Can Pinoy Software Companies Stop the Exodus to Singapore?

A fellow Java developer showed me this article: RP software group slams poaching by Singapore recruiters.

Singapore companies even hire fresh grads now. I hear (no proof) that they are offer

Why would Pinoy IT professionals still stay in the country given they can earn much more abroad? Singapore is a short flight away and in the same timezone.

What can local companies do to retain their talent? Can they afford to raise salaries to match the foreign companies – and increase their costs?

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  • “”The world looks to Singapore as a role model in terms of law and order, discipline, and progressive government policies. This is why the PSIA believes that, in the spirit of fair trade, the Singapore government can make improvements in regulating the hiring and recruitment process in the Philippines,” Taruc said.”

    Futile effort ito, dapat gawin nilang competitive ang salary package ng mga IT workers, katulad ng ginagawa sa India. These people are avoiding to address the root problem which is LOW INCOME for IT workers!

  • If the PSIA can increase the base salaries of our local software engineers, why would the engineers even consider going to Singapore and be away from their family?

    Isn’t this is common sense? Oh well – as they say, common sense isn’t common.

    “To address the situation, the PSIA has requested the Singapore government to impose additional requirements on Filipinos securing work visas, including a copy of the applicant’s resignation letter and clearance from his or her latest employer.”

    And make it more difficult for Singapore to get their much needed work force? Absurd!

    “”The world looks to Singapore as a role model in terms of law and order, discipline, and progressive government policies. This is why the PSIA believes that, in the spirit of fair trade, the Singapore government can make improvements in regulating the hiring and recruitment process in the Philippines,” Taruc said.”

    And oh, why can’t PSIA do the same for US and the rest of the world?

  • I meant

    “Isn’t this common sense?”…

  • Alistair Israel

    “Can they afford to raise salaries to match the foreign companies – and increase their costs?”

    I think the question now is, “Can local companies afford to keep operating with lack of talent brought about by their own non-competitive compensation packages?”

    This all resounds nicely with current discussion over at PhilJUG.

    I mean, if local companies will continue to view their talent (whether IT or not) as ‘dispensable’, then they really shouldn’t be surprised that they can’t find, attract or keep any.

    So, increase cost by increasing salaries and risk being less competitive in the global outsourcing arena – or become unable to compete in the first place for lack of skilled manpower?

  • Bukoman

    kalakohan….ano ito…forced workers to work with companies who pay their employees peanuts?…..

    karma yan sa mga IT companies who think na all employees are dispensible….

    buti nga sa inyo…

  • Kamote Coder

    “This is why the PSIA believes that, in the spirit of fair trade, the Singapore government can make improvements in regulating the hiring and recruitment process in the Philippines,” Taruc said.

    Nuts! This is the most ridiculous idea I have ever read! Why don’t they focus on providing a competitive employment package to keep good talents from leaving the country. Aside from the lousy salary packages, the work environment is unhealthy and unproductive, putting a lot of stress on IT workers.

  • Bukoman » July 28th, 2007 17:45
    >>kalakohan….ano ito…forced workers to work >>with companies who pay their employees >>peanuts?…..

    To be fair, the article only said that PSIA wants to ensure that a proper transition takes place. Nothing about banning people from going to Singapore.

  • In Singapore, the citizens have no civil rights. It’s not really an authoritarian state, but sure does act like one, albeit to a more positive extent. You can ask your friends or anyone has been/lived in Singapore.

    This should be a primary reason why Filipino IT professionals should stay here. It may not pay as much, but you are not seen as second-class citizens.

  • But if that what it takes for peace & order…

    which the European companies are looking for.

    Those banks/financial institutions are the ones setting up shop in Singapore, and hiring from the Philippines.

    On the other hand, I believe it’s more feasible to put up a tech startup in the Philippines. But it has to be for a global market. And the big question is, where to get the funding?

  • Rajiv Tinsulanondo

    Singapore is a fine place. A very fine place.

  • they’re bringing in the money .. that’s important for the economy.

  • JavaCoder

    The views of Taruc is one sided-view. That is from the business owners. He is telling the company problems openly, reflecting how they poorly manage their business.

    What he proposes? Additional papers for those IT professionals coming to Singapore. Is that a solution? He thinks badly and proposes badly. No wonder, he has company problems. If he is a good manager, he should have a good contingency plan that whenever someone from his team leaves, he would still meet his deadlines.

    To address the issue, if they pay as competitively as what other companies do (at least), would the IT professionals leave?

  • In the game industry, we’re also suffering from a brain drain where some of the best Pinoy game developers are leaving for Singapore and beyond.

    The question we should be asking ourselves though, is what steps can we do to keep our developers happy so that they won’t leave the country?

    It’s not going to be easy especially since the compensation is much higher in SG. But I think if we frame the problem this way, we can come up with solutions to keep our country competitive. A lot of people leave only after being disillusioned by the working conditions/environment locally. After all, it’s a lot more than just pay that keeps a software developer happy.

  • I’ve been contemplating for awhile if ever I will work in Singapore but in the end, you can find companies based on the Philippines that offer very competitive salary.

  • Was in singapore last month to visit my bestfriend. While there, found more than 10 of our college batchmates were there (i’m sure there were more).

    Three of them jumped the gun, got a 6-month Singapore pass (now Singpaore offers 12-months) for Pinoys to go to Singapore and find a job there. Imagine that!? Singapore encourages jobless Pinoys to go to Singapore and find a job there!

    It took them from 1 to 2 months to find a job. They say some friends have found a job even before setting foot in Singapore (an increasingly common trend).

    More Singapore stories here: Stories and Questions: Pinoy IT professionals in Singapore

    I agree with Gabby. Pinoys want to be happy. Money is just one aspect, but there are other reasons for people to stay or to leave.

    Career growth (good projects, good training, good exposure/opportunities) is one area we can improve in.

    Let’s not complain and let’s not ask anybodyelse (like Singapore) to make the change. WE must make the change.

    What can WE do?

  • I do believe that in our wired world right now, where you work doesn’t anymore matters. But hey, there are still people up in the high places which thinks of IT as 19th century economy.

  • jan2x, it does matter when the Filipino companies and business owners can’t find people to hire.

    Of course, from the employee’s point of view, working in Singapore/abroad is superior.

  • @Miguel – It sounds like Filipino companies are lacking suitable Filipinos to hire. I doubt it is the case. I don’t have statistics right now, but judging at how many interviews each day my company constantly do, I doubt it is happening. The problem really is over-saturation. It is the same reason Accenture opened a branch in Cebu.

  • India has a lot of technical gifted grad’s every year. This has been brought about by school program’s and initiatives coupled by the govt desire to bring in the investment to their country. Thousands of PHD grad’s every year has been flooding India and now China is coming over investing in Education & infrastructure. Compared sa Pinas kaka graduate lang feeling the best na sila. PHD nga yung basihang statistics ng mga multinationals eh.

    Try to check our country daw on what bold initiatives our government and education institutions has initiated? Panay rally ang nasa isip parati, palit ng heads of state.

    If you are to read D. Posadas “Rice & Chips” it would surely answer all your queries as to why these countries has been attracting large multinationals to invest in their country and attract coders and developers from different parts of the world including Pinas. You cant as well demand from Philippine based companies to raise the salary’s of IT’s here since we are not really that competitive compared to India, European coders, Israel tech freaks or even hongkong based geeks.

    This is has also been the reason why Cebu wanted to be tech hub 3-5 yrs. from now. As you can see a numerous numbers of Multinationals has been investing on cebu and this is why one of my projects is to release Inovative Cebu.

    Great interaction.

  • The problem mainly with Philippines is that we are projecting an image of our country as blue-collar workers. No offense to these jobs, but we are projecting as Nurses, Domestic Helpers.

    India on the other hand are projecting to be IT professionals. One of my friends told me why India is advancing in that area is because there are pirated IT books sold at a very cheap prices. We don’t have one in our country. Even without computers these Indians learn about computers earlier. But the problem is, as India progresses so is the issue of salary, no wonder foreign firms are now closing in on China.

  • My most fulfilling working years were in the Philippines. It was also there where I gained the deepest friendships and fun times.

    Working abroad in Singapore or elsewhere will get you more money.

    But working in the Philippines will give you the most happiness.

    So you can choose to follow where the money is, or where you can be with family and friends, earn enough, and get the most joy. It is up to you.

  • Magsasaka

    Agree with Rob. Been here in Singapore for 11 yrs now.
    Happiest time of my life was in the Phils working for a telco – IT dept. I was able to see different parts of our country and was truly amazed with it.

    Strangely enough, I ended up here in SG.

    If you ask me about being happy at work here in Singapore – NO , but the pay is pretty good. Kaya eto tyaga lang.

    SG sa ngayon po ay nangangailangan ng tao para ipalit sa tumatanda nitong populasyon at sa mga singaporeans na hindi na makatiis sa pamumuhay dito na karamihan ay pumupunta ng Oz, NZ or Canada.

    Maraming mga pinoy na ang mga permanent resident dito yung iba nag citizen na nga, if you could compare that ten years back , wow pag PR ka ay para kang lumusot sa butas ng karayom. Ngayon it is relatively easy to acquire one.

    Di kataka taka na ang mga balita dito tungkol sa Pilipinas ay negative. Ngayon ang mga krimen at kung ano ano pang baho na nilalabas ng inquirer ay nasa straits or nasa Channel News Asia.

    This is just to scare the shits of the Pinoys into thinking of going back to inang bayan.

    About work, do your best to learn what the current environment offers since there’s no security of tenure. NOBODY’S INDISPENSIBLE.
    The locals see you as somebody who took away another Singaporean’s Job.
    Maraming mga taxi driver ang dating mga officers sa banko or mga executives ng mga manufacturing companies or MNCs before their companies uprooted their operations from here in SG to China.

    I do agree that the employee should tender their resignations formally as not to rattle the status quo.

    Yung mga employer naman eh , alagaan nyo naman yung mga empleyado nyo.

    Kung ayaw nyong bumalik ng Pinas , sakto, dito kayo sa Singapore for desensitization!

  • Free Trade Rocks!!!

    Lets learn to compete and find ways to make it for our people productive, earn a competitive wage and go head to head with India & SG!

    This is a FACT OF LIFE – Learn to Live with it, work with it or get crushed in the futile efforts to bitch & moan nad resist the tide!

  • Ignoramus

    Yeah Free trade rocks ………only for the RICH countries!

    Nag-resign ka ba ng maayos or bigla ka na lang umiskapo at ngayon nakukunsyenya ka ?

    You reap what you sow…

  • They can also setup shop in the Philippines. Now, we have to figure out how to make sure that SG managers feel at home in the Philippines (in terms of infrastructure and security. we have the better night life so we are covered on that part) 🙂

  • So, UK companies outsource to SG, who outsource to PH, who outsource to … ? Just kidding.

  • Frankie Fuentes

    I challenge IT employers and businessmen to debunk all the arguments here, but I doubt it’s going to happen. Now you see, this is what do we call, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR, DEAL WITH IT!!!!

  • wewewe

  • Since the mid-90’s the Singapore has been “poaching” from our pool of IT talent. But how hiring fresh grads? that sounds pretty desperate to me.

  • davidjones

    I also met a Pinoy who worked for a major newspaper and later Korea Tourism Organization.who worked for a multinational company here and is currently working in Qatar. Last I heard, his former boss is courting him to come back here. I hope so… Most of the Pinoys I know here are working as engineers.
    David Jones


  • I think that we are really that good. I believe that Filipino IT professionals exhibit outstanding behavior and attitude at work that is why we are preferred by most recruiters.

    Two ways to stop the exodus anywhere:

    1. Ensure Job security
    2. Provide better compensation package (salaries, benefits, and training)

    Can companies do it? A handful of companies can (especially foreign owned) while majority obviously can’t. At the end, it boils down to government and the economic status of our country. Won’t dig deeper coz it will be an unending post if we talk about those topic.

  • Yogota

    My goodness.. What the hell are you thinking?This post seriously makes me angry. How dare you encourage more Filipinos to work in Singapore? You will never know the situation my friend that because of this free scheme and your message , we have a high percentage of unemployed locals. Can you please spare a thought for them? We know that your country is in a state of poverty but let me tell you , the locals here will hate Filipinos more if more of them came and take away our precious jobs!!