Household service workers outnumber skilled OFWs
Deployment of household service workers (HSWs) or domestic helpers continues to increase and outpace deployment of professional and skilled workers despite an imposed minimum HSW salary of $400 and more stringent welfare and protection clauses.
Recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani noted that POEA’s 2011 statistics show that deployed service workers numbered 201,512, an increase of 31% from the 154,535 in 2010.
Service workers deployed in 2011 comprised 46 percent or 201,512 of the 437,720 new hires, overshadowing both combined professional and skilled manpower sectors, which only deployed 61,598. Production workers were in the second spot with 141,215, mostly women bound for factories in Asia and Southeast Asia.
The only time HSW deployment suffered a decrease was in 2007 when the new rules for the hiring of HSWs was implemented by the POEA. However, in 2008 this number soared to 123,332.
The category of “Service Workers” includes those working as caregivers or caretakers, janitors, chambermaids, car washers, food services personel, household drivers, manicurists and hair stylists.
POEA statistics for 2012 are not yet available.
For the year 2013, Geslani said the local recruitment industry is optimistic that household service workers’ deployment will increase with the re-opening of HSW deployment to Saudi Arabia. This was stopped for over a year due to negotiations regarding minimum wages and other new welfare and protection requirements. Kuwait and UAE have picked up with many employers accepting the $400 minimum salary, he said. The Lebanon and Jordan labor markets are also expected to open up soon.
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