But hey, thousands of companies have outsourced work to the Philippines in the past decade, and in recent years, small business owners have followed suit by hiring Filipino virtual assistants of their own. So what's the deal?
Is hiring a virtual assistant from the Philippines really worth it? We’ll let you decide.
Here's 7 reasons why businesses hire remote Filipino staff:
It’s true — most Filipinos are great at English.
In 2021, the Philippines ranked second among 24 Asian countries and 18th worldwide in terms of English proficiency. According to the study, most Filipinos are proficient enough to “make presentations at work, understand TV shows, and read newspapers” in English.
This is probably because English is so deeply ingrained in Filipino culture.
This is a huge advantage when hiring a VA. With little to no language barrier, communicating with your assistant becomes so much easier. You can delegate tasks more efficiently and will have an easier time getting and receiving feedback.
Business process outsourcing is a massive 30-billion-dollar industry in the Philippines.
With more than 1000 foreign companies outsourcing work to 1.3 million Filipinos, it's no wonder why most Filipino VAs can be considered seasoned pros in this line of work.
When you hire a VA from the Philippines, you’re most likely hiring someone who has worked with foreign companies in the past. You’re hiring experts who know how to communicate well and are familiar with nuances like US time zones, holidays, and work arrangements.
More importantly, these professionals are well-versed in a lot of tasks that you'd most likely delegate, such as:
If this sounds too good to be true, you can check out all the successful roles we’ve hired and the tasks they’re currently doing for clients here.
When you combine great English skills and outsourcing experience with a solid work ethic, you get excellent results. In our ten years of experience working with Filipino VAs, we've seen most of them deliver outstanding work that has helped many businesses thrive.
Whether you're hiring for admin, financial, operations, or creative, having a Filipino VA on your team means you'll get the job done — and get it done well.
Here's what some of our clients have to say about the VAs we've hired for them so far:
You can find foreign staff with knowledge and skills elsewhere , but you’ll probably struggle to find folks who get Western culture as well as Filipinos do.
With over a hundred years of shared history, it's impossible for Filipinos not to become accustomed to American culture.
As it is, most Filipinos consume a lot of American media, buy US products, and follow American pop culture. There’s also a huge chance that they’ve got relatives in North America — there are 4.2 million Filipinos in the US alone — so they’re likely familiar with current events, expressions, jokes, and even a bit of slang.
When you work with a Filipino VA, you can talk about the same TV shows, books, music, and trending topics. It wouldn’t take a lot to get them up to speed with your work culture or to build rapport.
One of the best things about hiring Filipino VAs is that you get all of these amazing qualities for a fraction of the cost. Depending on the role, level of skill, and scope of work, you can hire full-time overseas Filipino staff for only around $9,000 a year. That's around 80% in savings.
Of course, if you want to get better candidates or are looking to fill a senior position, you might need to pay a higher rate at around $1,000-$1,500 a month — which is still significantly less than local counterparts.
You may also have to consider budgeting for customary bonuses like 13th month pay (it's like a Christmas bonus), social security, and other perks for your Filipino staff to keep them on your team.
To give you a clearer idea of salaries in the Philippines, download our free salary guide here.
Just like most Asian countries, Filipino culture is deeply rooted in respect. They have high regard for people in authority and treat employers with deference. They also have a high power distance index compared to the US and Canada, which means they're more likely to accept hierarchy and follow instructions.
Sometimes this trait can be a bit of a culture shock: a Filipino VA might call you "ma'am" or "sir", hesitate to ask questions, or refuse to push back due to social conventions. This is something that you have to expect.
Filipino VAs will follow directions to a T — which is great when you have a smooth delegation process. However, they thrive best in an environment that gives them agency. Which leads us to our next point:
Most Filipino VAs can be shy in the beginning, but when given the right environment and opportunity, they can show a lot of initiative. They're keen problem-solvers — they'll most likely try to tackle problems with creative solutions of their own before asking for help.
At the same time, they're also receptive to training and skills development. They're eager to learn while on the job.
Take Need/Want’s general managers, for example. A couple of them started off as executive assistants to the CEO before taking on bigger responsibilities as general managers. With the right training and support, you can do that for your own business, too, and free up more time for yourself.
There's a huge 8-12 hour time difference between the Philippines and the US. This is a big challenge for most folks, but with the right systems, you can actually turn this into an advantage.
For example, you can work asynchronously so that your remote staff can run the business while you sleep. Since the Philippines doesn't observe US holidays like Thanksgiving and Memorial Day, you can also delegate work to them while you go on vacation.
Hiring Filipino virtual assistants may seem unconventional and risky, but the truth is it's the key to growing your business sustainably. VAs from the Philippines are skilled, reliable, more affordable than local counterparts, and most importantly, they can probably beat you in a round of super intense karaoke (the rumors are true — 90% of our staff are great singers).
If you're ready to take the leap and hire your first Filipino VA, we're here to help. Send us a message today and we'll help you find amazing employees who can help you grow your business and buy back your time.
Filipino virtual assistants possess qualities and skills that make them unique from other remote staff. They're great at English, are highly skilled in outsourced roles, and have affordable rates.
It depends on their skill level and position, but on average, hiring a Filipino virtual assistant can cost you around $9,000 to $12,000 a year. Check out our virtual assistant salary guide for more info.
Use a headhunter agency like Shepherd. We take out all the guesswork by finding you awesome Filipino staff that cost 80% less than US equivalents. Let us know all about the role you're looking to fill today.