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Paul Raymund Cortes receives the Eon Insight study from Junie del Mundo (left) and Mori Rodriguez in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The profile of Filipinos in the UAE has changed with more and more professionals coming into the country to pursue their dreams and contribute to the economy, according to a study launched on Tuesday that aims to break perceptions and stereotypes of Filipinos.

Called Eon Insight: Focus on the Filipino in the UAE, the study paints a snapshot of the estimated 750,000 Filipinos in the UAE through the eyes and stories of 700 Filipinos surveyed from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah and Umm al Quwain.

The study by the EON Group suggests that the Filipino workforce is no longer dominated by low-skilled labourers, particularly domestic workers and construction workers.

4 - Panelists with Consul General Paul Cortes-1568724041176

In fact, 64 per cent of those randomly surveyed completed a university or college degree in the Philippines, with another seven per cent who completed post-graduate degrees.

More than half of the respondents are in the construction sector, particularly in the engineering and architecture fields, followed by tourism and hospitality sector, customer service, and health and medical fields.

New heights

Mori Rodriguez, chief innovation officer at the EON Group, said the study proves that Filipinos have reached new heights in their chosen fields in the UAE. EON Group is a communications consultancy agency in Dubai which branched out from the Philippines in 2018.

“Finally, there is data that validates this feeling that the Filipino narrative has changed from domestic workers and construction workers to low-skilled and low-income to now [where there are more professionals in the UAE], allowing themselves this elevation precisely because of the conditions that this country allows them to have — economic opportunity and tolerance to celebrate their authentic selves,” Rodriguez said.

“Filipinos are sought after because they are highly adaptable, their skills at par with the world’s best,” he added.

‘Global influential Filipino talents’

The study also said that the ‘Global influential Filipino talents’ help establish the UAE as the world’s centre of creativity in the person of the three Filipino fashion icons namely Michael Cinco, Ezra Santos and Furne. Although many more Filipino influencers are contributing to this in their own fields.

Three new segments of Filipinos can be seen through the study. First is the Expat Achiever or the professionals who are making a mark in their respective industries, the Pinoy Dreamers who are skilled and equipped with essential and technical skills, and lastly the Bayaning (Hero) Survivor who are the semi-skilled ones.

Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes, who was present during the launch, pointed out that Filipinos should celebrate whatever level of success they have reached regardless of their ‘stature’ as success is not determined by anyone’s bank account.

“This is the story of the Filipino that we’d like to share and by coming up with a study like this, we have a deeper understanding and perspective of what Filipinos in the UAE are all about,” Cortes said.

The insights in the study should also help Filipinos see themselves from a different perspective, said Junie del Mundo, Founder and CEO of EON Group.

“It should help us expand our point of view as a people because we sometimes love to shoot ourselves in the foot. It should embolden us. It’s time for us to get rid of the “kawawa [piteous] image” and start uplifting ourselves,” del Mundo told Gulf News.

Khaled Al Ameri, Emirati vlogger, social commentator and invited speaker at the panel, said the survey results did not surprise him. He also said he has connected with so many Filipinos who bring “joy of life no matter where they go that is infectious and spreads and inspires not just here in the UAE but all over the world.”


62% of respondents - found in sectors that contribute to the UAE’s economic diversification and expansion

Top five sectors:

  • 17% - Architecture, engineering and construction
  • 16% - tourism and hospitality
  • 13% - customer service
  • 10% - health and medical fields
  • 8% - marketing and advertising

Three segments:

  • 20% - Expat Achiever
  • 47% - Pinoy Dreamer
  • 37% - Bayaning Survivor

Earning capacity:

  • 37% - earning salaries of between Dh3,000 – Dh7,999
  • 18% - earning Dh8,000 – Dh12,999
  • 20% - earning more than Dh13,000