NEW YORK – According to a recent survey of Filipinos who live in the U.S. and send money home, the majority of respondents say they are overqualified for their jobs and find their U.S. workplace to be more stressful than workplaces in the Philippines.
And yet, they overwhelmingly agree that the U.S. is still the land of opportunity.
That’s based on a survey of 400 people from the Philippines who send money home from the U.S., fielded by international money transfer firm Transfast.
More than 80 percent of respondents say they have more skills than required by their jobs in the U.S. and 72 percent describe their U.S. workplace as more stressful than the ones they’d experienced in the Philippines.
A majority says they earn what they expected in the U.S. (61 percent), with 21 percent earning less and 18 percent earning more than expected. About 72 percent say they work longer hours than expected to earn that income, with 54 percent saying they work more than 40 hours a week. Only 28 percent say they work less than expected.
Still, the vast majority — 93 percent — agrees there are more opportunities offered by their job in the U.S. compared with jobs in the Philippines.
All survey respondents send money to the Philippines using a computer and/or mobile phone app, with the majority sending money to family. Some participants also reported sending money to “themselves” (7.5 percent), likely for investment opportunities such as real estate or to save for retirement.
“People who come here for work are playing vital economic roles by contributing to the U.S. economy and also adding to the GDP of their home country when they send money back to family and friends,” says Samish Kumar, Transfast’s CEO. “To Transfast, the survey results show that our mission of always providing great value for your money plays a role in helping our customers succeed, because when you’re working longer hours in a more stressful environment, every dollar saved matters.”
The World Bank’s Remittance Prices Worldwide database currently ranks Transfast #1 for lowest-cost service for sending $200 remittances from the U.S. to the Philippines.
Survey respondent Joanna Loresto, 47, of San Rafael, California, says, “What I have achieved here in the U.S., is a lot. I just left my job and I’m so fortunate I could go wherever I want to, and employers will hire me. Owning a home, buying any car I want — I’m proud of it. I can give my son the best education. I have three siblings in Philippines and a lot of cousins, and I’m thankful that I can be the one helping out.”
“Yes, the U.S. is the land of opportunity,” says respondent Ruben Espiritu, 56, of Garner, N.C. “There are a lot of jobs here. The economy in the Philippines is getting better, though.”
When Transfast conducted the same survey in the U.S. among immigrants from all nationalities, there were many similarities with Filipino immigrants. However, when it came to how much was earned, striking differences emerged: Of the immigrants from all nations, only 37 percent were earning what they expected (as opposed to Filipino immigrants, 61 percent of whom were earning what they expected).
When asked where they intended to retire, Filipinos again stood out against the general population of U.S. immigrants. Many more Filipinos in the U.S. still intend to return home, with 53 percent saying they plan to retire in their home country, as opposed to only 18 percent of immigrants of all nationalities. Of the remainder, 31 percent of Filipinos plan to retire in the U.S., and eight percent answered, “I plan to work until I drop.”