I pay my Workers $450 a Month, and it’s Changed Their Lives for the Better

Can you imagine making less than $500 a month for full-time work and being absolutely grateful for it? You would if you lived in the Philippines.

PROUD VAIn this part of the world, this is good pay. I’ve seen countless Filipino workers get on the road to financial stability and success at a wage many would consider unethical.

But there’s nothing unethical about it.

Over the years, I’ve heard some criticism and had some questions about how much business owners from the U.S. and other countries pay Filipino virtual assistants. Others who work with Filipinos hear the same opposition. Unfair, unethical, taking advantage, exploiting: These are notions some people have about hiring Filipino VAs and paying them wages much lower than what workers in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia would make.

These viewpoints are simply way off, and people who think this way aren’t seeing the whole picture.

Here’s why…

Philippines Cost of Living

What critics don’t seem to understand is that Filipino workers can enjoy a similar quality of life in their home country as they would if they worked and lived in the U.S.

No one in the U.S. could possibly live on $450 a month without additional support. However, this amount of money goes a long way in the Philippines. The cost of housing, food, clothing and entertainment in the United States continues to climb. But it’s a much different story in the Philippines. A Filipino can live on much less per month than a someone can in the U.S. or other first-world nations.

Here’s a comparison of you could expect to pay for various goods and services in the two countries:

Items United States Philippines
Meal at Restaurant $13.00 $2.97
Loaf of bread $2.31 $0.92
Dozen eggs $2.58 $1.45
Pound of beef $5.23 $2.29
Pound of chicken $3.88 $1.42
Monthly transit pass $66.95 $9.89
Taxi ride (per mile) $2.60 $0.48
1-bedroom apartment/month $1,175.46 $243.02

*source: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=Philippines

According to this same website referenced above, the average salary in the Philippines is $324.06 compared with $3,047 in the United States.

The Reality

Looking at the numbers, do you still think I’m selling Filipinos short by paying them comparatively low salaries to those in the United States? Not even close.

Salaries of my lowest-paid remote workers in the Philippines make more than $100 per month than their average fellow countrymen. When you figure the cost of living can be almost 10 times less in the Philippines than in America, that $100 goes a long way. These Filipinos earn a good salary; in some cases, they make an excellent salary. The pay allows them to support their families and give them financial stability and comfort. Combine this with the fact they get to work from home, and working from U.S. business owners can be a life-changing experience.

The job outlook in the Philippines can often be bleak for some of these workers. Full-time employment isn’t as common in the Philippines as it is in the U.S. In January 2017, it was reported that 64.8 percent of all Filipino workers were employed full time (https://www.psa.gov.ph/content/employment-rate-january-2017-estimated-934-percent). This is quite a difference from the United States where 95.6 of all employed fathers work full time (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.nr0.htm).

When you can offer Filipinos full-time work at an above-average salary, they can have a positive long-term outlook and peace of mind. As of June 2017, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent; as of July 2017 it was 5.7 percent in the Philippines.

Outsourcing in Action

This notion that outsourcing to the Philippines improves lives isn’t just talk. I’ve seen it firsthand.

A Filipino named Joven has shared his experience of finding a position as a VA on onlinejobs.ph and how it completely changed his life and the life of his family. Joven had previously worked a few different jobs that required long commutes and long work hours. He had little time with his wife and young son. It was exhausting and unfulfilling. But when Joven started working for an American business owner as a VA from home, everything changed. He was able to watch his son while his wife was at work. He had time to tend to his son’s needs and play with him, all while still completing his assignments as a VA. Joven made a good income without having to work grueling hours or sacrifice family time.

Joven's FamilyJoven’s story is not unlike the stories of countless other Filipinos. Thousands have found challenging, rewarding work that has enabled them to support their families and live the lifestyle they wanted. These Filipinos certainly don’t feel exploited; they are humbly grateful for the opportunities they have been given. Another worker named Arvel actually made a short YouTube video about how outsourcing to the Philippines benefits both the worker and the business owner. She talks about how her job not only allows her to help her family but even her community, especially when a disaster such as a typhoon hits. Her job allows her to rebuild after a natural disaster and even allows her to lend a hand to family and neighbors.

Another Filipino VA named Nino loves the flexibility working from home at a good wage allows him. “I love my job,” he said. “I work at home; I spend all the time with my love ones—24/7. We eat together—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If someone needed your help, you’re there to support. In short and simple, you’re free.

But perhaps the most powerful example of how life-changing outsourcing comes from a young woman named Gabby. She and her boyfriend were having trouble paying their bills. As she put it, “Money was very tight, and we were barely keeping our heads above water.” To make things more challenging, Gabby learned she was pregnant and felt given the nature of her demanding job that she should quit. Still, the couple needed money, but Gabby’s health wasn’t going to make working away from home very easy.

gabbyThat’s when an American entrepreneur, looking to hire Filipino virtual assistants, found Gabby’s profile on onlinejobs.ph. Gabby was hired as a content writer, where should could remain in the comforts of her own home, all while making enough money to support her baby. “The work was regular, and the salary was great,” she said. “I’d get paid every week. It was just what we needed!

Gabby even got a big raise a year into her job. She believes the opportunity to work as an outsourced employee is a tremendous blessing. “I consider myself so lucky to have found the right opportunity at the right time,” she said. “Today I work from home at my own pace and at my own hours. I get to spend time with my young family, and I can finally breathe easy knowing I can take care of my child. I can even put away a little for the future. I don’t have to worry anymore about having enough to cover my expenses. There’s even enough for the occasional luxury. I don’t know where I would be without onlinejobs.ph.

You can watch Gabby’s video here.

This is what outsourcing to the Philippines has done for so many people and families.

What They can Do

Filipinos can handle just about any task you assign them. Some of more common jobs I hire for and that others look for include programmers, web designers, copywriters, social media specialists, SEO writers, graphic designers, webmasters and project managers. Other business leaders hire for a host of other positions, according to their needs.

I give raises as the workers perform well. Many employees in the Philippines can’t afford to do this, but I do it regularly and am happy to do it as a reward and expression of appreciation. I also honor the 13th month, a common practice in the Philippines where employers give their employees an extra month’s salary in December. I assign them challenging but manageable tasks and provide in-depth training and support.

Best of Both Worlds

Hiring Filipino workers is so effective because they change the lives of both the outsourcer and the workers. You can unload your daily tasks and pay much less in the process than you’d pay for a local employee. This saves you a huge amount of money, but at the same time you’re giving a Filipino worker a more stable future at a salary they might not find anywhere else.

Outsourcing to the Philippines is an ideal way to grow your business. It’s also a way to bless the lives of Filipinos. I’ve seen it happen for both parties: entrepreneurs achieving financial success, and individuals and families in the Philippines finding happiness and stability in a fulfilling career.

Be a part of it. Hire a Filipino VA for your business today.


John JonasAbout John Jonas
John helps business owners learn to outsourcing to the Philippines and replace themselves with virtual assistants.
He founded and owns OnlineJobs.ph.

He currently employs 14 amazing Filipino workers full-time and loves every one of them. He lives in Utah, has a wonderful wife, 4 amazing kids, and golfs 4-5 times/week.

Find John at JonasBlog.com and Facebook.


  1. Raffy Marabut says

    This is misleading. Maybe for someone who lives in the provinces, $500 a month is more than enough… but for someone who lives in Metro Manila, $500 a month is NOT enough.

    Heck, my rent’s around $350 a month (elecricity, water, internet, assoc dues).

    I pay $35 a month for mobile.

    I work at coffee shops too (since I’m a copywriter and it helps with creativity) and a cup of coffee costs $3-$4, every other day.

    Grocery costs $40 a week.

    Gas costs $20 a week (at least for me)

    Parking costs $100 a month (yes, it ain’t free here)

    Which brings us to around $777 a month.


    Just to let you know the salaries in a lot of Metro Manila corporations… My girlfriend’s entry level job in a corporation in Metro Manila pays around $600. Managers and executives earn $1,000 to $2,000 a month.

    I LOVE Onlinejobs.ph. I actually promote this platform to my friends and in an FB group I manage. I know you want to attract more clients here… but it’s an awesome platform already.

    What I’m saying is not everyone here will settle for $500 a month… most of the time, it isn’t enough for those who have big families. Also, the “experts” in the Philippines would definitely charge double, triple, or even quadruple.

    Just like in any platform, you get what you pay for as well.

    • says

      @raffy – you are absolutely right. Thank you for your input. $500/month isn’t enough for someone in Metro Manila…but most of the workers on OnlineJobs.ph aren’t from metro Manila. They’re from Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo…

      I talk about $450/month because
      1. it’s real in a lot of cicrumstances
      2. it opens someones eyes so they’re willing to consider hiring from the Philippines. If I talk about $1500/month right from the start, it’s not as exciting and a lot of people won’t ever come and look.

      I think you’ll find (you probably already have) that there are employers who want to pay as little as possible, and then there are employers who want to pay more to make sure they get great work. You’re probably being paid more to do great work.
      Thanks for being one of those who does great work. The Philippines needs people like you. The more of you there are, the higher salaries go.

    • says

      Applying here in Onlinejobs.ph is the same as applying a job in real life. Make sure your profile/application is attractive enough to convince employers to contact and hire you.

      You can apply for any of the jobs posted here or on our website by signing up for an Onlinejobs.ph jobseeker account. It’s completely free and takes only minutes to apply. Having a jobseeker account also gives you access to thousands of new online jobs daily.

      To start the registration process, just follow this link ===> http://www.onlinejobs.ph/register

      Once you’ve completed your profile, you can start searching for the job that you want here ===>http://www.onlinejobs.ph/jobseekers/jobsearch/

      You can find a wide variety of full-time, part-time and project-based jobs there, from data entry, design, writing, programming, and more!

      The job posts would contain all the information you need to apply for that position.

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