10 Million Self-employers

According to the Philippine labor force survey released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) last March 15, there were approximately 36.4 million Filipinos in the labor force in January 2007 out of the estimated 56.1 million population 15 years and over. Unemployment rate was 7.8% — translating into a total employed population of 33.5 million broken down as follows:

53.4% Wage and salary workers

35.1% Own-account workers (including self-employers)

11.5% Unpaid family workers

The self-employed workers (or self-employers) account for 30.4% of the total employed population, or 10.2 million Filipinos. There is no single association organized to cater to this group. Most of the associations are organized by profession, ethnic origin, industry, or some random manner to form a group and charge membership fees.

We will attempt to provide information on these organizations soon. For now, these are some examples:

  1. Mgt Assoc of the Philippines – A new member pays a P10,000 admission fee and the annual dues pegged at P16,000 for 2005. The annual dues will cover the lunches for eleven (11) monthly general membership meetings from January to November and the dinner for the annual Christmas Dinner-Dance Party in December.
  2. Integrated Bar of the Philippines tel: (632)631-3018/631-3014; http://www.ibp.org.ph/; e-mail: inbar@v-link.net; composed of about 40,000 lawyer-members)
  3. Philippine Medical Association http://pma.com.ph/; e-mail: info@pma.com.ph; 107 component societies in 17 regions; 28,000 members)
  4. Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (http://www.pice.org.ph/; e-mail: picenatl@skyinet.net, picenatl@pice.org.ph )
  5. Philippine Public School Teachers Associations (200,000 members)
  6. Philippine Dental Association (tel: (632)890-4609/899-6333; 10,000 members)
  7. Philippine Nurses’ Association (tel: (632)536-1888/525-1596; http://pna-ph.org/; 41,000 members)

More available here:



Question: How can we consolidate the massive buying power of the self-employers to benefit its members?


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BPO and Call Center Opportunity

The world is flat. Trust me.

The Market

The Philippines call center and BPO industry has been growing at a spectacular rate — from 2400 personnel in 2000 to ~200,000 in 2006. Planning and infrastructure is being laid out to support 1 million personnel in 2010. That is an impressive 82.8% compounded annual growth rate! With the increased demand from US corporations and counterparts in English-speaking regions, rising wages in India, and the country’s track record in providing services, there is no doubt in my mind that the trend will continue.

Business Opportunities

(1) Ride the wave and set up a call center or BPO facility. To date, the call center directory indicates 737 call centers in the Philippines — that is 3 times more than India (276), the call center capital of the world. The rapid growth in the number of providers means a higher degree of competition and an increased demand for resources — facilities and the labor pool.

(2) Real estate supply has lagged the demand for office space. Economics 101 kicked in and caused premium segment rental rates to increase by as much as 31% in 2006. “We expect rents to further increase by 20% over the course of 2007, according to Richard Raymundo, director of research at Colliers International, a property research and consulting company (Asia Times Online, Feb 27, 2007).”

The same article stresses the continued lack of supply despite the launch of several projects from key industry players.

“According to Ysmael (Ayala Land Inc.’s CFO) the BPO industry, commonly known here as cyber-services, is chiefly responsible for pumping up Manila’s prime-office-space market. Over the past five years, the industry’s total number of so-called worker seats has grown by 57% to occupy a total of 700,000 square meters of prime space.

Ayala Land estimates that at its current growth rate, the cyber-services industry alone will require a total of 3 million square meters of office space by 2010. Projected additional supply, based on buildings under construction and others in the pipeline, will only provide an additional 900,000 square meters, bringing the total premium space available up to 1.6 million square meters. That’s a shortfall of 1.4 million square meters based on Ayala Land’s projections.”

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