Grace Relucio Princesa, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE (right), addresses the symposium on the UAE economy and prospects for the Filipino entrepreneur at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Filipinos, especially women, end up in low-paid jobs because of low expectations and their lack of initiative to demonstrate the skills and capabilities in the workplace, a Filipina resource person told Gulf News.

"I was surprised to see that most of the runaway housemaids at the shelter houses were educated; at least 15 per cent of them were university graduates," said Marietta P. Morada, a statistician, who is working as a Data Management Manager with a semi-government organisation in Dubai.

She was a speaker at a symposium called "The UAE economy and prospects for the Filipino entrepreneur," organised by the University of Philippines Alumni Association in the UAE at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, on Saturday. Grace Relucio Princesa , the Philippine Ambassador to the UAE. opened the symposium.

Opportunities

Filipinos are unable to exploit the opportunities for entrepreneurship in the UAE because of lack of a culture of entrepreneurship which is a common trait in all developing societies, Morada said.

She added that Filipinos, especially women, do not take the initiative to show what they can do to excel in their job, despite having education and excellent professional skills.

"They will do everything when they are told to do [by the superiors or employers]. Instead, they have to observe the situation and take the initiative to display their skills and capabilities for improving the overall performance of their organisation," Morada said.

Filipinas who overcame ‘low expectation' and tripled their salaries.

On the job: Career ladder climb

A Filipina executive secretary, with a law firm in Dubai, who was earning Dh3,500 per month climbed the career ladder to a job of Dh13,000 per month. This is a good example for others overcoming low work expectations, a recruitment consultant told Gulf News.

While trying for a better job, her dream was to improve her monthly salary to Dh5,000, although the average salary of an executive secretary in the market was about Dh10,000 to Dh15,000, said Florenda Padilla of Manpower, Middle East LLC who was a speaker at the symposium.

But she had all the capabilities of an efficient secretary, which she realised only after getting professional advice, the consultant said. "In a similar case, another Filipina improved her career to a job with Dh10,000 monthly salary from a job of just Dh3,000 per month," Padilla said.

He explained that in both cases their previous employers were kind enough to give an NOC (No Objection Certificate) and the new employers did not look into their previous salary. Cautioning that these experiences should not lead others to unrealistic expectations, Padila said jobseekers should always take advice from experienced people [not necessarily experts but friends in the respective sector] to assess their value in the job market.

Balanced male-female ratio helps for better interaction

Among the largest Asian expatriate communities in the UAE , Filipinos are the only community having a balanced male-female ratio, Marietta P. Morada said. "The number of males and females in the community are almost balanced which helps better social interaction or social adjustment," she added.

Filipinas are "very much migrant" even back home, she said. Most of the female professionals working in the service sector in cities like Manila have migrated from the remote provinces. "In Philippines, women have a greater role in building the economy of a family, so that they take the risk of going abroad too," she added.