Are there gigs in the Philippines?

Today, let’s check whether there is a gig economy in the Philippines. The question, however, is: Are there gigs in the Philippines?

Of course! This is a major group already and will continue to grow fast.

The young and digitally adept Philippine freelance market encompasses around 4 million Filipinos in freelancing!

The Philippines, with its large number of creatives (web and graphic designers, game developers, animation artists, etc.), IT and tech people, would seem like an ideal setting for the gig economy to flourish. And flourishing it is, according to the recently released Global Freelancer Insights Report by United States-based payment firm PayPal.

PayPal also noted that the Philippines has one of the highest freelancers per capita of the 22 countries surveyed. The country’s young demographics also plays a part in this, with around 75 percent of freelancers 24 to 39 years old, according to the report.

Flexible working hours and the ability to be their own boss are the main draws, according to the report.

Facilitating the trend is the growing number of digital tools freelancers need to bill and receive money for their work.

Remember that success was once defined as being able to stay at a company for a long time and move up the corporate ladder. The goal was to reach the top, accumulate wealth and retire to a life of ease.

Today, consulting or freelancing for five businesses at the same time is a badge of honor. It shows how valuable an individual is. Working at home or in cafes, starting businesses with teams of consultants and freelancers you’ve met only online, and even launching business ventures that eventually may fail, all indicate “initiative,” “creativity,” and “adaptability,” which are very desirable traits in today’s workplace.

Who are these people? They are artists and designers; writers, editors and translators, animators, videographers, and sound professionals; programmers, and Q&A experts; providers of office services and career advice. These people are our friends and our kids.

What’s needed and used are marketplaces—platforms specifically designed to bring freelancers and clients together. These online platforms must embrace the Gig Economy as a primary engine of business activity and growth. The platforms are a place to feature the most experienced, professional, and creative talent. This is where they conduct business, where a sense of community reinforces the culture and values of the Gig Economy, and where success is rewarded with good reviews that encourage more business.

Slowly but surely, these platforms create a bridge between traditional enterprises and this emerging economy. Perhaps more important, as the global economy continues to be disrupted by technology and other massive change, the Gig Economy will itself become an engine of economic and social transformation, here and in the rest of the world.

Allow me to add an important fact: The Gigs will not succeed without being able to effectively communicate in English. That’s the “elephant” Edilberto de Jesus talks about in his recent article “Elephants in the room,” with focus on the need of the Department of Education (DepEd) to convince skeptics of its commitment to English competence.

Let me finish with looking at the elephant vs. the rider.

Imagine a human being riding on top of an elephant. Due to the sheer size of the elephant vs. the rider, you can imagine how hard it might be for the rider to control the elephant.

To improve our life and make full use of the Filipino’s English capabilities, the rider has to have at least somewhat of a handle on the elephant. How do we learn to tame the elephant and let the rider take control? That’s the task of DepEd as explained by Mr. de Jesus.

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