Manila - Post Report Question and Answers

What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

I often see jobs available for EFMs in Embassy notices. I don't know the details (pay, benefits, etc.), but I would be comfortable saying if you want a job you can get one as the Embassy is quite large. - Mar 2023

The embassy has employment opportunities for family members, as do the international schools, Asian Development Bank, etc. Local salary is much lower than American standards. - Mar 2023

Not a whole lot. The newly US-owned port might change that, but we will see. - May 2022

There are a number of spouses telecommunting, there are jobs at the embassy. Local salaries are low. - Apr 2021

Manila is a large diplomatic mission, so many spouses can work there. Many of the diplomats are "tandem" in that they are diplomats that married each other. There are some telecommuting options, we know at least two spouses who retained their US job and work from home. It is easy to find work on the local economy, but the pay scale will likely not be what you are used to in the States. However, I also know several spouses who work for NGOs or international organizations and have meaningful, rewarding, and relatively well-compensated work. - Oct 2020

Local salaries are not comparable to US. - Feb 2020

Spouses here have a variety of jobs, some with embassies, some in education, some telecommuting. For the most part, working on the local economy is not lucrative. - May 2018

Traditionally, there have been dozens of EFM jobs at the Embassy, although the January 2017 hiring freeze will undoubtedly have an impact on this. In theory, given the prevalence of English, and the bilateral work agreement, spouses can work on the local economy – but it can take a long time to get your foot in the door. That said, the State Department’s Global Employment Advisor is currently based in Manila, so there’s been a recent uptick in opportunities for Embassy spouses on the local economy. Telecommuting is also a possibility, assuming you have good internet in your home, and can overcome the significant time difference with the US. - Feb 2017

EFM employment is tough everywhere. The situation in Manila is probably better than most places outside of EUR or WHA. The embassy is huge (approx. 1300 employees) and has one of the biggest consular sections in the world. As a result a lot of EFMs get jobs on post as rovers, fingerprinters, consular adjudicators, and the like. Several spouses (including in our family) have managed to find full or part-time employment in the private or education sector. There is a State Department Global Employment Advisor resident to post. - Jul 2016

You can find jobs and I know lots of EFMs who have found work in their career field, but not making a US salary. - Jan 2016

I have heard of variable experiences. Most expats report more difficulty finding employment than expected. - Jan 2016

I had two jobs on the local economy. Be ready for a lot of paperwork and local salaries. - Jan 2016

Yes. Teaching English is an option or consultant to tech companies. - Sep 2015

Sort of. One can hope to find jobs at the Asian Development Bank, Intl. Schools, at an NGO or at the Embassy, if affiliated. I've had no trouble finding work. - Aug 2015

A few, but slim pickings. - Nov 2013

Not that I've heard of, it would be a huge pay cut. - Aug 2013

My wife works on the local economy. She enjoys it, but she earns a Filipino wage. Despite providing a professional service, she earns less than U.S. minimum wage. - Feb 2013

Not unless you are a teacher or are employed by a major NGO like ADB. - May 2012

If you're a teacher, there are plenty of opportunities for a somewhat competitive price. The Embassy also posts new jobs weekly. The ADB is also headquartered here. For other jobs, however, if you're coming from the US or Europe, the salary is just not competitive enough to bother (think $500/month) -- so why steal a job from a local that can actually benefit from that money? - Mar 2012

Few. There is high unemployment and few challenging jobs available. Most opportunities are volunteering at local charitable organizations. - Jul 2011

Yes -- often with NGO's or PIOs. There are also a lot of "call centers" that are US owned that employ expats. - May 2011

No -- but there are a lot of jobs at the Embassy, not all of which are clerical in nature. - May 2011

Not really. There are plenty of jobs in the various Embassies around town, but professional jobs are rare. If there is an advertised opportunity, there will thousands of applicants, as Filipinos are highly educated and underemployed. Unless your uncle is advertising the position, you are unlikely to get it - vacancies stay within the family. - Feb 2010

Not sure. I know a few that work. There are people here at Embassy who can help with that though. - Jan 2010

There are little to no decent paying jobs on the local economy. Most spouses and EFMs find jobs in the embassy or international schools. - Jul 2009

If your visa allows you to work, there are numerous work opportunities if you are seeking experience, though salaries are very low. High paying jobs with international salaries are hard to come by. - Jun 2008


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