is being in a temporary setting. You’ll be leaving the country as well as the friends or the loved ones you meet along the way sooner than you think. It’s a crazy set-up but I am already used to it for almost four years.
Contracts. Will I ever get tired of reading them? I must not. They play an important role in defining an employment. Every detail written on it should be studied carefully, and before signing them you have to raise concerns and doubts if you have one.
For almost two weeks now, I am unemployed. Am I tempted to apply locally? My family and friends repeatedly ask that question and I have been answering consistently, NO! Let me tell you why. I started working in 2000 as a Production Supervisor and as a Process (Design) Engineer in 2002. For comparison purposes, I’ll base everything from the latter.
- Original Salary (2002) = 1.0
- After 3 yrs (2005) = 2.0
- 1st abroad = 11.8
- 2nd abroad = 16.6
- Latest offer = 21.3
If I choose to work in a local company, my annual salary can be achieved in one month’s time abroad. Some may raise the issue of loyalty to one’s country but come on, engineers are way underpaid in the Philippines. Perhaps, the roles of engineers are not yet fully realized by the government and even by the companies that need our skills and services.
It’s a disheartening fact but even licensed engineers are hired through agencies. Yes, agencies meant for local employment only. And by contract too. Tsk, tsk. Sometimes I wonder why other industries could give a higher salary even to undergraduates but some engineering firms (design and manufacturing) couldn’t pay us engineers decently. Present fact is that engineers are slowly leaving the Philippines.
Design companies abroad have high demand for engineers and local companies worry about the lack of experienced engineers in the country. But who’s to blame? Each engineer looks for a chance in his career advancement and at the same time to reasonably earn enough. I heard that one local engineering firm is willing to pay returning OFW’s in dollar rate just to work with them. It’s tempting but I guess it’s a bit too late now since most engineers are aware of the opportunities that await them on the other side of the world. And why only now? Of course, these companies are afraid that no client will ask for their services if manpower and technical knowledge are insufficient.
I know that there are difficulties in living abroad, the culture differences, discrimination, homesickness, being away with your family and the likes but as long as you know how to take care of yourself, these won’t be a problem. It is much better than working locally with a very slow career progression, blame it on internal politics or politics within the company, and with a salary lower than your tuition fee.
I hope in the years to come, the government can give more focus and importance for further development of the engineering profession in the country like what it is currently giving to other professions. Or am I just not aware to any of them? LOL!
And yes, I will still choose to work abroad as an OFW, for the time being unless a miracle happens.