Under pressure

Fertile ground
The Philippines could be a recruiting nirvana for short-staff ed businesses

Convenience stores, restaurants and coffee shops can’t compete with employers in the construction, mining and oil and gas sectors that offer better salaries and benefi ts during a boom. There are solutions to this problem, however. One of them is bringing in foreign workers.

But where can you find workers willing to take these jobs? If you ask Rob Everard that question, he’d say look to the Philippines. Everard owns a Tim Horton’s franchise in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, a growing community of over 7,500 people in Labrador. When he took over the business in the summer of 2009, he had difficulty getting anyone in the community to even apply for job openings. So he’s recruited heavily from the Southeast Asian nation to fill the ranks of his staff and currently employs 18 Filipinos (as well as three from India). “They are a big reason for the growth of our business,” he told CBC Radio.

What follows are a few statistics that shed some light on why Atlantic Canadian businesses owners starved for human capital might want to follow Everard’s lead.

105,720,644 Estimated population of the Philippines, making it the 13th most populous country in the world. It’s a young population as well, 56 per cent of Filipinos are between ages 15 and 54 (making up a large labour pool Canadian businesses can woo).

7% Estimated unemployment rate in the Philippines. However, 40 per cent of Filipinos work in the informal business sector, typically called “under the table” jobs, which can be less secure and stable because they are not regulated by the government.

129,000 Average family income in Philippines pesos, which sounds pretty good until you fi nd out one Canadian dollar was worth 41.75 pesos as this magazine went to press – or $3,089 per year.

4-5 million Number of Filipinos the CIA’s World Factbook says work overseas. The expats contribute a great deal to the Philippines economy, sending “large remittances” (i.e. the money they earned abroad) home.

26.5% Percentage of Filipinos who live below the poverty line.

Sources: The CIA World Factbook and the Philippines’ National Statistical Coordination Board

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