Why overseas workers want remote jobs
Chris Crump
March 3, 2024

"Why do overseas workers want remote jobs for $3-12/hour?"

It’s a question I’m asked weekly.

I’ve hired hundreds of talented individuals in the Philippines.

And 99% of the time I hear the same story over and over from candidates.

“I worked in the Philippines for a Multinational Corporation or BPO for 10 years and…

  • “The hours were long.”
  • “The pay was bad.”
  • “I was mistreated.”
  • “My commute was 2+ hours each way.”
  • “A family member got sick—I needed to stay home.”
  • “I wanted to spend more time with my kids.”
  • “I simply wasn’t growing in my career—I knew I was capable of more.”
“So, I switched to remote freelancing for U.S. companies and I’d never go back.”

Metro Manila was voted ‘Worst City to Drive on Earth’ by BBC

Why hire remote overseas workers

Philippines knowledge workers are some of the hardest working and dedicated professionals I’ve ever seen.

And, they want to work remotely for U.S. businesses. Freelancing is growing 208% Y/Y in the Philippines.

The best talent in the Philippines is leaving traditional roles and working directly for U.S. businesses.

The power of remote work

At my last company, I managed a 20 person team in the Philippines.

When I went to the Philippines to visit my teammates, I saw how remote work afforded them a nice house, private school for their kids, and international vacations.

The dollars they receive have a multiplicative effect on their community.

Don’t take my word for it?

Hazel, our awesome teammate, explains her journey to becoming a Virtual Assistant.

Our VA Hazel explains her journey to becoming a Virtual Assistant


In 2007, I left my elected position in the local government and set foot on the newly established TeleTech BPO. I was hired right away.  

From 2007 to 2021, I was one of the so-called Bayaning Puyat (‘Sleepless Heroes’) of the Philippines. I started as an Agent and left a tenured Supervisor. We served various Multinational Corporations across the world.

Let me tell you about why I left to become a Virtual Assistant.

Life in a call center

As an agent, I started with a monthly salary of 8,500 PHP ($150 USD) and ended my BPO journey with a salary of 35,000 PHP ($625 USD).

I sent my half-brother to private school, I got married, and I started my own family.

In theory, this was fantastic growth. However, the reality was very different.

I had a long commute.

I worked 14-16 hour days.

I had zero paid overtime.

COVID changed everything

When the COVID hit, we had the opportunity to work from home.

Since I didn’t need to spend hours traveling to work, it gave me the opportunity to explore being a part-time Virtual Assistant [‘VA’].

I earned more with my part-time VA job than with my full-time BPO job.

When the BPO Leadership asked all Supervisors to be back in the office, I decided to resign.

In my two years as a Virtual Assistant, I’ve earned more than in my 15 years working for a BPO.

Why I prefer remote work

Being a VA works better for me. I can work anywhere as I have a laptop and the internet. It takes me out of the commuting stress, and it also reduces my daily expenses, from gas to food and everything that comes with the office routine.

Also, it benefits my relationship with my family. I don’t need to spend so much time in the office to finish all my tasks after long shifts. Indeed, there is a work-life balance.

Additionally, freelancing gives me autonomy and independence since I manage my schedule, set priorities, and take ownership of my work, which gives me greater job satisfaction and motivation.

Why I prefer directly working for a U.S. company

I started my VA career by working for a Virtual Assistant agency that paid me directly but loaned me out to clients.

However, I believe directly hiring a Virtual Assistant is the best approach since it gives employers greater control over the hiring process, allowing them to directly manage recruitment, onboarding, and ongoing employee development.

This can lead to a more customized and aligned workforce that meets the specific needs and culture of the company. Also, directly hired employees have a higher level of commitment to the company and its long-term goals.

This sense of loyalty can contribute to lower turnover rates, reducing the costs and disruptions associated with frequent staffing changes.

And, working directly with U.S. businesses as a VA has been the highlight of my career.

- Hazel de Julian