Changing Locations and Changing Jobs: Examining the Correlates of Occupational Mobility of Overseas Filipino Workers

by Chrysalyn Z. Gocatek, Master of Arts in Demography (April 2014)

Utilizing data from the 1994 and 2003 Survey on Overseas Filipinos, this study aims to examine the direction, patterns, and correlates of occupational mobility of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Occupational mobility was operationalized by comparing the usual occupation of the migrant worker prior to departure against their work overseas and by applying Ganzeboom’s International Socio-Economic Index of Occupational Status Scores for the International Standard Classification of Occupations 2008 (ISEI-08).

The study found that there were significant differences in the occupational mobility of males and females. Majority of the male OFWs in 1994 generally did not change occupations but females were mostly upwardly mobile. Almost a decade later, the pattern has not changed. Likewise, using pooled data, survey year was also found to be significant indicating there had been changes in the occupational mobility of OFWs between the two points in time. Multivariate analyses showed that age, marital status, household headship, education, region of origin, country of destination, and duration of stay abroad are significant correlates of occupational mobility of OFWs. Focus group discussions among migrant returnees also support the findings and further elaborate that various socio-cultural conditions in the countries of destination and personal attributes influence their occupational mobility.