A lot has been written about the Philippines freelance boom in recent times, so much so that the phenomenon has earned its own moniker. Article after article references the ‘Philippines gig economy’, a catch-all phrase that paints a picture of tech-savvy millennials embracing the freedom of being their own bosses and ticking off jobs for overseas clients when and where it best suits them.
The growth of the country’s freelance industry cannot be understated. On the back of a global pandemic that saw remote work barriers shattered, up to 1.5 million Filipinos are registered on international online platforms for freelancing services1 and the country is among the fastest-growing gig markets in the world2. In the words of Creative Economy Council of the Philippines President Paolo Mercado: “As Filipinos are renowned for their creativity, work ethic and customer service orientation, it is not surprising that more and more international businesses are willing to pay for Filipino talent.”3
Rarely has a truer word been spoken. Filipinos are excellent workers but in the rush to talk up the nation’s freelance market, too many people are failing to mention that not all is as it seems and, in turn, many onshore businesses are ending up frustrated, disillusioned and out of pocket.
There is a lot to like about offshoring – reduced costs, increased efficiencies, improved productivity – but there is a big difference between partnering with an established outsourcing provider and teaming with an independent freelancer. While the former comes with the checks and balances an onshore firm would expect of a professional organization, the latter exposes them to risks that too often result in tears.
With studies showing 75% of new freelancers joined the gig economy to achieve financial stability during COVID-194, there are now more than 1 billion freelancers in the world5 and, to be fair, many deliver what is asked of them. That said, there are clearly risks for businesses that choose to link directly with Filipino freelancers rather than have the peace of mind that comes from partnering with an outsourcing provider. Removing that middle layer undoubtedly opens up risks and too many companies only learn that after the damage has been done.
2023 is also shaping as the year the return-to-office debate could turn on its head. Discover why businesses need to be doing all they can to be employers of choice and playing hardball may not help their cause.
 Insight: Philippines Freelance Market 2022 Report identifies uphill trend of Filipino freelancers with overseas clients - adobo Magazine Online
 The Philippines Freelance Report 2022 (payoneer.com)
 1.5M Filipinos now freelancing overseas – Manila Bulletin (mb.com.ph)
 40 Gig Economy Statistics You Must Learn: 2023 Market Share & Data Analysis - Financesonline.com
 99+ Freelance Economy Statistics (2022) (parpera.com)
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