OFWs With Philippine Flag

The Highest Paying Jobs For OFWs

Manpower and skilled professionals are two of the biggest exports of the Philippines to the world. With a promise of better employment conditions and desirable career paths, overseas jobs have become appealing to many Filipino professionals. That is why the number of professionals and skilled workers is growing relentlessly year-on-year.  

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad was estimated at 2.2 million, with Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) or those with existing work contract made up 97.5% of them in the period of April to September 2016.

On the other hand, an online recruitment website for OFWs, Workabroad.ph, has generated a report showing the numbers behind the OFW employment across the world. Among the things that they’ve presented in their report are the highest paying jobs for Filipinos overseas and the top countries of deployment for Filipinos.

Before we dive into the details, here’s a quick breakdown of how OFWs are dominating the world of employment globally in 2015, based on the data from the Department of Foreign Affair:

Estimated number of Filipinos overseas in 2015

Total: 7,979,716 of Filipinos were deployed overseas as OFWs

Asia and Pacific1,675,5071,973,2242,028,3962,046,1451,974,8311,497,859
Middle East and Africa2,868,2722,681,1302,050,4752,169,9922,205,7062,297,551
Source: https://dfa.gov.ph/distribution-of-filipinos-overseas

Top 25 countries with the highest number of OFWs

1United States of America3,353,891
2Kingdom of Saudi Arabia938,490
5United Arab Emirates541,593
11United Kingdom200,000
16Puerto Rico91,620
18Republic of Korea52,379
20New Zealand41,146
Source: https://dfa.gov.ph/distribution-of-filipinos-overseas

What are the highest paying jobs?

According to the latest ranking of best jobs for Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), engineers, doctors, nurses and IT professionals took home the biggest income last year. Within the Middle East region, the most compensated were healthcare practitioners, including doctors, pediatricians, nurses, and veterinarians.

Middle East
OccupationAverage monthly salary
General Physician (Doctor)₱81,000
Orthopedic Doctor₱79,000
Dental Hygienist₱75,000

Sought after industries in the Middle East
  • Engineering
  • General work
  • Food/Beverage (restaurant service)
  • Healthcare

Asia Pacific
IT Professional₱58,000

Those aspiring to land a job in the UAE or anywhere in the Middle East can easily find a lot of opportunities in the general work and engineering sector than in any other industries. The in-demand engineering-related skilled roles include mechanics and electrical technicians. Meanwhile, general work opportunities include roles in the food and beverage industry, such as cooks, waiters/waitresses, and restaurant service.

Sought after industries in the Asia Pacific
  • General work
  • Engineering related
  • Manufacturing/Production operations
  • IT-related

The most in-demand jobs in this region are still skilled workers. The opportunities for skilled workers in Asia-Pacific include carpenters, household service workers, and caretakers. The demand for IT professionals in the region is also on the rise, especially in Malaysia.

Opportunities also abound in the engineering-related segment for technicians and technical operators and in the manufacturing/production operations segment for factory workers, production and machine operators, and welders in Taiwan and Japan.

United States
OccupationAverage monthly salary
Ship Master₱99,000
Chief Engineer₱96,000
Chief Officer (Engineering) ₱92,000
Sea-based Officer₱75,000
Sought after industries in the United States
  • Engineering
  • Sea-based engineering
  • General work
  • Food and beverage (restaurant service)

In the United States, sea-based engineers are in demand and well-compensated, while electricians, fitters, able seamen, cooks, waiters/waitresses and stewards are also highly sought after.

Getting a job abroad takes a lot of effort, resources, and preparation. While landing a job overseas can be a tedious and difficult process, knowing where your profession, experience, and skill sets are needed can give you an upper hand.
In the United States, sea-based engineers are in demand and well-compensated, while electricians, fitters, able seamen, cooks, waiters/waitresses and stewards are also highly sought after.

Across various markets, from the Middle East to the US, in the professional segment, engineers are the most in demand.

The top 10 countries of deployment (as of January 2018)

10. Taiwan – 861 jobs

9. Malaysia – 1,094 jobs

8. New Zealand – 1,190 jobs

7. USA – 3,017 jobs

6. Oman – 3,661 jobs

5. Bahrain – 3,725 jobs

4. Kuwait – 5,310 jobs

3. UAE – 7,231 jobs

2. Qatar – 16,083 jobs

1. Saudi Arabia – 61, 534 jobs

Top 10 countries Filipinos would like to work in

Since 2004, Saudi Arabia has been the number one country in Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) deployment statistics. It has been the source of most jobs with an average of 287,000 jobs yearly.

However, based on JobStreet.com’s data on jobseekers’ online behavior, overseas aspirants seem to want to work in the following countries:

  1. Macau
  2. South Korea
  3. Qatar
  4. Bahrain
  5. Japan
  6. UAE
  7. North America (USA and Canada)
  8. Europe
  9. Singapore
  10. Australia and New Zealand

Planning to work overseas? While the easiest way to land any job is through prudent preparation, finding one outside the country entails knowing where your skills or profession is needed or in demand. For the most part, Filipinos working overseas are basically filling professions or jobs that locals aren’t capable of doing.

Whether you’re looking to advance your career further or just want a better paying job, at the end of the day, it’s about the expertise or skills that you can bring to the table for your dream country.

Australia and other Western countries, for example, have an increasing population of elders but lack young professionals pursuing a career in healthcare. In order to provide their locals with proper healthcare, experienced healthcare professionals from other countries such as nurses are received gladly and even granted permanent residency status. IT professionals, on the other hand, may not have the same luck as nurses in those countries as most of their local talents could easily fill the roles.

If you’re an established professional in the Philippines, who earn a 6-digit salary, you may want to do further reflection before jumping the gun.  Starting afresh in a new country may require you to hit the reset button in your career. Are you willing to start from scratch again? If an opportunity overseas would only equate to a little increment from how much you’re earning back at home, would it make financial sense?

It’s also important to consider the cost of living in the foreign country, instead of just considering on salary perspective. A slightly higher salary in another country with the higher cost of living may not mean better financial situation.

The answer can be subjective and may be based on our personal goals, level of tolerance, endurance, and even budget. One thing’s for sure, being an OFW and being an immigrant overseas are two different things. The former will be most likely limited to a short-term goal overseas, while the latter can map their entire future in their host country.

For further reading, you can also learn more about the benefits and privileges an OFW can avail through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. It provides educational support, as well as financial assistance for OFWs currently deployed or are considering coming back home.






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