Job Seeker’s Reality Check

We’ve been talking to friends and relatives from the Philippines and very often, they would ask as if there are a lot of jobs here in Australia. We were wondering why there seemed to be a sudden interest in Australian jobs in the Philippines. Then Raquel pointed me to the article RP to set up labor office in Sydney–official from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, dated August 20, 2007.

Here is a short snippet from the article:

Following the projected influx of Filipinos seeking work in Australia, the labor department is preparing to set up a Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Sydney in two or three months’ time, said an official who has been tasked to head the office as labor attaché.

From the article, we learned that Senator Jinggoy Estrada (I still cannot believe he is now Senate President pro tempore) wanted a labor attache posted in Australia. More details can be found from the recent Press Release on the Philippine Senate’s website titled Jinggoy wants two labor attaches posted in Australia.

Here is a short quote from the article:

In 2006, the Australia Department of Employment and Workplace Relations identified and offered at least 20,000 additional jobs for skilled foreigners that included health workers, engineers, trade persons and other professionals. Similar job demand identification programs are expected in years to come.

Well, if I was still living in the Philippines and I’ve been reading news like these, I would certainly think that finding job vacancies in Australia is quite easy. And I suppose it’s true that there must be a lot of jobs one can apply for. However, the problem is that there is also a lot of competition right now and Australian companies tend to hire people with local experience first.

That means, it may probably be easy enough to find jobs to apply for but actually getting hired is a different matter entirely.

What I do know from experience is that if you intend to migrate here, be prepared to play the waiting game, a long waiting game. After asking other Filipinos here, it seems like that it’s very common to get a job not later than three months after intense job hunting. Writing from personal experience, it took me almost exactly three months before I landed a job not in Sydney, which was my preference at the time, but in far-away Canberra (think Tagaytay, I suppose). Raquel similarly took roughly three months to get a job.

A friend of mine from Sydney spent over a year applying for a job as a computer programmer and last I heard from him, he was still looking. A recent Pinoy migrant I met recently is already in their fourth month in Melbourne and he cannot land a job as an accountant. And this is a person who had worked for a multinational company in the Philippines and graduated from a top tier university.

I’m not writing this to discourage any of you who may want to migrate here in Australia in the hopes of building a better life for you and your loved ones. I just want to present to you the facts so that you would be prepared for the worst possible scenario.

Assuming you don’t already have a job waiting for you here when you arrive, be sure to bring enough cash with you that will carry you through six months (at the very least!)of no income. You may be lucky and get a job on your first week here. Sadly, not everybody can be so lucky.

If you are planning to move here your family and children with you, I strongly advise that whoever is the breadwinner go to Australia on his/her own and seek out a job first. This way, that person can live as cheap as possible until he or she gets a job and start earning money again. After that, then by all means, bring the rest of your family here.

Additionally, I strongly advise against coming over here on a tourist visa then applying for a job. The immigration officers at the airports are very strict about this kind of thing as evidenced from a very popular TV programme here called Border Security on the Seven Network. If they catch you, you risk getting deported and banned from returning to Australia. Sure, they won’t jail you, but all that money you spent getting that expensive airfare will have been wasted and you won’t get another chance.

My last advice though is that when you do get here and you start looking for that first job, try not to be very picky. You may find that getting a job that is exactly like the job you once had in the Philippines is not quite so easy. I think the important thing is to get that all-important “Australian work experience” first. That first job may not be the best job out there but nothing’s stopping you from applying for other jobs once you are hired. At least, you’ll be earning some cash in the meantime and earning local experience at the same time.

With that, good luck and God bless to any of you wishing to give Australia a go.

Published in: on August 26, 2007 at 9:39 pm  Comments (5)  

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. GJ,
    I sent you an email with my mobile number. If you give me your number, I’ll give you a call next time I’ll be in the city.

  2. Vince, good idea. I may post something about that in the future. For now, all I can say is you probably don’t need to worry. The three month ultimatum was given me only because it was at the height of the internet bubble crash of 2000. From what I know at this point in time, there are a lot of job opportunities for computer specialists. 🙂

    BTW, you still want to have that cup of coffee in the city?

  3. GJ,

    Have you posted anything about the working in an Australian office? How does it differ from working in the Philippines? In Taiwan?

    I’ve just accepted a position as consultant, so this comment of yours about being given 3 months to find a client is a bit worrying.

    Alma, I also had a job waiting for me here, although it took me several months to find it ;-).


  4. I know. I couldn’t believe it! 😉

    And yeah, they tell us to help them find work but it really isn’t that easy. They’d have to apply for the job themselves if they even want a small chance of getting hired.

    As for my experience, I was actually officially employed when I arrived in Australia. I had a working visa and was supposed to work as a computer consultant. However, programming jobs were so difficult to come by back in late 2000 that my employer told me that they were giving me three months to get a client or they’ll send me home. Lucky me, I got a job at the end of the third month. 🙂

  5. Jinggoy is Senate President protempore? OMG. Imbes na pasulong, paurong na ang Pinas.

    what u wrote here is very true. a lot of Pinoys i know back home are always asking me of job opportunities here. kesyo hanapan ko daw sila work. haay, kung sana ganun lang kadali.

    i was just lucky to have a job waiting for me when i got here. otherwise i may have had to wait a long time before landing a job i really like.

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