I came across this recent blog post from the Wall Street Journal and it matches a lot of my own observations about the economic realities of the Philippines. Having spent most of the past 2+ years here in the Philippines I have seen my own perceptions of the country’s amazing economic growth evolve from one of unbridled enthusiasm to one of more moderate expectations.
Just to go back a few years, I was at Wells Fargo and heavily involved in both remittances to the Philippines and outsourcing to the Philippines. I saw a lot of data about all time high remittance inflows at the same time we saw a huge shift as the Philippines passed India to become the call center capital of the world. Coupled with my visits to the Philippines, it seemed to be a perfect time to come here and set up a business.
So I came here, set up the business, started doing training and have been able to help quite a few Filipinos find there way towards analytics focused jobs. I’ve also been able to employ many as well. However, as time has gone by, I have also seen that my efforts (as well as so many well-meaning others) come up short in really making a difference. If you add up all the OFWs and all the BPO Employees that are driving more spending and more growth, its still not enough to move the Philippines out of the grasp of massive and disabling poverty.
As the article points out, training is a key missing effort that despite many best efforts is still falling short. The talent gap between the job requirements and the available workers keeps growing faster then all the training and shifts in education can keep pace with.
When I read articles like this, I find myself wishing I could do more and I will keep doing as much as I can, but to be honest I have started to feel that people like me are just too few and far between to really make a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I still love what I do and am passionate to keep doing it… but I am a little less spirited and a little more cautious now then I was at the start of this journey.
I guess that’s my new found wisdom talking…