Here’s why the Philippines has the most freelancers in Southeast Asia
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Here’s why the Philippines has the most freelancers in Southeast Asia

LAWMAKERS in the Philippines recently passed the Telecommuniting Act which provides equal pay and benefits for workers who worked in the office or from home, making the option of freelancing even more attractive for the job market.

With over one million freelancers, — many of which were telecommuters, individual consultants or service providers — the Philippines is the top country in Southeast Asia for project-based work, ranking fourth globally next India, the US and Pakistan, according to job-search website Freelancer.com

Between January and February this year, the country saw an additional four million applications for freelance jobs from 26 million with millennials aged 18 to 37 making up the bulk of the 30.8 million applicants.

Freelancer.com vice president for international Sebastian Siseles recently told ABS-CBN News that freelancers earn P10,000 (US$188) per project which they can do while working remotely on the beach or while taking care of their kids.

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“The ‘up to you lifestyle’ is a key factor that gives them the freedom to have a good work-life balance,” was quoted as saying.

He said even though freelancers must secure their own insurance and take care of their taxes, their work arrangements allow them more flexibility in spending their money.

“It implies a lot of freedom,” he said.

“There are more errands to take care of, but the time you save not commuting, you can invest in taking care of these errands from time to time.”

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Job seekers queue to fill in forms at a job fair for call centre agents during the International Contact Center Conference and Expo at the SMX Covention Center in Manila on Sept 18, 2012. Source: AFP

High demand

According to Freelancer.com data, many employers are searching for professionals who specialise in data entry, PHP and Photoshop.

The site found that most freelancers came from Metro Manila, specifically in Quezon City, Makati, Manila, and Pasig.

Siseles told the Manila Times that Filipino freelancers that have attracted attention and business from abroad.

“These can be seen in the types of skills that are most sought after by employers and the types of jobs being done on the Freelancer.com: jobs in web development, graphic design and Excel are very popular, for example.

“Additionally, English is widely spoken in the Philippines, which definitely helps when it comes to communicating clearly with employers.”

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Siseles said more than 100,000 companies are Freelancer.com who continue to hire Filipinos and used Paypal, bank transfers, and credit cards, as popular payment platforms.

And even with over one million freelancers, the community of out-of-office workers remains small relative to the over 100 million population, but Siseles said global trens were shifting in turning it into a status quo.

“The freelancing industry is still young, and it is very likely we’ll see immense growth in the years to come. Freelancers will continue to play an increasingly important part in the broader global labour market,” he said.

“Forbes predicts that by 2027, the majority of the workforce will be freelancers all over the globe. According to the Q3 Freelancer Fast 50 report, web development, internet applications, social media, and creatives dominate the online labour market.”

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